Friday, November 30, 2012

Dutchmen quartet arrested, suspended

Two weeks ago, the Flying Dutchmen produced one of the most memorable regular season weekends in recent history by sweeping South Dakota State, District of Columbia and Marshall—three teams likely to reach the NCAA Tournament, albeit in two different divisions—and authored what the first signature moment in this new era of Hofstra basketball.

It was likely the last, at least for this season.

Newsday reported this morning that four Hofstra players—sophomore Shaquille Stokes and freshmen Jimmy Hall, Kentrell Washington and Dallas Anglin—were arrested yesterday on multiple counts of burglary. Per a university press release, all four players have been suspended immediately from the team and school.

The incidents occurred on campus between Oct. 4 and Nov. 5. According to Newsday, Stokes was arrested on five counts of second-degree burglary and Hall was charged with four counts. Washington was arrested on two counts of second-degree burglary and Anglin was charged with one count. The players are scheduled to be arraigned today at First District Court in Hempstead.

The indefinite suspensions will cripple the Dutchmen. Hall earned comparisons, now sadly apt, to Kenny Adeleke by emerging as a nightly double-double threat as a freshman and was already the Dutchmen’s best player (12.7 ppg, 9.7 rpg). Stokes was averaging 10 ppg, fourth-highest on the team, and hit clutch shots in the wins over South Dakota State and Marshall.

The Dutchmen’s already lean depth will take an unrecoverable blow as well. With Stephen Nwaukoni (personal) out the last two games and UConn transfer Jamal Coombs-McDaniel yet to play because of a knee injury, there’s a good chance the Dutchmen will take the floor against SMU tomorrow with a grand total of five scholarship players (seniors David Imes and Stevie Mejia, sophomores Moussa Kone and Taran Buie and freshman Jordan Allen) available.

The arrests are also a staggering blow for a program, an athletic department and a fan base that has absorbed plenty of punches in the last three years. This was supposed to be the season in which Mo Cassara began rebuilding a program decimated following the departure of Tom Pecora in 2010, and the early results were encouraging. To say he didn’t need this, with a new athletic director as well as a president who loathes any kind of bad publicity, is an understatement of the grandest order.

News of the arrests broke a mere three days before the third anniversary of Hofstra’s decision to kill football, which angered alums (you don’t say). There had been some hope that a new day had dawned over the last few months, during which the softball team came within a base hit of reaching the College World Series and the women’s soccer and volleyball teams reached the NCAA Tournament.

But this morning’s news prove that the black cloud still hangs above us and the fates are still pulling the football away every time Hofstra manages to mount a running start. Good grief.

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