This may have slipped your mind, but this season marks the tenth anniversary of the addition of the four America East teams to the CAA.
For the unwashed, at the turn of century three CAA teams–Richmond, American, and East Carolina–chose to leave the conference, putting the CAA on the brink of extinction. After a toiling summer of heavy negotiations, Tom Yeager announced that Hofstra, Drexel, Delaware, and Towson would immediately join the conference.
There’s much more to that story, but that’s all that matters right now.
So as we get ready to begin the 2010-11 year, CAAHoops thought it important to trace the path of these teams through their CAAHistory. We will start with Hofstra, the program we believe to have made the most impact.
NINE YEAR RECORD: 90-72 in conference, one CAA tournament finals and two semifinals appearances. Three NIT bids, one CBI appearance.
2001-02: 5-13 (10th), 12-20. Lost in CAA Semifinals
2002-03: 6-12 (9th), 8-21. Lost in CAA Quarterfinals
2003-04: 10-8 (6th), 14-15. Lost in CAA Quarterfinals
2004-05: 12-6 (4th), 21-9. Lost in CAA Semifinals, NIT
2005-06: 14-4 (3rd), 26-7 NIT. Lost in CAA Finals, NIT
2006-07: 14-4 (3rd), 22-10 Lost in CAA Quartefinals, NIT
2007-08: 8-10 (8th), 12-18, Lost in CAA Opening Round
2008-09: 11-7 (5th), 21-11, Lost in CAA Quarterfinals
2009-10: 10-8 (7th), 19-15, Lost in CAA Quarterfinals, CBI
ALL CONFERENCE HONORS
Charles Jenkins (2007-08 All Rookie team and ROY, 2008-09 first team, 2009-10 first team and POY, 2010-11 preseason POY)
Greg Washington (2008-09 and 2009-10 All Defensive team)
Halil Kanecevic (2009-10 All Rookie team)
Chaz Williams (2009-10 All Rookie team)
Antoine Agudio (2004-05 All Rookie team, All CAA third team, and ROY, 2005-06 second team, 2006-07 first team, 2007-08 first team)
Loren Stokes (2003-04 all Rookie team, 2004-05 first team and All defensive team, 2005-06 first team, 2006-07 first team and POY)
Kenny Adeleke (2001-02 All Rookie team and ROY, 2002-03 All CAA second team, 2003-04 first team and All defensive team)
Rick Apodaca (2001-02 second team All CAA)
CAAHOOPS BEST THREE PLAYERS
Charles Jenkins, Loren Stokes, Kenny Adeleke
CAAHOOPS FAVORITE NAME FROM PAST
March 2002: Lefty Rick Apodaca pauses at midcourt late in a CAA quarterfinals game against Mason to vomit. After clean up, Apodaca hits a backbreaking three. The 10th seeded Pride upset the second seeded Patriots 82-76 behind 26 points and 8 assists from Apodaca.
March 2006: Made national headlines after being snubbed from 2006 NCAA tournament at large bid. With an RPI of 29 and holding enormous advantages over Air Force in every measure but nonconference SOS, Hofstra went to the NIT quarterfinals (where they lost to ODU) and Air Force lost to Illinois in the NCAA tournament.
December 2009: Announced they were dropping their football program.
March/April 2010: Tom Pecora leaves for Fordham; Hofstra hires Tim Welsh, who resigns one month later after being arrested on suspicion of DWI. Two all freshman team members (Halil Kanecevic, Chaz Williams) transfer out.
IMPACT ON FRONT NINE, LOOKING TO BACK NINE
Hofstra represents exactly why the CAA expanded, for the school: the Pride were a last place team when they entered the CAA, and five seasons later were on the cusp of an NCAA tournament at large berth. However success in the CAA is predicated on building programs, not teams.
The next few years will be interesting to watch as a greater emphasis on basketball is certain to occur. You have to believe that no matter what is said publicly, some of the football money will be earmarked for basketball. After all, the men’s basketball team is now the school’s primary athletics asset. It would be somewhat irresponsible to then not feed it.
On-court performance is also at a juncture. The Pride has a dynamic young coach in Mo Cassara, who brings energy and life to the program. That cannot be underestimated. However the Pride may be a little spoiled–Stokes to Agudio to Jenkins has been an impressive run, but nobody appears to be ready to assume superstar status.
The conference’s vaunted “footprint” in the New York area is still little more than a talking point; however CAAHoops would argue there’s no better place to expand than New York when you’re looking to shed the “southern based league” label. And thinking long term: nobody knows what’s going to happen three or five years from now. It’s far easier to be there and adapt than to start chasing after the fact.