We’re back, baby! (Imagine a Joey Tribbiani on the set of Days of Our Lives GIF going here) Good afternoon and welcome to the 2019-20 college basketball season. Hope you all enjoyed the off-season, i.e. baseball season, and that you found time for a nap between Game 7 of the World Series and today, when our beloved Flying Dutchmen begin their 19th consecutive pursuit of the fifth NCAA Tournament bid in program history by hosting San Jose State.
This marks the fourth year of the I’ll Be Quirky feature, where I dig up stats and trends that are fun and interesting (at least to me) about the Flying Dutchmen while putting some of my I’ll-forget-to-take-out-the-garbage-tomorrow-but-not-this-obscure-thing-from-Jay-Wright’s-first-season-which-by-the-way-was-25-years-ago-wow-we-are-all-old historical Hofstra hoops knowledge to use. I’ve been pretty consistent with these posts, other than the lack of an end-of-season roundup because the end of every season bums us out. Maybe this will finally be the year we aren’t bummed out at the end of the season! I hope so, the tournament drought is now taking classes at Hofstra.
As I’ve noted the previous three years, this feature as inspired by Islanders statistician Eric Hornick’s blog, “The Skinny.” Thanks to him for paving the path and to you for reading. The ball is tipped!
WE DON’T KNOW WHERE WE’RE GOING BUT WE SURE KNOW WHERE WE’VE BEEN
This season marks the 84th season in which the Flying Dutchmen have played basketball. The program is 1,255-957 all-time. No one has played in each of the previous 83 seasons, though each Hofstra team has faced Joe Linderman.
The Flying Dutchmen went 27-8 last season and earned the program’s first outright CAA regular season title by going 15-3 in league play. The 27 wins were a school record while the 15 conference wins were the most ever in the CAA for Hofstra and the most for the program since the 2000-01 team went 16-2 in the America East. The Dutchmen also won 16 straight games from Nov. 28 through Feb. 14, which was the longest active streak in the country and the longest at Hofstra since a school-record 18-game run in 2000-01.
But for the second time in four years and the third time in the CAA era, the Dutchmen fell in the CAA championship game, this time via an 82-74 loss to Northeastern. The Dutchmen received an automatic bid to the NIT but suffered a first-round loss to North Carolina State, 84-78. Because apparently the 28th amendment of the Constitution states every Hofstra season must either end at the hands of UNC Wilmington or one of its former coaches.
Justin Wright-Foreman (27.1 ppg) completed a brilliant career by finishing second in the nation in scoring and winning CAA Player of the Year honors for the second straight season. He was the first unanimous winner since Brett Blizzard of UNCW in 2003. Wright-Foreman was drafted by the Jazz in the second round of June’s draft.
Junior Desure Buie was selected the CAA’s Defensive Player of the Year and was named to the All-CAA third team. Junior Eli Pemberton (all-CAA second team) and graduate senior Jacquil Taylor was named to the all-defensive team. Head coach Joe Mihalich earned CAA Coach of the Year honors.
FINAL 3 STARS OF THE GAME STANDINGS
Justin Wright-Foreman 83
Eli Pemberton 38
Desure Buie 29
Jacquil Taylor 27
Tareq Coburn 16
Jalen Ray 13
Stafford Trueheart 2
Kenny Wormley 1
Dan Dwyer 1
A FOND FAREWELL
The Dutchmen bid goodbye to five members of last year’s team. Seniors Justin Wright-Foreman and Kenny Wormley graduated while graduate transfers Dan Dwyer and Jacquil Taylor completed their only season of eligibility while Matjia Radovic transferred.
In addition to winning back-to-back CAA Player of the Year honors, Wright-Foreman graduated as the second-leading scorer in program history (2,327 points) and finished his career by scoring in double figures in each of his final 88 games — the longest streak in both Hofstra and CAA history as well as the second-longest active streak in the country at the end of the season. Wright-Foreman then became the 12th Hofstra player ever selected in the NBA draft and the first since Charles Jenkins, the school’s all-time leading scorer, was picked by the Warriors in the second round of the 2011 draft.
Taylor started all 35 games in his lone season with the Dutchmen and shot 71.3 percent from the field, the second-best single-season mark in the Defiantly Dutch era (1993-present) behind only Hunter Sabety, who shot 72.6 percent in 2017-18. Dwyer averaged 13.5 minutes per game as Taylor’s backup. Wormley averaged 3.9 points per game in 39 games over two years while Radjovic played in 32 games over two seasons.
The Flying Dutchmen return three starters in two seniors, Pemberton and Buie, and junior Tareq Coburn. In addition, senior walk-on Connor Klementowicz, juniors Jalen Ray, Kevin Schutte and Stafford Trueheart are all back. The returnees combined to score 1,551 points, which represented 53 percent of the Dutchmen’s total last year, and played 4,377 minutes, which represented 60.8 percent of the Dutchmen’s total playing time.
Eli Pemberton, the newest member of the Hofstra 1,000-point club, climbed to 14th place on the all-time scoring list last season. He is 40 points away from surpassing Rick Apodaca for 13th place.
