Saturday, June 13, 2009

It's All About Hofstra,,,Well, Almost

We're back with our first post in nearly two months and it's all about the Pride. Well, almost.

Several things have happened in the past couple of months if you are a Hofstra fan. First, many of you CAA diehards may already know that Hofstra is looking to move into the Atlantic 10. The Pride have felt like a fish out of water in the Virginia based conference and are looking for a more Northeast profile. However, I find it hard to believe that the A10 would be interested in Hofstra. Currently the A10 has 14 schools/teams - ok, you could say 13 schools and Fordham, who had a horrible 1-15 record in conference and was 3-25 overall ("Moore" on Fordham in a second - and you'll see why the pun as well). But Hofstra has not made the NCAA tournament since 2001, even though it has three NIT appearances and four 20 win seasons during that span since 2001.

The A10 would need to have another school come along with Hofstra to make it 16. The logical school would be Drexel, since the A10 features many other Philadelphia based schools - Temple, St Joseph's and LaSalle. As for Hofstra, a more logical and likely choice might be the MAAC. Now many Hofstra fans might think the MAAC is a step down. But actually in the past two basketball seasons, the MAAC is on par, or I think ahead of the CAA at the top of their conferences, with Siena having won three games in the NCAA Tournament, and the success of Niagara as well this season. It's a serious consideration Hofstra will need to make.

Now the reasoning for my "Moore on Fordham" pun. Former Fordham guard Mike Moore is transferring to Hofstra. At least unlike many CAA transfers who played at the end of their previous larger school's bench, Moore was an integral part of the Ram lineup. The six foot five inch guard/forward was the second leading scorer for the Rams, averaging 12.8 points per game. He led the team in three pointers. Moore is a streaky player as the above linked article shows. But he seems to have a knack for scoring in the second half of games, and Hofstra woefully needs scoring. Despite being a 21-11 team, the Pride were at the bottom of many CAA categories. He will sit out a year, but will have two years of eligibility left and should be an integral part of a good nucleus in his junior year. Hofstra has five players returning from this past season's team including first team All CAA Charles Jenkins (who is only a junior..damn), Nathaniel Lester, Greg Washington and Miklos Szabo. Hofstra has seven new players coming in, so when Moore joins in 2010-11, he should fit in nicely.

Now for the Piece De Resistance. So, what are you doing November 13? Got any plans? How do you feel about Lawrence, Kansas? Well apparently the Pride feel fine about that. It seems that Hofstra is putting the finishing touches on starting the season at the likely preseason # 1 ranked Kansas Jayhawks. Jerry Beach, who is kind of enough to have a link to my site on his often very witty Defiantly Dutch site, has an article about this, complete with quotes from Pride A.D. Jack Hayes. Now Jerry has the game as Sunday, November 15. My source, my friend and KU alum, Grant Hayden has his source stating it as November 13. To me that makes more sense, since the next game the Jayhawks play would be November 17 at Memphis.

It's pretty funny how Jerry talks about the last few season's opening games that Hofstra has had prior to this year's. Clemson, Holy Cross, Charlotte and Florida International. Hmm, Clemson at the Charleston Classic. Yup was there. Charleston, wonderful city and got to see some good basketball teams too (Clemson is better than Jerry gives them credit for). Year before, drive to Worcester, Mass. Yup did that too. Before that, the lovely weekend trip to Charlotte in November 2006. Did that too (the golf on Saturday was better than the loss to Charlotte - the beginning of a disappointing season that 06-07 year). I think Florida International was home in 2005..can't remember that. If it was, I was there. :-)

Either way, I know my plans for the November 13th weekend. Going to the land of Mr. Naismith. Wouldn't miss it for the world. :-)

Now I said almost all of this was about Hofstra. There's a little matter known as the NBA draft coming up soon. And there are three players that I have written about often in this column who are affected by this; Stephen Curry, Eric Maynor, and Patty Mills. All are expected to be taken in the first round, with the possible exception of Mills, who is supposed to go in the early second round.

There was an article in yesterday's Newsday noting Curry is not scheduling any more pre-draft workouts with other teams in hopes that will tell teams other than the Knicks not to draft him. The Knicks have the eighth overall pick and have serious interest in Curry, who left Davidson one year early for the draft and already has hired an agent. However, other mock drafts on ESPN, CNN/SI and other on-line publications have Curry going as high as fourth to the Kings (CNN/SI) or sixth to the Timberwolves (ESPN). Needless to say, any questions about Curry's point guard ability or quickness is being answered in these mock drafts (I am still reminded of ESPN 1050's Michael Kay comparing him to J.J. Reddick - riiiight).

As for VCU's Maynor, the senior graduate looks to be a solid mid to late first round pick. CNN/SI and ESPN both have Maynor going 17th to the Sixers. Drexel fans can tell you how good Maynor is. Soon Sixers fans may know too. And disregard that talk about Maynor's shooting range. Hofstra fans can tell you that his range is just fine. Trust me on that.

As for Mills, his stock has slipped, like unfortunately I thought it would. Mills right now is listed at NBADraft.Net as going early in round two to the Spurs at 37 (hmm, an eventual replacement for the similarly sized Tony Parker?). Mills has already announced that he is staying in the draft. Unlike Maynor and Curry, Mills has experience playing against professionals, having been the starting guard for the national Australian team in the 2008 Olympics. He had 20 points against the U.S. Olympic Team. However, the concerns are that Mills is small for a point guard (6 foot even), has an erratic shot and NBA teams did not get a true full season look at Mills, since missed a significant amount of time due to injury this past season.

However, having watched him enough, I do believe he is NBA caliber. There is that quality performance against the best NBA players in the world. He is also hiccup quick and outplayed Curry in their second round NIT matchup at St Mary's, which was won by the Gaels.

But, as noted in a previous article, I stated that it was a mistake for Mills to come out in this draft. It was a year too soon. This year's draft is very guard heavy draft and as previously noted, Mills doesn't have a full two year college resume to use as a reference. Mills should have stayed in school where combined with the returning Omar Samhan, the St Mary's Gaels would have been the favorites to win the West Coast Conference. A full season as a junior, combined with some potential NCAA tournament experience would have solidly put Mills in the first round in next year's draft, thus guaranteeing a him a larger contract.

I will say this. If Curry is drafted by the Knicks, I will become a Knicks fan again. I lost interest in NBA basketball the past few years because I think it's too one on one, boring etc. I used to be a huge Knicks fan from the days of Reed/Debusschere/Bradley/Frazier/Monroe through Bernard King through Patrick Ewing. It would be nice to see a premium player that I have watched extensively in Curry play in a Knicks uniform. (Being at that 2008 NCAA first round in Raleigh is forever etched in my brain). We'll see.

Have a lovely weekend.

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