By Joe Pantorno, Sports Editor
Being a point guard in basketball means being a court commander. One must know every player on the team's preferences and run the offense smoothly. The Hofstra women's basketball team has had that the past four (minus one red shirt season) years with senior guard Candice Bellocchio, but with her last season almost here, Hofstra has had to look ahead in finding the point guard of the future -- Andreana Thomas.
Along with the coaching staff, there will be responsibility for Bellocchio in helping develop this newcomer into the team, especially one as highly touted as Thomas.
With the arrival of any talented player in any given sport, there might be a case of clashing egos between the old regime and the fresh faces, but Bellocchio and Thomas have sparked a valuable relationship and friendship that has helped this team on and off the court.
"She's my Pride sis and I love her," said Thomas. "We have dinner together, we go over her sister's house, we do team events, if I need to go shopping for anything she's there, when I need to find a best restaurant around she's there, she's always there to talk to if I need her, she's always there to support me and she will always be the sister that I never had."
"I've really become a mentor to her and it is really cute. She really looks to me for advice," said Bellocchio. "It's something that I haven't had so I forget what it means to look up to an older guard and expect them to teach me the ropes and to actually have someone like Andreana who wants to learn quickly and whose going to need to be on the floor to help us out is great. It's great to have her and I look forward to showing her the ropes and passing off the torch."
Thomas, who is the epitome of A student of the game, emulates what she sees in practice from her more experienced teammates. Though she has had to assimilate to a new system, she is taking it in stride.
"The other day we were doing a drill and I had messed up and did a fancy behind the back pass and then Dre [Thomas] comes up and does it too and coach was like ‘you see!? They're all looking up to you,' and it was really cute because it actually showed that they do look up to me."
"She tells me what to do, what not to do, how to do it, how coach likes things, how our teammates like the ball to be passed to them," said Thomas. "I believe if it wasn't for Candice, I wouldn't have such a great role model coming in and I would be completely lost."
Bellocchio and Thomas' teammates and coaches also see the relationship that these two guards have with each other.
"Andreana and Candice butted heads in a good way, competing hard on the floor," said head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey. "And now these two are inseparable."
"It's like big sister, little sister, only they're both 5'3 joked senior guard Nicole Capurso. "You look at them talking to each other and you can tell that Andreana can't take enough in and we tease her because it's like monkey-see, monkey-do and I think that's a great quality for a younger freshman point guard to have because she wants to know everything."
Being a freshman going into college is a nerve-racking experience for any person including athletes, but this team took in Thomas like one of their own.
"I love my team," said Thomas. "I would die for them, I would kill for them. I mean come on! I have a U.S.A. player on my team [junior forward Shante Evans] it doesn't get any better than that. I love my team, I love this coaching staff, I love my school."
The Pride realizes just how talented and valuable Thomas will be to this team.
"I've been talking her up. She better live up to her word," said Capurso. "She's amazing. She's a good player, she's funny, and she's a great time to be around. She's a little spark plug and it shows in the way she plays and her desire to be out there."
"I think she's going to live up to her hype," said Bellocchio. "She's a great guard, she fits our system perfectly. I'll try and do my job as best as possible and get her contributing as early as possible."