December 1, 2019
Here is part of what I wrote last year at the start of the Hofstra Men’s 2018-19 basketball season. “The 10/28 Newsday headlines blared away “Hofstra Targets NCAA: Wright-Foreman key to making March Madness.” Here is what appeared this year in the 11/2/19 Newsday headlines, “Hunger Pains: Pemberton, Pride Wants to Earn Spot in NCAA Tourney!” Now I ask you: What team doesn’t want to make the Tourney? In any event, the problems that existed last year still remain. What problems remain? The same four I raised earlier, as detailed below.
- How many teams that made the Sweet 16 play zone defense? If you answered hardly any, you’d be right. And, there is a reason why the better teams do NOT play zone defense. Accept it – nothing can replace the intensity of an in-your-face man-to-man defense. NOTHING!!!
- I keep repeating this after each season. You are inviting trouble when you commit to a 7-man rotation, with 5 players rotating around 4 positions. A successful team needs season-tested players not only when players are in foul trouble but also at tournament time when confronting either a 3-game/3-day or 4-game/4-day schedule. Hopefully, this will not occur again this season.
- Coach Mikalich and his staff have done a superb job in recruiting – when it comes to offensive players. But, defense is as important as offense, right? Anything been done about it? Time will tell.
- The object every season for any club in a mid-major conference is to win their tournament, NOT their conference. How does a team do this? I discuss this very topic in the upcoming 2nd edition of my “Basketball Coaching 101” book . . . or, simply talk to Coach Timmy Cluess of Iona.
On to this year. Buie, Pemberton, Ray and Coburn are back. So is Truehart, although currently sidelined. The new additions include guard Silverio (Omar) and center Kante (Isaac). The starting five appear (at this time) to be guards Buie, Pemberton, Ray, and Coburn with Kante at center. Subs appear to be the aforementioned Silverio, Shutte (Ken) and (perhaps) freshman Burgess (Caleb). This year’s analysis? I love Coburn as a player – he was my type of player when I was coaching. But, Buie is the key. It will be his defense that will hopefully carry the team to the CAA Championship AND an invitation to the Big Dance. This will really be an exciting year if this comes to pass. And, they have a reasonable shot to make it happen.
Here’s more: the club is off to a decent start. So far, so good. The team’s record at the time of the preparation of this article (12/1) is 4-3 that includes an embarrassing loss to San Jose St. and a dramatic come from behind 20-point victory against UCLA.
Here is my usual pitch on why everyone, particularly seniors, should consider attending Hofstra games this season. Attending these 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.
Note: The theodorenewsletter will begin a new feature starting this month (see below). The new feature will provide either three offensive or three defensive basketball suggestions that will appear in the upcoming 2nd edition of “Basketball Coaching 101”, and replace the weekly basketball suggestions that have appeared on Facebook’s “Basketball Coaching 101.”
This month’s Basketball Coaching 101 offensive hints:
- Run back at near full speed after a turn of possession (or turnover) to play defense.
- Never play zone defense. There are some exceptions, detailed in (3).
- Consider playing zone defense only if one of your star offensive players is a weak defender or if one of your star offensive players is in foul trouble or if you intend to use only 5, 6 or 7 players, i.e., the person (substitute) players are weak. Massimino used this strategy during Villanova’s championship run in 1985.
You want more? Tough. You’ll have to wait until next month for 3 offensive suggestions.
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JANUARY 1: On Four Issues I: Climate Change
FEBRUARY 1: On the Ultimate Quiz II
MARCH 1: On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXIX
APRIL 1: On the Hofstra 2018-19 Basketball Season
MAY 1: On the 2020 East Williston School District Budget Vote
JUNE 1: On Memorial Day V
JULY 1: On Four Issues II: NYRA