Wednesday, May 19, 2010

And then there were nine (for now)

Stop wrecking havoc with Hofstra, Agatha!!!

I am beginning to think the athletic director at Hofstra is not Jack Hayes but the ghost of Agatha Christie. The basketball version of Ten Little Indians—Twelve Tall Dutchmen?—continued today, when rising sophomore Chaz Williams told Adam Zagoria he received his release from his scholarship and will transfer.

Assuming Williams exits as planned—Zagoria reported Williams is looking at Rutgers and Providence in the Big East and LaSalle in the Atlantic 10, boy, at this rate, there will be fewer A-10 teams without Hofstra ties than those with—Hofstra will have made two gloriously unwanted bits of history this spring.

As I wrote earlier this month, only one all-rookie player in the first 24 years of the CAA left immediately after his freshman season (William & Mary’s Bill Phillips after the 1997-98 campaign). Hofstra lost two in a matter of a month.

In addition, should Williams follow Halil Kanacevic out the door, Hofstra would also become the first school in CAA history to place at least two players on the all-rookie team and have neither finish his career at the school. We’re number one! We’re number one!

This is not good news for Hofstra, of course, and it’s another crushing blow for seniors Charles Jenkins, Nathaniel Lester, Greg Washington and Brad Kelleher. What looked to be a shot at a storybook senior year is now turning into, well, an Agatha Christie novel, and there’s still almost five months to go before practice starts.

It also really increases the pressure on Mo Cassara to ensure next year is the bridge year (Theo Epstein just took time off from rocking out to Pearl Jam to glance upward) and that the newcomers Cassara lands the next two years are keepers. Williams and Kanacevic were not only the obvious anchors for the 2011-12 team but also the answers to the point guard and big man problems that had plagued the Dutchmen the last few years.

Now those problem areas are problems again and the 2011-12 team will be led by—well, who? Of the five players on the Hofstra roster who will still have collegiate eligibility after next season, two (Paul Bilbo and Mike Moore) have yet to play a minute for the Flying Dutchmen while the other three (Yves Jules, David Imes and Matt Grogan) averaged 6.5 minutes, 1.3 points and 0.7 rebounds per game last season.

Of course, there’s still 17 months to go before the 2011-12 team convenes—plenty of time for Bilbo, Moore, Jules, Imes and Grogan to get picked off this Island in mysterious fashion.

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