Friday, November 10, 2017

I'll Be Quirky: Army

The hunger strike until Hofstra reaches the NCAA Tournament again enters its 17th season!

Hello! Is this thing on? *blows dust off, coughs, sneezes* Good afternoon and welcome to the 2017-18 Hofstra men’s basketball season! Our favorite wintertime obsession begins tonight, when the Flying Dutchmen open the 17th straight Quixotic pursuit of the fifth NCAA Tournament in program history by hosting Army at the Arena.

And for the second straight year, hopefully, I’m going to produce “I’ll Be Quirky,” a collection of interesting (at least to me) stats and figures reviewing the Dutchmen’s most recent game and previewing their next one. I did pretty well last year, let’s see if I can make it 2-for-2.

As I noted last season, this blog is my Hofstra version of “The Skinny” blog produced by Islanders statistician Eric Hornick. Thanks to him for the inspiration and to you for reading. Play ball! Wait. Wrong season.

The Flying Dutchmen finished last season 15-17 (7-11 CAA) and were eliminated from the CAA Tournament with an 81-76 first-round loss to Delaware. The Dutchmen fell under .500 for good in the midst of a six-game losing streak on Jan. 14, though they got within one game of the break-even mark five times. The losing season was the first for the Dutchmen since 2013-14 and only the fifth in 19 seasons as a head coach for Joe Mihalich.

Sophomore Justin Wright-Foreman (18.1 ppg) led the Dutchmen in scoring — a remarkable feat for someone who scored just 44 points as a freshman — while junior Rokas Gustys (12.1 rpg) led the team in rebounding for the third straight season.

Justin Wright-Foreman 60
Deron Powers 36
Eli Pemberton 30
Brian Bernardi 23
Rokas Gustys 22
Ty Greer 9
Hunter Sabety 7
Jamall Robinson 5

Justin Wright-Foreman earned second-team All-CAA honors after ranking third in the league in scoring. He led the Dutchmen in scoring in the final 12 games of the season, the longest streak by a Hofstra player in the last 10 seasons. In addition, his 580 points were the second-most by a Hofstra player in his sophomore year in the CAA era (2001-present), behind only Charles Jenkins (629 points in 2009-10). Wright-Foreman also ranked 25th nationally in scoring among sophomores.

Despite missing four games due to injury and averaging nearly a rebound fewer per game than in 2015-16, Rokas Gustys surged into third place on the program’s all-time rebound list last season and enters this year 254 rebounds shy of second-place John Irving, whose 1,186 boards are the most by a Hofstra player in the Division I era. Gustys is also looking to become the first player in program history to lead the team in rebounding in four straight seasons. Kenny Adeleke was the last player to lead the Dutchmen in rebounding three straight seasons. 

Eli Pemberton earned CAA all-rookie team honors last season, when he averaged 12.8 points per game while starting 30 out of 31 games. His 397 points were the fourth-most by a Hofstra freshman in the CAA era. Pemberton began his career by scoring in double digits in five straight games, the longest streak by a freshman since Antoine Agudio in 2004-05. 

In addition to Wright-Foreman, Gustys and Pemberton, senior Hunter Sabety, redshirt sophomore Desure Buie and sophomore Connor Klementowicz return to the Dutchmen. Sabety averaged 4.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game while becoming one of just three Dutchmen to play in all 32 games. Buie averaged 2.8 points and 2.1 rebounds in eight games before suffering a season-ending knee injury. He was injured in the final game in which he could participate and still use a redshirt season.

The Dutchmen bid goodbye to six members of last year’s team. Brian Bernardi and Deron Powers graduated while Ty Greer (Division II Ferris State), Jamaal Robinson (LIU-Brooklyn) and Andre Walker (Division II Virginia Union) transferred and walk-on Tommy Ros did not return. The six players combined to score 1,082 points, which represented 43.8 percent of the Dutchmen’s total last year, and played 3,241 minutes, which represented 50.2 percent of the Dutchmen’s total playing time.

The Dutchmen welcome six new players: Graduate senior Joel Angus, junior transfer Kenny Wormley, redshirt freshman Stafford Trueheart and freshmen Matija Radovic, Jalen Ray and Kevin Schutte. Angus played the previous two seasons at Southeast Missouri State, though he was limited to one game due to injury last year, and Wormley played last season at Indian Hills Community College after opening his career at Siena in 2015-16.

The Dutchmen were picked to finish fourth in the CAA’s preseason poll of league coaches, sports information directors and media members.

