I remember writing my first iteration of the CAA Power Rankings back on November 19, placing the Hofstra Pride in the fifth slot out of eleven teams. They had just racked up three straight wins led by Taran Buie, including an impressive win over Nate Wolters and South Dakota State. But, while the Jackrabbits of SDSU would end up in the NCAA Tournament, the Pride ended up winning just four games after that three-game streak.
When the season ended, Hofstra fired head coach Mo Cassara, disappointed in his coaching efforts despite him being shorthanded after the crime circle early in the season that involved of his four players.
And now, says Rob Dauster, the Pride have lost their leading scorer, Taran Buie.
So much for "Pride."
Buie, who was a Penn State transfer, has two more years of eligibility after sitting out the 2011-12 season post-transfer. He averaged 12.4 points and 3.6 rebounds, leading the team in scoring among players with a minimum of 10 games played.
This is rough news for a Hofstra program that was already going to be in dire need of points next year. Along with the departure of Buie, Stevie Mejia and David Imes are graduating, taking their collective 19.5 points per game with them. That's more than 31 points per game departing an offense that was already number 333 in the nation. Yikes.
It will be interesting to watch the reactions of Jimmy Hall and Shaquille Stokes after Cassara's firing and Buie's departure. The two, who played only seven games each because of the aforementioned crime circle, were key players in the Pride's hot start. Hall had a shot at making the CAA All-Freshman team as he was averaging 12.7 points and 9.4 rebounds per game, and Stokes brought 10 points per game, albeit on 27.8 percent shooting.
Now, with the basketball program crumbling around them, do they make a move? If so, do they stay in the CAA or elsewhere?
A telling milestone in their respective futures will be when Hofstra fills the head coaching vacancy. When they find the
poor soul right man for the job, he'll have to talk to the players and convince them that what he brings to the table is worth sticking around for.
Even with Hall and Stokes hanging around, however, it's hard to envision a scenario in which the Pride aren't at the bottom of the CAA come March of 2014.