#129 Hofstra Men's Basketball Preview

Hofstra Pride

Overall Rank: #129
Conference Rank: #6 Colonial

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2010-11: 21-12, 14-4
2010-11 postseason: CBI
Coach: Mo Cassara (21-12 at Hofstra, 21-12 overall)

There is life after Charles Jenkins and it should not be too bad. Hofstra may not be the next team from the Colonial Athletic Association to make a run to the Final Four, but Coach Mo Cassara should be able to build off of his postseason berth of a year ago and make another tournament of some sort come season end. Certainly the entire program will be a little different without Jenkins dropping 20 points per game, but there is more than enough talent left to at least keep the Pride competitive for another postseason berth.

Who’s Out:
Jenkins, who led the team with 22.6 points and 4.8 assists last year, is not the only departure. Fellow starters Brad Kelleher and Greg Washington are also gone. Kelleher turned into a fine ball handler and a pretty good shooter by the end of his career. Washington may not have been the most efficient big man in the CAA, but he was a big man who could eat up space in the paint and swat away some shots. On a team that lacks experienced size, Washington’s absence will be felt. Guard Yves Jules opted to transfer after seeing limited action during the 2010-2011 campaign.

Who’s In:
The immediate need out of this class is size. Jordan Allen is 6-6 and 200 pounds. Moussa Kone is a bruiser in the paint and tilts the scales at 220 pounds and even wing Malik Nichols is 6-6 and has enough size to play at the four in a pinch. The pressure will be put on Kone and Allen to turn into potential starters or at least to contribute major minutes off of the bench. The best newcomer is Rhode Island transfer Stevie Mejia. The 5-9 point guard is not much of a scorer, but in limited action two years ago with the Rams he dished out an impressive 3.5 assists per game. More impressively, he only turned it over 1.3 times per contest. On a Hofstra team that lost two of their three players who averaged at least 3.3 assists per game a year ago, having Mejia available is a nice pickup.

Who to Watch:
Dwan McMillan only played in the first 11 games last year, but he will not hand over the starting point guard job to Mejia. McMillan, a 6-1 senior who spent some time at Indian Hills Community College in Iowa, started those 11 games and averaged 6.8 points, 3.3 assists and 2.0 steals. No matter who starts, Hofstra has a couple of quality point guards. The scoring output left behind by Jenkins will have to be picked up by the rest of the guards. Mike Moore is on the top of that list after averaging 14.9 points and knocking down nearly two long balls per contest. Moore will also use his 6-5, 200 pound frame to attack the basket and can do as much damage inside the paint as he does outside. Shemiye McLendon could show plenty of promise as a freshman. If his outside shot starts falling, McLendon could be a great scorer sooner or later. The return of Nathaniel Lester also makes this backcourt very dangerous even without Jenkins. Lester missed all of last season, but the 6-5 senior averaged 8.0 points and 4.8 rebounds two years ago.

Final Projection:
The return of Lester also gives Coach Cassara some options. Lester could play at the four spot if the newcomers are not ready to put in major minutes. That would allow Mejia and McMillan or McLendon to sneak into the starting lineup alongside Moore on the perimeter. One thing that is for sure in the frontcourt is that David Imes will be starting somewhere. At 6-7 and 215 pounds, he is not huge, but he is big enough to play the five spot in the CAA. Now an upperclassman, Imes will be counted on to continue to be a solid rebounder and refine his offensive game. He averaged 7.6 points per game last year and he could tally a double-double more often than not. Stephen Nwaukoni did not get much playing time as a freshman, but he is a bigger body who can hit the glass effectively when the Pride needs another big man on the floor.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Steve Mejia, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Dwan McMillan, Senior, Guard, 6.8 points per game
Mike Moore, Senior, Guard, 14.9 points per game
Nathaniel Lester, Senior, Guard, DNP last season
David Imes, Junior, Forward, 7.6 points per game

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