Hofstra Men's Basketball Set To Host Farmingdale State To Tip Off Regular Season

Eric HoldenContributor INovember 7, 2010

Hofstra basketball 2010-11
Hofstra basketball 2010-11

Hofstra will host Farmingdale State on Nov. 13th at 4 p.m. to open the 2010-11 men’s basketball regular season. The Pride finished their 2009 campaign with an overall record of 19-15, including 10-8 in the CAA. Mo Cassara begins his first year as head coach of the squad, hired in May to a multi-year deal after a stint as an assistant at Boston College.

The Rams look to bounce back from a rebuilding year that saw them go 13-13 overall, including 13-7 in the Skyline Conference. On Nov. 20, 2009 when the teams last squared off, Nat Lester scored 21 points to lead Hofstra to a 87-48 victory.

In-Game Battles:

Hofstra will look to the versatility of Charles Jenkins to keep the Ram’s defense off-balance. Jenkins is a potent weapon as a point guard, but has the athleticism to move to the small forward position as well.  He was the CAA Player of the Year last season and ranked 20th nationally in scoring with an average of 20.6 points per game. 

At 6’10", Greg Washington adds size up front and boosts the defense with stellar shot-blocking ability. Washington holds the Hofstra record for most blocked shots in a career (203) and a single game (10). Last season, he was named to the CAA All-Defensive Team and tallied an average of 6.2 rebounds per game.

Without any weapons to match Washington’s height and strength, Farmingdale will face a difficult task trying to contain the big man.

Nat Lester moves into his senior year for the Pride coming back from a thigh injury that he suffered during an exercise routine in the offseason. He enters 2010-11 with 673 career points, 374 rebounds and 76 assists, but may not be fully recovered in time for the home-opener.

Hofstra added four new players to their roster in the offseason. Queens, New York natives Stephen Nwaukoni and Roland Brown are massive power forwards off the bench, giving the Pride valuable inside presence on both ends of the floor. Point guard Dwan McMillan is a play-maker that will control the tempo of Hofstra’s offense. Freshman guard Shemiye McLendon averaged 22 points per game as a senior at Vero Beach High School in Florida.

Brad Kelleher and Mike Moore sat out for the duration of the 2009-10 season due to NCAA regulations and transfer penalties. “These are players that people in our program have not seen yet” said Coach Cassara. “We look forward to having them on the court. I‘m anxious to see these guys play and I know a lot of our fans are too, because they haven‘t really worn a uniform officially for us yet.”

Farmingdale State’s Shahee Martin led the Rams in scoring last year as a junior, averaging 16.7 points per game and was the team leader in rebounds (7.0 rpg), assists (49), steals (33) and blocked shots (20). The guard returns to action as a senior, hoping to build on his accomplishments from 2009. Martin notched seven points and three defensive rebounds in Farmingdale’s showdown with Hofstra last season.

The Rams enter the contest as a severe underdog, but the matchup will serve as the first glimpse of Coach Cassara‘s strategy in this new era of Hofstra basketball. Only six months into his tenure, questions remain if the fresh faces on the coaching staff have had enough time to fully prepare for the long grind of the upcoming season.

What’s Next:

Hofstra vs. North Carolina at San Juan, Puerto Rico, Nov. 18 at 5 p.m.