13.) Rick Apodaca 1,422 (1999-2003)
14.) ELI PEMBERTON 1,383 (2016-present)
15.) Ken Rood 1,368 (1973-77)
16.) Barry White 1,344 (1966-69)
17.) Dave Bell 1,330 (1969-72)
18.) Kenny Adeleke 1,296 (2001-04)
19.) Mike Tilley 1,286 (1963-66)
20.) Roberto Gittens 1,240 (1997-2001)
A DESURE THING
Desure Buie flirted with history last season, when he shot 90.9 percent (100-of-110) from the free throw line. It was the second-best season-long performance from the line in school history, behind only Steve Nisenson (91.3 percent during the 1963-64 season). Buie also finished sixth in the nation in free throw shooting.
In addition, Buie drained 31 straight free throws from Feb. 21 until DATE HERE, which is tied for the second-longest single-season streak of the Joe Mihalich era. Buie also drained 31 straight free throws from Nov. 11-Dec. 28, 2018. Brian Bernardi sank 32 straight free throws from Dec. 11, 2016 until Feb. 25, 2017.
As long as Buie remains healthy, he should shatter the program record for most games played in a career, which is shared by Charles Jenkins and Nathaniel Lester (128). Buie, who played eight games in 2016-17 before suffering a season-ending knee injury that allowed him to redshirt, enters his post-graduate season with 107 games played. Had Buie played in one more game in 2016-17, he would not have been eligible for a redshirt.
MY NAME IS…
The Dutchmen welcome seven new players: Sophomore transfers Isaac Kante and Omar Silverio, redshirt freshman Hal Hughes and freshmen Caleb Burgess, Kvonn Cramer, Carl Gibson Jr. and Jermaine Mirando.
Kante played 10 games as a freshman at Georgia before transferring to Hofstra and sitting out last year. Silverio averaged played in 28 games at Rhode Island before transferring and receiving a waiver to play immediately.
THIRD TIME THE CHARM AT NO. 1?
The Dutchmen didn’t receive the most first-place votes but were still the overall pick to finish first in the CAA’s preseason poll of league coaches, sports information directors and media members.
1.) HOFSTRA (14 1sts)
2.) Charleston (18 1sts)
3.) Northeastern (4 1sts)
4.) James Madison (3 1sts)
5.) Delaware (2 1sts)
7.) William & Mary
9.) UNC Wilmington
This is the third time the Dutchmen have been picked to finish first in the CAA. The 2006-07 team finished third and the 2015-16 team finished tied for first but earned the top seed over UNC Wilmington via tiebreakers.
Since the Dutchmen joined the CAA in 2001-02, eight teams picked first in the preseason poll have won the conference tournament and reached the NCAA Tournament:
2002 UNC Wilmington
2003 UNC Wilmington
2005 Old Dominion
2010 Old Dominion
2017 UNC Wilmington
In addition to Hofstra in 2016, Drexel won the regular season crown before falling in the conference championship game in 2012.
MIHALICH AT THE HELM
Joe Mihalich begins his 22nd season as a Division I head coach and his seventh at Hofstra tonight. He is 380-287 as a head coach, including 115-84 at the helm of the Dutchmen. Mihalich’s 380 wins are tied for 153rd most all-time with, I kid you not, former Old Dominion head coach Blaine Taylor.
Mihalich ranks sixth on the program’s all-time win list and is eight wins shy of moving past some guy named Jay Wright. Anyone know whatever happened to him?
Hofstra has won its last five season openers and is 48-35 all-time in season openers. The Flying Dutchmen are opening at home for the seventh straight season. This is the earliest season opener in program history.
Joe Mihalich is 13-8 in season openers (5-1 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
SAN JOSE STATE AND THE MOUNTAIN WEST
The Flying Dutchmen are facing San Jose State for the first time ever. The Spartans finished 4-27 (1-17 in the Mountain West) and in last place in the MWC last season. They were picked to finish last in this seasons MWC preseason poll. San Jose State is ranked 332nd at KenPom.com.
Guard Brae Ivery, who averaged 9.2 points and led the Spartans with 102 assists, is the top returnee for San Jose State, which has a pair of Wake Forest transfers, Richard Washington and Samuel Japhet-Mathias.
The Spartans and Dutchmen have one common foe — UCLA, which will host Hofstra on Nov. 21 and San Jose State on Dec. 1.
KenPom.com predicts an 84-68 win for the Dutchmen, Per the wise guys in Vegas, for entertainment purposes only, the Dutchmen are 20-point favorites tonight. Hofstra was 20-14 against the spread last season. Don’t bet, kids.
Hofstra is 1-1 all-time against current Mountain West foes. The Dutchmen beat Air Force during the 1991-92 season and lost to UNLV during the 1992-93 season.
THINGS YOU CAN SHOUT ON TWITTER IF CALLS GO DO NOT GO HOFSTRA’S WAY
Calgary Stampeders bias! (CFL legend Jeff Garcia went to San Jose State)
Landlside bias! (Fleetwood Mac members Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham went to San Jose State)
Why can’t Fordham get guys like this bias? (Head coach Jean Prioleau played at Fordham under Mike Rice)
Wrong Spartans bias! (These guys aren’t Michigan State)