By Kyle Kandetzki – Assistant Sports Editor This is “The Scouting Report”, a new (mostly) online feature from The Hofstra Chronicle where we go in-depth on the Pride’s upcoming opponent. Stats and insight will be provided to help Hofstra fans know what to expect with each coming matchup.
The Hofstra Pride men’s basketball team will have a chance to start over with a completely new roster Friday night at the Mack Sports Complex. Head coach Joe Mihalich will begin his second season with the Pride by taking on the Jacksonville University Dolphins.
THE BASIC INFORMATION: Jacksonville University is located in (where else but?) Jacksonville, Florida, just ten minutes away from EverBank Field where the Jacksonville Jaguars play. The Dolphins play in the Atlantic-Sun Conference.
HISTORY: Jacksonville has made the NCAA Tournament five times, but their last appearance was in 1986. Believe it or not, the Dolphins played in a National Championship Game (!) in 1970, where they would come up short, losing to UCLA. But that was a much different time in NCAA baksetball’s history, and is nearly impossible today (a mid-major can dream, can’t they?). The Dolphins haven’t been in the tourney since joining their current conference. Their biggest recent accomplishment was a regular season A-Sun Title five years ago. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean much in one of the weakest conferences in the NCAA.
LAST YEAR: Jacksonville was unimpressive, going 12-18 overall, and holding an 8-10 record in conference, giving them 7th place in the A-Sun. They lost in the first round of the A-Sun Tournament to the Mercer Bears. That Mercer team only ended up going on to upset Duke in opening round of the NCAA Tournament…no big deal.
THIS YEAR: Along with their typical A-Sun opponents like Mercer and once famous Florida-Gulf Coast, the Dolphins also take on NC State, who Hofstra plays Monday. Other tough opponents include University of South Florida, and the University of Florida Gators, who are ranked 7th in the nation.
THE COACH: JU’s coach is Tony Jasick, who is in his inaugural year with the Jaguars. He was formerly the coach of Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne, a.k.a. IPFW, where he was the Head Coach for three years. The team from the (also Division I) Summit League, went 25-11 last year, and made it to the College Insider Tournament.
LOSSES: The team is not in good shape this year, with a completely different look from a squad that was able to score the 80th most points per game last season. All of their top six scorers from 2013-14 are no longer with the team this season.
The team’s former top scorer Jarvis Haywood averaged 16.6 PPG last year, but won’t completely escape the Pride. Haywood transferred to UNC-Wilmington, a familiar conference opponent for Hofstra. But this years UNC-W matchup will not feature Haywood, due to transfer rules. The Jaguars also lost another scorer who averaged 12+ PPG in Keith McDougald.
The Dolphins not only are rid of most of their scoring specialists, but they also lost their top two rebounders, which will leave them scrambling to replace their entire offensive attack this year.
RETURNING PLAYERS: As I mentioned, their top six offensive weapons are no longer with the team. Their seventh best scorer was J.R. Holder, a sophomore forward who only average 6.6 PPG in his freshman year. He did play in every game, but only started five. One imagines he would be thrust into a starting role this year.
The remainder of their returning players aren’t very exciting either. Junior guard Marcellous Bell is next in line behind Holder for best scorers that returned to the team. The most concerning part of this stat is that Bell only actually played in twelve total games last season, averaging about five points per game.
Guard Jeremy Bogus hasn’t made many contributions to the team, but is the Dolphin’s only senior.
TRANSFERS: Jacksonville’s most glaring issue comes from the fact that seven players are transfers from other teams, and none of them come from any type of NCAA squad. Every player came over from team’s in the National Junior College Athletic Association. I don’t know much about the competition in the NJCAA, but I’d be led to believe that it doesn’t match up to Division I programs. I honestly wasn’t even aware of the NJCAA before writing this article. Many of these NJCAA athletes performed well at their respective former schools, but most, if not all, shouldn’t be able to transfer their play to Hempstead Friday night.
Using their NJCAA stats, the most notable players are: - Junior forward Darius Dawkins, averaged 11 points and 6 rebounds at Coastal Bend College. - Junior forward/center Tim Gill, 10 PPG and 7 RPG at the North Dakota College of Science. - Junior guard Andris Misters, 12 PPG from Latvia, played at Western Texas College.
The team only has two freshman coming to the team, including BJ Edwards who was elected to the All-Florida 3rd team for basketball last year.
THE MATCHUP: If you still need to get to know your Hofstra Pride, check out Nick Mazzarella’s preview here!
This game should be a softball one for the Pride, who will get to build momentum against one of their easiest matchups of the season. Getting a win to start off on should excite Hofstra fans for what could be a highly successful season. For the team itself, they will get to test things out before taking up a hard test against ACC opponent NC State in a few days.
And if they lose…it might be time to look into dipping into the NJCAA for some players next year.
With so many holes and unproven players on the Dolphins, the Pride’s seasoned veterans along with the strong transfer class joining the squad should dominate on both ends of the floor. It should be an easy victory for Hofstra, and maybe we will get to see some highlight reel dunks as the game gets more out of hand?
POSSIBLE STARTING LINEUP: G – Green G - Nesmith F – Tanksley F – Robinson C – Kone
First off bench: G – Brian Bernardi F – Rokas Gustys G – Eliel Gonzalez F/C – Andre Walker
NEXT UP: @ NC State Wolfpack (11/17)