2007-08 Hofstra Basketball Preview
Overall Rank: #122
Conference Rank: #5 Colonial
2006-07: 22-10, 14-4, 3rd
2006-07 postseason: NIT
It is simply impossible to lose Loren Stokes and Carlos Rivera and get better. Yet, Hofstra still has Antoine Agudio, who averaged 20.2 points per game last year. If Agudio can take over the leadership role, the Pride will be in good hands. The 6-3 senior nearly broke the school’s three-point shooting mark after just two years and he easily broke the record during his junior campaign. The long range shooting will continue now that Aguido is a senior, but Hofstra will need to find some more consistent offensive threats in order for Aguido to keep getting open looks.
We are only talking about 33.7 points, 7.0 assists and 9.6 rebounds. That is the combined statistics for Stokes and point guard Rivera. The Pride is hiding some talent who understandably spent last year coming off the bench, but they will never reach the numbers of Stokes and Rivera. Guard Sal Patricio, who only played in nine contests as a freshman, has opted to transfer to a junior college. Yet, the bigger transfer is Chris Gadley. The 6-9 forward earned six starts as a sophomore and averaged 4.2 points and 4.8 rebounds. Gadley, who is heading to Canisius, would have likely been a starter at Hofstra this year.
Five players return who averaged over 3.5 minutes per game last year. That will be the starting five. That means Coach Tom Pecora will need to find some immediate production from his newcomers. Redshirt freshman Greg Washington was a highly touted recruit last year and big things are expected from the 6-10 freshman. It will be asking too much of Washington to be extremely productive, but he has the most potential to become a quality big man off the bench right away. Darren Townes will help out on the glass and Dane Johnson will provide more depth up front. Charles Jenkins, Devon Peterson and Nathaniel Lester will add depth on the wings. All three have proven to be big scorers at the high school level and will be asked to at least be shooters off the bench.
Who to Watch:
Replacing Stokes and Rivera is the obvious concern. Greg “Playstation” Johnson has been patiently waiting his turn to take over the point guard duties. The 6-0 junior has taken care of his occasional careless ballhandling issues and is ready to take over the team. He is not as good of a shooter as Rivera, but can do some scoring when the team needs him to put the ball in the hoop. Johnson will leave most of the scoring for Agudio and Zygis Sestokas on the wings. Sestokas, better known as Ziggy, is a tremendous outside shooter. With some points needed to be picked up, Ziggy really needs to remain consistent from long range. Not only will he help in the scoring column, but it will also free up Agudio.
Without Gadley, the starting jobs up front fall to Mike Davis-Sabb and Arminas Urbutis. Davis-Sabb only averaged 3.3 points last year and Urbutis added 3.1. Yet, there is good news. With so much talent on the perimeter, Hofstra ran a four guard offense much of the time and that left Davis-Sabb at the five spot. This year, the 6-7 junior will be playing the much more suitable power forward position and actually have another player in the frontcourt with him. It may not help the interior scoring too much, but Hofstra should not be outrebounded on the season like they were during the 2006-2007 campaign. The Pride needs to find a third scoring option behind Aguido and Ziggy. If that scorer can come from the inside, Hofstra will have an interior threat which they lacked last year and led to the disappointing campaign in 2006-2007.
Projected Post-season Tournament: none
Projected Starting Five:
Greg Johnson, Junior, Guard, 2.3 points per game
Antoine Agudio, Senior, Guard, 20.2 points per game
Zygis Sestokas, Junior, Guard, 6.8 points per game
Mike Davis-Sabb, Junior, Forward, 3.3 points per game
Arminas Urbutis, Junior, Forward, 3.1 points per game