Hofstra Pride (21-12, 14-4)
Projected starting five:
Jr. G Stevie Mejia
Sr. G Nat Lester
Sr. G Mike Moore
Jr. F David Imes
Fr. F Moussa Kone
Three starters are gone from last season’s team: Charles Jenkins (22.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 4.8 apg), Greg Washington (7.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.2 bpg) and Brad Kelleher (7.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 3.3 apg).
46.3 percent of scoring and 64.7 percent of rebounding
Jr. PG Stevie Mejia, a transfer from Rhode Island
Jr. F-C Bryant Crowder, a junior college transfer
Fr. F Moussa Kone
Fr. F Jordan Allen
The Pride has a nonconference schedule that is tougher that it might first look. They open with Northeast contender Long Island at home, then head to Oregon State, return home to play Sun Belt contender Florida Atlantic before heading to Rhode Island for three games, a couple of which will be tough contests. They also play MAAC contender Iona, although they get the Gaels at home. In CAA play, it doesn’t get any easier, as the only team picked ahead of them that they don’t play twice is Old Dominion, and their only contest against the Monarchs is in Norfolk.
Projected finish and outlook:
To say Jenkins was the heart and soul of last season’s team would be a great understatement, although the Pride will also miss Greg Washington more than many think as well. While those are not small losses, the cupboard is not bare for Mo Cassara’s second season at the helm as they get back Nat Lester after he had to redshirt last year and add Stevie Mejia to run the show alongside Moore, the conference’s second-leading returning scorer. That means the perimeter should be in pretty good shape, especially since there appears to be more depth there than last year with Dwan McMillan and Shemiye McLendon being key parts of that.
The frontcourt is where the uncertainty is aside from Imes, who came along well last season. They like Kone thus far, and Crowder will give them more size there. This will be a different team, but this time around the team comes in not off a topsy-turvy off-season, so there’s more stability and still a good veteran presence in the backcourt. And after the top couple of teams, it’s wide open, so it would be no more of a surprise to see the Pride in third than it would to see them in ninth place when it comes time to seed the teams for the conference tournament.