1.) College of Charleston
2.) Towson
3.) Elon
5.) UNCW
6.) Northeastern
7.) Delaware
8.) William & Mary
9.) Drexel
10.) James Madison

This is the second time since the Dutchmen have been picked to finish fourth in the CAA. The 2005-06 team was picked fourth, finished third and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NIT (yay/boo).

Since the Dutchmen joined the CAA in 2001-02, only one team picked fourth in the preseason poll has won the league tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament (Delaware 2013-14). The median regular season finish for the team picked fourth has been fourth place (technically, 4.38th place).

Justin Wright-Foreman was named to the preseason All-CAA first team and was also placed on the watch list for the Lou Henson Award, which is presented annually to the top mid-major player in the country. Rokas Gustys was named to the preseason All-CAA second team and placed on the watch list for the Karl Malone Award, which is presented annually to the top power forward in the country. Eli Pemberton earned preseason All-CAA honorable mention accolades.

Redshirt freshman Stafford Trueheart and true freshmen Matija Radovic, Jalen Ray and Kevin Schutte are expected to suit up for the Dutchmen for the first time tonight. Here are some notable debuts by Hofstra freshmen in the CAA era (2001-present):

2016: Eli Pemberton: 20 pts/4 rebs/1 steal vs. Coppin State
2015: Justin Wright-Foreman: 0 pts/1 reb vs. Canisius
2015: Desure Buie: 2 pts/2 assists/1 steal vs. Canisius
2014: Rokas Gustys: 4 pts/10 rebs vs. Jacksonville
2014: Andre Walker: 4 pts/11 rebs/6 blks vs. Jacksonville
2013: Chris Jenkins: 17 pts/2 rebs/1 blk/1 steal vs. Monmouth
2013: Jamall Robinson: 8 pts/4 rebs/2 assists vs. Monmouth
2012: Jordan Allen: 2 pts/1 reb vs. Monmouth
2011: Moussa Kone: 6 pts/2 rebs/1 steal vs. Long Island U.
2010: Shemiye McLendon: 16 pts/4 rbs/2 assists vs. Farmingdale State
2010: Stephen Nwaukoni: 8 rebs vs. Farmingdale State
2010: Roland Brown: 4 pts/5 rebs/1 steal/1 blk  vs. Farmingdale State
2009: Chaz Williams: 7 pts/6 assists/5 rebs/37 mins vs. Kansas
2009: Halil Kanacevic: 12 pts/12 rebs/3 blks 31 mins vs. Kansas
2007: Charles Jenkins: 5 pts/9 rebs/1 assist/1 steal vs. Holy Cross
2007: Nathaniel Lester: 2 rebs vs. Holy Cross
2007: Greg Washington: 2 rebs/2 blks/1 assist/1 steal vs. Holy Cross
2005: Arminas Urbutis: 6 pts vs. Florida International
2005: Greg Johnson: 12 pts vs. Florida International
2004: Antoine Agudio: 20 pts vs. Florida International 
2003: Loren Stokes: 2 pts vs. Marist
2003: Carlos Rivera: 10 pts vs. Marist
2001: Kenny Adeleke: 10 pts vs. Florida Atlantic

Graduate senior Joel Angus, who transferred from Southeast Missouri State, and junior Kenny Wormley, who transferred from Indian Hills Community College, are expected to make their Hofstra debuts tonight. Here are some notable debuts by transfers since 1991:

