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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

October 13th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball

 

Hofstra Pride

 

Overall Rank: #29

Conference Rank: #1 CAA

 

2005-06: 26-7, 14-4, 3rd

2005-06 postseason: NIT

 

Forget about the snub that was dealt to Hofstra by the NCAA Selection Committee.  It’s a new year and Coach Tom Pecora has his squad ready to leave no doubt that the Pride deserve a bid this year.  The backcourt is one of the best in the nation, and that’s not just at the mid-major level.  However, the frontcourt lost both starters and a couple unproven players are going to have to step up to replace the big guys in the paint.

 

Who’s Out: Power forward Aurimas Kieza and center Adrian Uter combined for 20.4 points and 15.1 rebounds per game during their senior seasons.  The points can be covered by the backcourt, but the rebounding could turn into a problem.  Seldom used center Kenny Harris has also graduated.

 

Who’s In: The frontcourt minutes are up for grabs and center Greg Washington will earn a chance at some quality playing time.  The 6-10 Brentwood, New York product has plenty of potential and is surprisingly athletic for his size.  At 6-7 and 220 pounds, Mantas Leonavicius has the size to battle inside and the shooting ability to be effective on the perimeter.  Charles Jenkins and Sal Patricio will battle for minutes in the backcourt.  Jenkins has the ability to play at the point or on the wings and that versatility will be valuable in the years to come.  Patricio is a great scorer from anywhere on the court and will spend his freshman campaign learning from some of the best in the business.

 

Who to Watch: Loren Stokes, Antoine Agudio and Carlos Rivera are names that will be known by the end of March, if they aren’t already.  Stokes averaged 17.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists last year.  He’s the team leader and a future NBA prospect.  Agudio may be the best shooter in the conference and averaged 17.2 points per game and shot 42.1 percent from long range last year.  Rivera isn’t quite the scorer as his teammates, but the point guard has done a great job running the show.  Despite being just 6-2, Rivera has a knack for rebounding.  Greg Johnson provided most of the depth last year and averaged 2.4 points and 1.6 assists.  After a promising freshman season, it would be very helpful if Johnson could provide more minutes in order to give the starters some much needed rest.

 

Final Projection: If Hofstra is on the schedule, you want to play them early in the year before last year’s frontcourt roleplayers turn into bonafide CAA big men.  Mike Davis-Sabb and Chris Gadley are the expected starters.  Neither averaged over 1.5 points per game last year, but the minutes were limited.  Gadley showed signs of what is to come during the NIT run last year and will take over much of the rebounding loss.  Sophomore Arminas Urbutis will be in the mix as well after averaging just 6.3 minutes in 22 contests as a freshman.  The post players will need to get involved early in order for the Pride to avoid becoming a one dimensional squad.  If the post players can equal what Kieza and Uter did last year, Hofstra can win a game or two in the NCAA Tournament.  If not, they’re good enough to go dancing, but will find it tough to make a run.

 

Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA

 

Projected Starting Five:

Carlos Rivera, Senior, Guard, 11.1 points per game

Antoine Agudio, Junior, Guard, 17.2 points per game

Loren Stokes, Senior, Guard, 17.4 points per game

Mike Davis-Sabb, Sophomore, Forward, 1.5 points per game

Chris Gadley, Sophomore, Forward, 1.5 points per game

 

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