1. Hofstra Pride
2005-06 Record: 26-7 (14-4 CAA)
Last season’s final ranking (NY Metro area poll): 1st
Head Coach: Tom Pecora (6th season @ Hofstra (81-72), overall)
Leading Returnees: Points (Loren Stokes-17.4 ppg); Rebounds (Stokes-5.1 rpg); Assists (Carlos Rivera-3.5 apg)
Returning Starters: 3 (G Loren Stokes (Sr. 6’3, 175), G Carlos Rivera (Sr. 6’2, 200), G Antoine Agudio (Jr. 6’3, 185))
Key Losses: F Aurimas Kieza, F Adrian Uter
After an outstanding season that saw Hofstra win two games in the Postseason NIT, the Pride have the looks of a team that could make some serious noise come March. George Mason was all the rage during last season’s tournament, and rightfully so, but guess who the last team to beat them before the Final Four was? Yup, Hofstra, and their three-headed monster of a backcourt is a good reason why. Loren Stokes, the pick to be Player of the Year in the CAA this year, is an absolute headache for opponents due to his versatility.
Once again he’ll be joined in the backcourt by running mates Rivera and Agudio, two capable ball handlers and shooters in their own right. Rivera has the job of distributing the ball, although all three can do this at any given time. These three will get the majority of the minutes in the backcourt, with newcomers Charles Jenkins, Mantas Leonavicius and Sal Patricio looking to make contributions as well.
If there’s a question mark on this team then it would be the frontcourt, which loses both starters from a year ago. Mike Davis-Sabb, Arminas Urbutis and Chris Gadley are three players who should see an increase in playing time this season due to the graduation of Aurimas Kieza and Adrian Uter. Also look for incoming freshman Greg Washington to contribute in a limited role, although he may be considered to be more of a project. The guards can win plenty of games, but Hofstra will need the frontcourt to find a way to equal the contributions of Kieza and Uter in order to be special.
Schedule at a Glance
Hofstra opens the season with two road games, at UNC Charlotte and Manhattan before heading west for the Great Alaska Shootout on Thanksgiving weekend. Also taking part in the event are host Alaska-Anchorage, California, Hawaii, Loyola Marymount, Marshall, Missouri-Kansas City and Pacific. Hofstra will face Hawaii in their opening game. Other non-conference games includes trips to Siena, Stony Brook and Syracuse, a home meeting with St. Francis (NY), and an appearance in the Panasonic Holiday Festival. Hofstra will play St. Joseph’s in the opener, followed by a meeting with either St. John’s or Boston University depending on the first day’s results.
Hofstra opens conference play December 2nd when they host Georgia State. Key games in January include road games against UNC Wilmington and Drexel and a home game against Old Dominion, who knocked the Pride out of the Postseason NIT. February will bring return games with Old Dominion (road), UNC Wilmington and Drexel (home), as well as a trip to Fairfax, Virginia to take on George Mason. Mixed into the conference slate for the final month is an appearance in the ESPN Bracket Busters event. The regular season ends February 24th at James Madison.
Interesting Note: Last season, Hofstra went 14-1 at home, including 9-0 in conference play.
2005-06 Team Statistics
+ Points per game: 72.9 - Points per game allowed: 67.2 - Scoring Margin: + 5.7
+ Rebounds per game: 36.3 - Opp. Rebounds per game: 34.2 - Rebounding Margin: + 2.1
+ Assists per game: 13.5 - Turnovers per game: 13.5 - Assist-to-Turnover Ratio: 1:1
+ Field Goal Percentage: 46.0% - FG Percentage Defense: 41.7%
+ 3-Point Percentage: 35.7% - 3-Point Percentage Def.: 35.1%
+ Free Throw Percentage: 64.8%
+ Longest winning streak: 6-three times (Stony Brook, Dartmouth, @ St. Francis-NY, @ La Salle, James Madison, Georgia State) December 14th-January 7th; (Towson, @ Drexel, Old Dominion, @ Delaware, @ Georgia State, Northeastern) January 26th-February 11th; (Siena, @ William & Mary, George Mason, Drexel, Virginia Commonwealth, George Mason) February 18th-March 5th
+ Not once did Hofstra lose back-to-back games last season.