The Hofstra men’s basketball team will begin its quest for a trip to the NCAA Tournament this Friday, when the Pride will open up the 2016-17 season at the Mack Sports Complex against Coppin State.
There will be a new face on the sidelines as the Pride gets ready to take the court for the first time since a last-second defeat at the hands of George Washington University in last spring’s National Invitational Tournament (NIT).
Hofstra welcomed Lamar Barrett back to the staff in June as a new assistant coach, replacing Akbar Waheed.
Waheed left the Pride after one season, accepting an assistant coaching position at the Georgetown University.
Since arriving on campus, Barrett has been hard at work acclimating to his new position. “I started here in June, and working out with the guys in the summer has been a huge help,” Barrett said.
Barrett comes to Hofstra after three seasons as an assistant coach at Old Dominion University.
As a coach on the Monarchs, Barrett helped guide Old Dominion to an NIT semifinal berth, as well as a victory in last year’s inaugural Vegas 16 Tournament.
The fast-paced, high-volume offense of the Pride is a stark contrast to Barrett’s team at Old Dominion, where gritty, defensive-minded play was the norm.
Still, Barrett has been adjusting well, since his arrival this summer, to this new style of basketball and he’s looking forward to seeing the Hofstra offense in action.
“Coming from a place where we only had 65 possessions, to 75 possessions here … it’s a big difference,” Barrett said.
The Monarchs went just 5-25 in 2012-13, before improving by 13 games to finish 18-18 in Barrett’s first season on the coaching staff.
In Barrett’s final two seasons on the Monarchs’ staff, the team posted 27 and 25 wins, in 2014-15 and 2015-16 respectively.
Barrett also coached at American University and Brown University, amongst many other schools.
After a season that saw the Pride come up just a few baskets short of its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 15 years, Barrett’s experience and stellar win-loss record couldn’t come at a better time.
Barrett likes the potential he’s seen in the Pride lineup since the five months he has been at Hofstra.
With a good amount of new faces to mix in with returning veterans, like Brian Bernardi and Rokas Gustys, Hofstra has a lot to look forward to as Barrett assumes his coaching responsibilities this fall.
“I like the competitive edge everyone has in practice,” Barrett said. “Besides Rokas Gustys, who’s probably the only sure guy out there, everyone else is competing for a spot.”