DECEMBER 1, 2017
A week has elapsed and Thanksgiving is now a near distant memory. It is now December. Christmas and the New Year are quickly approaching. What’s the significance? It primarily means one thing for basketball buffs in the Nassau County area: the 2017-18 Hofstra men’s basketball season has arrived.
Every year, at about this time (December 1), I introduce the reader to Hofstra’s Men’s Basketball Team and start the review and prediction process for the coming season. This year is no different – so here goes.
I begin with some comments about last year’s team. One could best describe Hofstra’s (2016-17) last season with one word: under-performance. Here is a part (bullet pointers) of what I had written earlier about last year’s team.
- Once again (as with last year) defense was woefully weak.
- Once again, bench help was essentially non-existent.
- Sabathy (the reserve center) was underutilized.
- Rokas had a disappointing season; his defense play was often missing and also had a poor shooting season.
- Wright-Foreman emerged as a force to be reckoned with the next two years.
- The loss of Buie could have made a difference.
- Buie’s contribution the next three season is currently a wild card.
Here were my bullet pointers at that time for this season.
- Hire an assistance coach to help reduce/eliminate defensive problems.
- STOP playing zone; Wisconsin had several players who couldn’t guard one-on-one and yet played a solid man-to-man defense.
- Recruit players who play stellar defense.
- Players should understand that the magic word in defense is INTENSITY! And this is where bench help comes into play.
- Although the team’s goal should be to win games, the ultimate goal is to win the CAA tournament – and that should be reflected in the team’s philosophy and overall preparation during the season.
Here is the way I see it regarding personnel this year. The three key ingredients for success remains (as with last year) Wright-Foreman, Pemberton, and Rokas. Wright-Foreman is the real thing, could be CAA player of the year this and next season, and has an outside shot to move onto the next level. Pemberton has potential, seems like a nice kid, but I question his attitude and defense. Senior Rokas is the wildcard at this point. He has significant potential but has not improved since his sophomore year; his defense and inability to make layups and foul shots appear to be problems that have not been addressed. I still like Buie and Sabathy and hope they see significant action. I believe Buie may turn out to be the heir to a long list of great guards who have performed at Mack Arena. Newcomers of merit? Forwards Augus, Radovic and Trueheart plus guards Wormsley and Ray.
Here’s my analysis for the team this year. They legitimately have a chance to be the premier team in the Coloniel Athletic Association (CAA). But I believe that many of my earlier concerns have carried over to this year, particularly a porous defense. I hope not. On the positive side is Coach Joe Mikalich. He has the capability of turning things around, particularly if he opts for a man-to-man defense and commits to something more than a 6-man rotation. At the time of the submission of this article, it appears Joe has committed to an 8-man rotation (possibly 10 with Ray and Trueheart) and with the team playing more man-to-man defense. And, the team’s records is 4-3, including a win against Dayton. As for predictions, it will probably be another mediocre year for three reasons:
- Their defense remains unexplainably weak, at times allowing the opposing team to take layup practice during the course of the game.
- The team is devoid of a shot blocker, adding to their defensive woes.
- Player attitude problems have surfaced.
Bottom Line: I’m not too optimistic; hopefully, I’m wrong. The talent is there, but….
And finally, it is business as usual with the NCAA and, in particular, college basketball. NCAA president Mark Emmert recently commented that “we cannot go to the next basketball season without seeing fundamental changes to the way college basketball is operated.” Really? Anybody believe him ever since the feds accused coaches, financial managers and an Adidas executive of using bribes to influence athletes’ choices of schools, shoe sponsors and agents. Nothing has been done and no one really expects anything to be done. College basketball remains corrupt and the NCAA remains corrupt. Yes, the right word is corrupt. What a shame. I still maintain that the NCAA’s concept of the student-athlete is one of the all-time great scams perpetrated on the public.
As noted on numerous times in the past, attending Hofstra games still remains the best sports buy in the New York Metropolitan area. There is ample free parking, the concession stands are not a rip-off, there isn’t a bad seat in the house, and its $6 for seniors and children.
In the meantime, the second edition of my Basketball Coaching 101 book is in the works. It will unveil my umbrella offence – the basketball offense of the future. Consider buying the book – I really do need the royalty money to help subsidize my gambling habits.
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on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101
JANUARY 1: On Professorless On-Line Education (PolE)
FEBRUARY 1: On Purely Chaste, Pristine and Random Thoughts XXVI
MARCH 1: On Baseball Managing 101
APRIL 1: On 2017-18 Hofstra Men’s Basketball Revisited
MAY 1: On the 2018 East Williston School District Budget Vote