December 1, 2018
The 10/28 Newsday headlines blared away: “HOFSTRA TARGETS NCAA: WRIGHT-FOREMAN KEY TO MAKING MARCH MADNESS.” I disagree. Wright-Foreman and defense will send Hofstra to the Promised Land.
I offer the following two comments before proceeding to an analysis of this and last year’s team.
- 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.
- Players should understand that the magic word in defense is INTENSITY! And this is where bench help comes into play.
Well, what about last year? They had close to a dream team – Rokas (leading rebounder in the country), Wright-Foreman (CAA Player of Year), Pemberton…etc. It was indeed a dream team, but perhaps from an offensive perspective. They went 19-12, finished third in the CAA, and got knocked out in the first round. Scoring during the season was not a problem but they were consistently inconsistent when it came to defense. The team was further hampered by Rokas’s poor defensive play and his inability to shoot fouls and make layups.
I’ve come to believe that most teams still don’t get it about defense. Case in point: The Knicks recently realized that the team performed better with a defensive guard as opposed to their offensive guard. HELLO! The Nets had the same problem several years ago with their outstanding offensive player Williams who couldn’t guard his grandmother.
Well, what about this year’s team? The back court with Justin Wright-Foreman (JWF), Buie, and Ray is dynamic and absolutely solid. Small forward Pennington is a scoring machine but has yet to prove himself defensively. The forecourt is questionable: transfers 6’10” Jacquil Taylor and 6’8” Dan Dwyer along with returnee Trueheart provide little to the offensive with questionable defense. The back court led by superstar all-American candidate JWF may be able to carry the club and overcome any deficiencies upfront…and this will be determined as the season goes forward.
The club’s record at the time of the preparation of this article was 4-2 with two tough losses coming against NCAA ranked opponents. The back court tandem of JWF and Buie (who I touted three years ago) probably ranks near the top in the nation. Buie’s defensive play has made a significant impact. Taylor may be able to hold his own in the middle against the other big men in the CAA. The team is also playing some man-to-man offensive which is good news since a well-coached opponent would again decimate their zone defense as was demonstrated in their win over Cal State Fulterton where a guard scored 38 points, including 8 open 3-pointers. Coach Mihalich has apparently settled on a 8-man rotation which will hopefully be enough to carry the team. Bottom line: I’ve gone from being concerned to being cautiously optimistic. It should be an interesting and exciting 3+ months.
I should note that this may be a do-or-die year since the club is top-heavy with upperclassmen and only one freshman along with three sophs. Furthermore, unless Coach Mihalich and his staff have a significantly above-par recruiting year, the team’s front court will have difficulty competing against Division III opponents next year.
Attending Hofstra games for me 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 Mack Sports Complex, the concession stands are not a rip-off ($3.50 for a dog, $3.00 for a soda, etc.), and there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Did I mention that its $6 for seniors and children, and the whole exciting atmosphere is conducive to family attendance? Many home games last year turned out to be thrillers. Share it this year with someone you care about.
In the meantime, my “Basketball Coaching 101” book is still out in the marketplace at either amazon.com or createspace.com for $17.95. It makes an excellent New Year’s/Christmas gift. 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 Liberal News Highlights
FEBRUARY 1: On Basketball Coaching 101 II
MARCH 1: On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXVII
APRIL 1 On the Analysis of the Hofstra 2018019 Basketball Season
MAY 1 On the 2019 East Williston School Budget Vote