April 1, 2020
Here is how I opened my earlier analysis at the start of the Colonial Athletic Association season (12/1/19) – “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. I think 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.”
The prize this year, as always, remains the same: Win the CAA Tournament in March and earn a bit to the NCAA tournament. The result? They won the CAA conference outright. But the conference and tournament are two difference things since the season conference title earns you nothing although the team became the sixth program in CAA history to win consecutive season titles. Along the way, Hofstra ranked second in the nation with road/neutral site wins (13), hit 20 3-pointers in a game, exhibited a tenacious defense (at times), and their four guard-three point shooting offense was in high gear most of the time. Pemberton and Kante were selected to the second and third team All-CAA teams, respectively, while Tareq Coburn was selected the basketball scholar athlete of the year. And Buie? He received the Ehlers Award, which is presented annually to the men’s basketball student-athlete who “embodies the highest standards of leadership, integrity and sportsmanship in conjunction with his academic athletic achievement.” After earning his undergraduate degree from Hofstra, Buie is currently earning his M.E. in Higher Education Leadership & Policy Studies, holding a 3.92 grade-point average. On the court, Buie led the CAA with 5.0 assists while pacing Hofstra with 18.5 points per game including 44 points in one game. Buie was also a first team all-CAA selection and was once again on the CAA’s All-Defensive Team.
On to this year’s tournament. The previous four years found the team in the finals twice, only to fail to win the championship. But this was another year. They won it easily which moved them onto the NCAA tournament. But wait! How do you spell infectious disease? CORONA!! End of story. After convincingly earning their first trip to the NCAA tournament in nearly 20 years, the event was cancelled.
As we gamblers often mumble after a tough loss…next case. On to next year and what can the faithful expect? Starters Coburn, Ray, and Kante will be back along with Schutte. Trueheart, Silvero and Burgess. Ray and Kante figure to have great years but Silvero could make a monstrous difference. New recruits will only add to a quality starting team that will consist of Coburn, Ray, Silverto, Trueheart, and Kante. I look for big things next year.
Finally, more on Buie. Can he make it to the next (professional) level? The scouts I talked to all felt he was not only too small but also too light. I disagreed in his case. Maybe I just have a soft spot in my heart for guards (I also touted Charles and Justin), but I believe that guards – particularly those who can play defense, – can most impact the quality of a team. (There’s an off-guard at Providence that currently comes to mind.) Buie has also shown dramatic improvement in each of the last four years; his ability/talent has increased near exponentially during this period. I really think he has a chance.
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MAY 1: On the 2020 East Williston School District Budget Vote
JUNE 1: On Memorial Day V
JULY 1: On Four Issues II: The New York Racing Association (NYRA)
AUGUST 1: On the Coronavirus
Here are this month’s three defensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.
- Officials should be charted, particularly under the offensive basket.
- Practice a small forward and (in particular) guards laying the low post to exploit any weak defensive player. Some (1) or (2) guards are especially adept at playing the low post, perhaps due to earlier playground experiences.
- With 40-70 seconds left at the end of the half or game, shoot before 30 seconds to insure another shot.