By Max Sass, Sports Editor
The Chronicle Sports Editor Max Sass sat down with new men's basketball coach Tim Welsh to discuss some of the pressing issues for the Pride.
Max Sass:Do you think you can win right away?
Tim Welsh: I hope so. That's why I came here. Yeah I was planning on winning that is always the first priority is to win. However, I don't know enough about the team yet. We don't have a complete basketball team. In the fall I can tell you what our team is going to look like. I like the players we have now, we have to work them out more and watch more tape. I certainly think that there are pieces here. They have already proven that they can win. There have also been pieces of the team that have been taken away from the program. The two seniors that left were certainly good players. They helped win games as well. A lot has to go into it. There is a piece of players accepting our coaching which I'm sure will be fine. There is us adding some recruits, there's the offseason conditioning, there is the offseason skill development, there is the schedule, there is a lot that goes into it. But I'm always positive that I will go into every season expecting to win a lot and that has to go into that. We have to be healthy, have a good summer, the guys have to say together, and the guys have to finish their academic work. It's way to early to answer questions of can we win? Our plan is to win but, I don't know what the team is going to look like today but I can guarantee you that it is going to look different in September then it does now.
MS: What is your style of coaching?
TW: Well we're more of a transition team. We are going to try and play an up-tempo game but I mean we are certainly not going to neglect defense and rebounding because that is how you play that type of game and that's how you are going to create more opportunities than your opponents. We want to create easy baskets. The one thing we can try and do with this team is try to create easy baskets for them in the open court. We got some good athletes; we got some guys that can go up and down the court. We have some terrific guards, some forwards that are multi-dimensional, not just one-type guys that you put on the blocks. We'll play defense, we will rebound, but we want to run, run, run and we want to try and get the game and try and score eighty points per game and I think we have some good pieces to do that.
MS: What will your coaching experience in the Big East bring to the CAA/Hofstra?
TW: The CAA is a terrific conference but certainly the Big East is the highest, highest level but the CAA is really good. It's not going to be much different. We are going to be playing good players every night; we're going to be playing against terrific coaches, experienced coaches. We're talking about guys that are getting into tournaments, getting deep into the tournaments, run successful programs. It's a very good conference. I'll just try to lean on my experience of coaching in a great conference in the past and just understanding that one thing about the Big East is that it's so widespread because there are 16 teams with different styles and I don't know all the styles of all the coaches here but I will certainly know them by the start of next year because it is important to see how you scheme.
MS: What was the one thing that drew you to Hofstra more than anything else?
TW: The one thing that Hofstra has always been to me is a winner. I've always liked Long Island, I've always felt comfortable in the New York area, and I vacationed here a lot. When I was at Providence, I vacationed here more than when I lived in New York. At Iona we used to go to the Hamptons a lot during the summer time. We did a getaway with all of the Providence coaches before the start of the season. So we feel comfortable, we know the coaches, we had a lot of Long Island coaches that used to come to our basketball camp but the one thing is the winning feeling that this program has had over the past seventeen years. You go back to Jay Wright and Tom Pecora and now me. And we look at the program and Hofstra's never up and down where they've had a few bad years, they've always had a good program and I wanted to go to a place that had a good established program with people that are committed and that was all found here.
MS: Where do you see Hofstra competing with the teams at the CAA's?
TW: I have no idea. I don't know the league well enough. If I were to answer that question I'd be totally lying to you and I don't know the league well enough yet, I don't know the personnel, I don't know who guys have signed, I don't know who we've signed or who we're going to have. All I know is that the league is very good. I know George Mason has a young team. To make predictions in April is not smart because I don't know the league well enough. I'll be able to tell you a lot more when we get into October and that's what is most important.
MS: Have you seen enough of Charles Jenkins to be able to kind of envision what he can be his senior year?
TW: He's always been a great player and I think he can even be greater. The one thing he's done is that he's such a tremendous worker that he has improved his game every year. He's improved every piece of his game and from what I see he is on the path to do that again. He doesn't have a big head, it's not about himself, he's a hard worker and a winner first and that means he is going to get better and better and better. He will expand his game more and more until a point next year where I think he can be a terrific NBA prospect. Everyone will be looking at him his senior year and he's put up unbelievable numbers and he is deep into the radar of the scouts to follow for a great senior year which will help him as well not only for his individual work ethic, but hopefully will help the development of the younger guys like Chaz and Halil and hopefully getting them better.