December 1, 2013
December has essentially arrived. That can only mean one thing: it’s time for Hofstra men’s basketball. Gone is their once-in-a-lifetime superstar Charles Jenkins. Gone are Mike Moore and shot blocker Greg Washington. Gone are Mo Cassera and several of his recruits. What’s left? Athletic Director Jeff Hathaway told me that this is supposed to be a rebuilding year for Hofstra. Let’s find out about the present squad.
First, and perhaps foremost, is the new coach, Joe Mihalich (former Hofstra great Speedy Claxton will serve as one of Joe’s assistant coaches). I have always and consistently ranked Davidson’s Bob McKillop (of Lutheran High fame) as the top coach in the country. But, given Joe’s credentials and past performance at Niagara, he may be the second best. I need to note that several of my colleagues claim that these comments are based on the fact that these are the only two coaches who talk to me.
Landing Joe has to be Athletic Director’s Jeff Hathaway’s major coup. Joe brings an awful lot to the table, including a great sense of humor. At one of the press conferences, Joe indicated that Louisville might be favored in their upcoming game, and then reminisced how his Niagara team had lost to Kansas in the NCAA Tournament at the buzzer by 40 points.
Regarding the team, the key returnees are forward Jordan Allen, and forward/centers Moussa Kone and Steve Nwankoni. I expect a big year from Allen, a multifaceted underrated soph, to play an important role. The new additions include Chris Jenkins (no relation to Charles), and transfers Dion Nesmith and Zeke Upshaw (both terrific finds). Freshman Jamell Robinson and walk-on Adam Savion appear to be pleasant additions. Allen, Kone, and Nesmith are presently starters.
The team is off to a 2-4 start, with losses to Monmouth, Louisville, Richmond and Belmont. However, the team’s record is certain to improve as they go deeper into the season and Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play begins.
The team may have to reinvent themselves before moving toward the next level, and that will not happen overnight. With some many new faces, team chemistry will take time. The biggest question mark will no doubt center on finding a consistent scoring threat who may turn out to be Upshaw. I think there may also be a lot of building for the future. But, the building blocks are in place, with two outstanding transfers who are ineligible this season.
Entering the 2013-14 season, the team will be looking to turn the page on last season’s disasters. The Pride will welcome back just four players who saw action last season so Joe may rely heavily on the aforementioned newcomers (Upshore’s 37 vs. Louisville and Nesmith’s 27 vs. Hartford), including players that sat out last season.
I believe this year represents an excellent opportunity for the team. It’s a young team with a lot of new players, a new coach, and a group that should get better as the season goes on. Remember, there 9 teams left in their conference – the CAA. If they are playing above-average by the end of the season, things may change – and only for the better. Anything can happen. And, the winner of the CAA Tournament in early March gets an automatic invitation to the Big Dance.
The bottom line: I offer this to the fans in the reading audience relative to the question raised in the title to this piece. There may be hope for this season. Only time will tell whether the hope is real or whether it is indeed just an adjustment year.
Finally, folks do yourselves a favor and attend one of the games. The past enthusiastic support of the Hofstra student body at the games is contagious. For me, attending Hofstra games still remains the best sports buy in the New York Metropolitan area; it’s even cheaper than going to the movies. There is ample free parking, easy access in and out of the Sports Complex, the concession stands are not a rip-off ($3.25 for a dog, $1.50 for a soda, etc.), and there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Did I mention that its $5 for seniors and children, and the whole exciting atmosphere is conducive to family attendance? Share it with someone you care about. I guarantee you won’t regret it.
June 1: On the School Budget Results
July 1: On the New New York Racing Association
August 1: On the New Cooper Union
September 1: On Chaste, Pristine and Random Thoughts XIX
October 1: On the Barack Hussein Obama Legacy II
November 1: On the OHI Day
December 1: 2013-14 Hofstra Basketball: Is There Hope on the Horizon?
On the Calendar:
January 1: Revisiting the East Williston School District
February 1: On the New York Times
March 1: On Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XX
April 1: On the Barack Hussein Obama Update III
I just got a computer and learned how to congratulate you for a splendid OHI reminder to readers of the Garden City News. Good work as always. You are and always will be tops in my memory as will Greece and all Greeks.