Does that sound familiar? It should.
It made sense that the 2006-07 Pride would be the CAA favorites the following season. They were also returning their star guard trio of Loren Stokes, Antoine Agudio and Carlos Rivera. UNC Wilmington, George Mason and Old Dominion, the other top three teams from the season before, also lost key players to graduation. It seemed to be Hofstra's time.
So why did the 2006-07 Pride not live up to the billing despite Stokes, Agudio and Rivera combining for nearly 54 points per game and the team shooting 45 percent from the field?
The answer was the frontcourt.
In 2006-07, Chris Gadley, Zygas Sestokas, Arminas Urbutis and Mike Davis Sabb, the entire Hofstra forward rotation that were reserves the previous season (and combined to average 5 points and 6 rebounds per game in 2005-06), combined to average 17 points and 15 rebounds per game.
So in total, the 2006-07 frontcourt averaged eight less points and six less rebounds per game than the season before. It showed on scoring defense. The 2006-07 Pride gave up 2.6 more points per game, 69.8 in 2006-07 than they did in 2005-06, 67.2, even though their scoring offense was basically the same as the season before (73.1 in 2006-07, 72.9 in 2005-06). Their rebounding margin in 2005-06 was +2.1. In 2006-07, it was - 0.7. Both categories were the difference in several games.
But the 2014-15 Pride were much more than that trio. Two now graduated key members were the fourth and fifth leading scorers, Dion Nesmith and Moussa Kone, who combined to average 20 points and nine rebounds per game.
Again, sounds pretty familiar, right.
Throw into the mix a returning six foot ten Andre Walker, who averaged double digit minutes in 7 of the first 9 games last season before being relegated to the bench. Walker should see more action this season and hopefully live up to the billing he had coming out of The Bullis School in Maryland. The Pride sorely need his shot blocking ability on defense.
The Pride are also adding two highly touted freshmen guards in Justin Wright-Foreman and Desure Buie.
However, the new NCAA rules changes, the new 30 second shot clock and the new hand check and bumping rules, if strictly enforced, should open up more scoring. This should only help teams like Hofstra that are built on offense.
We'll know pretty quickly how good Hofstra really is when the Pride go to the Paradise Jam on November 20, with their first opponent being Florida State. You can find the Hofstra schedule here.
Green, 17.1 points per game, and Tanksley, 16.2 points per game, are the two leading returning scorers from the CAA (W&M's Marcus Thornton graduated and Drexel's Damion Lee graduate transferred to Louisville). Those will be givens again, as well as Bernardi averaging 11.6 points per game.
The question will be can Gustys, Nichols, Robinson and Koon, along with others, not only makeup for the loss of Kone and Nesmith, but actually improve the numbers on scoring and defense. If so, then Hofstra will have its first NCAA appearance in fifteen years.
For those who bleed blue and gold, that's a long time coming.