2016: Deron Powers: 12 pts/5 assists/4 rebs vs. Coppin State
2016: Hunter Sabety: 2 pts/5 rebs/1 blk vs. Coppin State
2015: Denton Koon: 14 pts/5 rebs/1 steal/1 blk vs. Canisius
2014: Juan’ya Green: 14 pts/9 assists/5 rebs vs. Jacksonville
2014: Ameen Tanksley: 16 pts/3 assists/2 assists/1 blk vs. Jacksonville
2014: Brian Bernardi: 22 pts/3 assists/2 rebs/1 steal vs. Jacksonville (6-8 3PT)
2014: Malik Nichols: 15 pts/3 assists/2 rbs/1 blk vs. Jacksonville**
2013: Zeke Upshaw: 22 pts/3 assists/3 rebs vs. Monmouth (2-8 3PT)
2013: Dion Nesmith: 10 pts/5 assists/2 rebs vs. Monmouth
2012: Taran Buie: 14 pts/2 assists/2 rbs vs. South Dakota State
2012: [name redacted]: 12 pts vs. Monmouth
2012: Daquan Brown: 2 pts/1 assist vs. Tulane
2011: Stevie Mejia: 7 pts/1 rb/4 assists/1 steal vs. Long Island
2011: Bryant Crowder: 13 pts/6 rbs/1 steal vs. Rhode Island**
2010: Mike Moore: 13 pts/4 rbs/4 assists vs. Farmingdale State
2010: Dwan McMillan: 15 pts/2 rbs/6 assists1 steal vs. Farmingdale State**
2010: Brad Kelleher: 2 pts vs. Florida Atlantic**
2008: Tony Dennison: 5 pts/4 rbs/1 assist vs. Clemson**
2008: Cornelius Vines: 12 pts/3 rbs/3 steals vs. Clemson**
2008: Miklos Szabo: 4 pts/11 rbs/2 assists/1 steal vs. E. Tennessee State**
2007: Darren Townes: 5 pts/5 rbs/1 steal/1 blocked shot vs. Holy Cross**
2007: Dane Johnson: 3 pts/1 rb/3 blocked shots vs. Holy Cross**
2004: Kenny Harris: 3 pts/1 rb/1 assist/2 steals vs. Florida International**
2004: Adrian Uter: 0 pts/2 rbs/1 block vs. Florida International**
2000: Osei Miller: 2 pts/2 rbs vs. Northern Illinois
1999: Greg Springfield: 7 pts/5 rbs/10 blocked shots vs. New Mexico State***
1998: Jason Hernandez: 7 pts/ 2 rbs/1 assist/2 steals vs. Maryland
1998: Abdul Sylla 0 pts/3 rbs vs. Youngstown State
1997: Mike Renfro 6 pts/3 rbs/1 assist/1 steal vs. Bucknell**
1996: Lance Dunkley 2 pts/3 rbs/1 assist vs. Stony Brook**
1996: Duane Posey 8 pts/4 rbs/1 assist/2 blks vs. Stony Brook
1995: Seth Meyers 14 pts/5 rbs vs. Stony Brook
1995: Lawrence Thomas 20 pts/4 rbs/2 assists vs. Villanova
1994: Jamil Greene 1 pt/2 rbs/1 assist vs. New Hampshire**
1993: Chris Johnke 0 pts/5 rbs vs. Iona**
1991: Demetrius Dudley 33 pts/7 rbs vs. Navy

**--junior college transfer
***--10 blocked shots are a school record

Joe Mihalich begins his 20th season as a Division I head coach and his fifth at Hofstra tonight. He is 334-267 as a head coach, including 69-64 at the helm of the Dutchmen. His .519 winning percentage ranks seventh among Hofstra’s 13 all-time head coaches. He is 17 victories shy of surpassing Roger Gaeckler for eighth place on the program’s all-time win list.

Hofstra has won its last three season openers and is 46-35 all-time in season openers. The Flying Dutchmen are opening at home for the fifth straight season. 

Joe Mihalich is 11-8 in season openers (3-1 Hofstra, 8-7 Niagara).

Most lopsided season-opening win: 95-53 over Puerto Rico, 1949-50
Most lopsided season-opening win over DI foe: 94-61 over Jacksonville, 2014-15
Most lopsided season-opening loss: 96-57 to St. Joseph’s 1965-66, 60-21 to NYU, 1936-37

The Flying Dutchmen are 7-5 all-time against Army, though the two schools have not opposed each other since the 1995-96 season, when Hofstra earned an 82-58 win over the visiting Black Knights.

Army finished 13-19 (6-12 in the Patriot League) last season. The Black Knights were picked to finish seventh in the Patriot League preseason poll. They are ranked 188th at

Hofstra has not faced a Patriot League school since Dec. 22, 2011, when the Dutchmen beat Colgate, 82-59. The Dutchmen are 89-91 all-time against current Patriot League schools, which include five former conference foes (American, Bucknell, Lafayette and Lehigh in the East Coast Conference and Boston University in the NAC/America East).

Hofstra will carry a live stream and offer live stats of the game here.

You used to be the Cadets bias! (I thought they still were, until about five minutes ago)
Frustrated four bias! (Army is one of four original D-I programs, along with St. Francis NY, The Citadel and our friends at William & Mary, to never make the NCAA Tournament)
Coach K & Bobby Knight got their starts there bias! (Duh)
Doc Blanchard bias! (The Heisman Trophy winner led Army to three straight titles from 1944-46)

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