01/12/2011 8:16 PM ET
Dan Hurley leading turnaround at Wagner
With the help of his brother, Hurley has Wagner on the rise
By Adam Zagoria / SNY.tv
With the help of brother, and former Duke star Bobby (right), Dan Hurley is leading a resurgence at Wagner. (AP)

UNION, N.J. - For the first time in 10 years Sunday, Dan Hurley attended a St. Benedict's Prep game as a fan instead of a coach.

Hurley, who compiled a 223-21 record in nine seasons at the Newark school before becoming the head coach at Wagner College, watched from the stands as St. Patrick downed St. Benedict's, 73-65, at Kean College.

"[Going from] high school to college, believe it or not, it's a lot more relaxing to coach in college," Hurley said. "In high school, you feel like you've got to be perfect.

"It's like the BCS. If you're [St. Patrick coach] Kevin Boyle or [St. Anthony coach] Bob Hurley, you're tight all the time because if you lose one, it ruins your season. In college you're expected to lose. I've learned to appreciate winning more because it's so much harder to win there than it is in high school."

Hurley, the former Seton Hall guard, is doing his fair share of winning at the Staten Island school. After being picked 11th in the 12-team Northeast Conference, the Seahawks are in first place with a perfect 4-0 league record.

Wagner is 8-7 overall, with non-conference wins over Lafayette, Stony Brook, Bucknell and Albany.

Last year's team went 5-22 under former coach Mike Deane.

The starting backcourt of junior guard Tyler Murray and freshman Latif Rivers of Elizabeth, N.J. combine to average 32.2 points per game.

Murray was named NEC Player of the Week after averaging 24.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game while shooting 56.8 percent (21-37) from the floor, including 68.4 percent (13-19) from beyond the arc.

Murray began the week with a career-best 28 points in a 73-68 road win over Quinnipiac on Monday, and followed with 26 points as the host Seahawks outlasted Robert Morris, 83-78 in overtime, on Thursday.

Rivers also won his league-leading fourth NEC Rookie of the Week award this season. He averaged 16.3 points, 5.3 assists and turned the ball over just three times in 104 minutes of play. The recruiting situation at Wagner has changed dramatically with the addition of Hurley and his older brother, Bobby, who won back-to-back NCAA championships at Duke in the early 1990s.

"A lot of the kids don't know Bobby played," Dan said. "The parents all do. The first thing [the kids] see when they come in, they see the picture of Bobby shaking hands with David Stern. They say, 'Oh [shoot], you got drafted.'"

In addition to Rivers, the Hurleys landed 6-11 freshman Naofall Folahan of Benin in West Africa, who said he knew about Bobby Hurley through the video system Wii, and 6-8 Orlando Parker of Orlando, Fla.

Those two combine to average 8.8 points and 7.4 rebounds.

The future is bright, too.

6-foot guard Kenneth Ortiz, a former star at Newark Science, is sitting out the season after transferring from Southern Mississippi.

The Seahawks also landed Mario Moody, a highly regarded 6-7 small forward from East Orange, N.J., who chose Wagner over Fordham, Temple and Florida Atlantic.

"I picked the school because I thought it would help me achieve my goals in the short term, mid term and long term,"Moody said. "My long term goal is to be a successful person and to make to the NBA."

Moody said playing for the Hurleys was also a prime motivating factor.

Having moved from preps to college, Dan Hurley is no longer coaching the top high school talent in the nation.

Now he's recruiting it.

Adam Zagoria is a regular contributor to SNY.tv. Read his blog at ZagsBlog.com and follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/AdamZagoria.
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