This was not a Merry Christmas for Seton Hall guard Jeremy Hazell.
Hazell, a senior who was Seton Hall's leading scorer last season and was averaging 24 points per game this season before a broken wrist sidelined him in November, was walking home from a Christmas party at a friend's house in Harlem, New York, when four men attempted to rob him. Hazell was shot under his right arm, was treated at a Manhattan hospital Saturday night, and was subsequently released.
That's about all we knew about Hazell's injury. That is, until Hazell spoke to the New York Daily News Monday night and discussed the details of his ordeal. From that interview:
"I knew I got shot," he told the Daily News Monday. "I felt it, but I just kept running."
"I just got to the front door of my building when these four dudes came up to me," said Hazell, who has been sidelined since breaking a bone in his left wrist in a game last month. "One of them had a hand in his pocket and told me to sit down on this bench. I didn't want to, and he said if I didn't he was going to shoot me."
Hazell said he pushed the robber in the chest - and made a real-life fast break. He said he heard the thug squeeze off four shots as he bolted toward E. 105th St. One of the slugs penetrated his side, just below his armpit, and then exited his body. Hazell said that when he got to the corner of E. 105th St. and Park Ave., he flagged down a passing FDNY ambulance.
All things considered, Hazell probably should have just sat down and let the robbers take what he had. That's the typical New York mugger protocol, anyway. But no one would dare criticize Hazell for his actions; no one has that right unless they've faced the exact same situation. Even if Hazell didn't run, there's no guarantee he wouldn't have been hurt, perhaps even fatally.
Hazell may miss the rest of his senior season -- which he was considering redshirting anyway, given his prior wrist injury -- but that's the least of his concerns. He was shot, but he's alive, and he should make a full recovery. Considering the terrifying circumstances, maybe this was a Merry Christmas after all.