#133 Hofstra Men's Basketball 2017-2018 Preview

Hofstra Pride
2017-2018 Overall Rank: #133
Conference Rank: #3 CAA
Hofstra Logo
Hofstra struggled in 2016-2017 and finished a disappointing 7-11 in CAA play. The program had trouble replacing some big time scorers and was never able to garner any momentum. A year later and the expectations are moving back up. Despite a down year by his standards, Rokas Gustys is still the star of this team. Two years ago the 6-9 center averaged 13.5 points and 13.0 rebounds. Last year those numbers dipped to 9.2 and 12.1, respectively. Without some of the other star power on the team, Gustys was not nearly as effective scoring the basketball. That could change this year with a new point guard coming into the program who is expected to attack the basket and feed Gustys for easy buckets in the paint.
2016-17 Record: 15-17, 7-11
2016-17 Postseason: None
Coach: Joe Mihalich
Coach Record: 69-64 at Hofstra, 333-267 overall
Who’s Out:
Deron Powers and Brian Bernardi provided a lot of experience and scoring prowess on the perimeter. Powers had a very productive senior season, averaging 13.0 points and 5.2 assists. He could score from anywhere on the floor, but also looked to score by attacking the basket and led the team in free-throw attempts. Brian Bernardi was the main outside shooting threat on the team. His outside shooting was not as efficient during his senior season, but he still knocked down 74 three-pointers on the year. The other departure is Jamall Robinson, who is transferring to LIU Brooklyn. The 6-5 wing was in the regular rotation and averaged 3.8 points and 2.5 rebounds.
Who’s In:
A couple of transfers will arrive and make an immediate impact. Junior college transfer Kenny Wormley is expected to step right into the starting point guard spot. The 6-4 former Siena Saint spent last season at the junior college level and will immediately add size and experience to the backcourt. With Siena two years ago, Wormley started 28 games and averaged 4.6 points and 1.8 assists. Joel Angus III could step right into the starting lineup too. The graduate transfer from Southeast Missouri State averaged 10.5 points and 5.9 rebounds in 2015-2016 and sat out last year with an injury. The Pride also adds incoming freshmen Matija Radovic and Jalen Ray and redshirt freshman Stafford Trueheart. Coach Joe Mihalich has quite a bit of depth at his disposal without relying too much on the freshmen, but Ray should see minutes on the wing and both Radovic and Trueheart will battle for minutes in the frontcourt.
Who to Watch:
The backcourt adds some new options, but they need the returning players to step up too. One player who cannot do much more is Justin Wright-Foreman. He had a breakout sophomore season, averaging 18.1 points per game and connecting on 37.2 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. If Wright-Foreman can keep up that production and the pieces fill in around him, this will be a tough Hofstra team to outscore. Eli Pemberton had some very good moments during his freshman campaign, averaging 12.8 points and hitting a 40.6 percent of his long range attempts. He can score, but Pemberton does need to improve his overall game heading into his sophomore season. The return of Desure Buie will create space for Wright-Foreman and Pemberton to knock down shots. Last season Wright-Foreman had to spend some time at the point due to a season ending injury to Buie. In eight games, Buie averaged 2.8 points and 2.1 assists and at the least he will be a solid backup to Wormley.
Final Projection:
There is plenty of depth in the frontcourt with Hunter Sabety, Tyquone Greer and Andre Walker batting with the newcomers for minutes behind Angus and Gustys. Sabety and Greer were in the regular rotation last season and proved to be effective rebounders. Sabety also led the team with 40 blocks. Hofstra will give up quite a few points, but having a shot blocker would certainly help keep a few points off the board. Having that size on the perimeter will be beneficial too and lead to more steals and quick, easy buckets the other way. There are plenty of scorers and plenty of depth and increasing the efficiency on both ends of the floor will be the difference between a team that again finishes in the middle of the CAA pack and a team that competes for a conference title.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI / CIT / V16
Projected Starting Five:
Kenny Wormley, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Justin Wright-Foreman, Junior, Guard, 18.1 points per game
Eli Pemberton, Sophomore, Guard, 12.8 points per game
Joel Angus III, Senior, Forward, DNP last season
Rokas Gustys, Senior, Forward, 9.2 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 77.3 (80th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 76.7 (278, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.3 (174, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 46.2 (293, 9)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 9.1 (38, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.7 (91, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.4 (236, 7)
Rebound Margin: 0.3 (184, 5)
Assists Per Game: 13.1 (201, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.7 (17, 3)