Following a tremendous regular season in which the Hofstra Men’s Basketball team won 25 games and captured the outright Colonial Athletic Association regular season title, the Pride was rewarded handsomely with numerous postseason awards from the conference office, it was announced today. Voting for the postseason awards is done by the league’s head coaches, media relations directors and members of the media.
Hofstra garnered a trio of major awards as Head Coach Joe Mihalich was named the CAA Coach of the Year, senior guard Justin Wright-Foreman earned CAA Player of the Year honors and senior guard Desure Buie picked up CAA Defensive Player of the Year accolades. Wright-Foreman also picked up All-CAA First Team honors, while Buie was named to the All-CAA Third Team and the CAA All-Defensive Team as well. Wright-Foreman is the first unanimous CAA Player of the Year selection since Brett Blizzard (UNCW) in 2003 (head coaches and media relations personnel are not permitted to vote for their own players).
Also earning recognition from the conference office was junior Eli Pemberton (All-CAA Second Team) and graduate student Jacquil Taylor (CAA All-Defensive Team).
Wright-Foreman earns Player of the Year honors for the second consecutive year. He is the first CAA player to receive the honor in back-to-back years since Jerrelle Benimon (Towson) in 2013 and 2014. The last Pride player to achieve this historic feat was Charles Jenkins in 2010 and 2011. Hofstra has won three of the last four CAA Player of the Year awards.
Mihalich is the first Hofstra coach to win CAA Coach of the Year honors since the Pride joined the league in 2001-02. The last Hofstra coach to earn conference coach of the year accolades was Jay Wright in the America East Conference in 2000 and 2001. This marks Mihalich’s fourth coach of the year award as he previously was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1998-99, 2004-05 and 2012-13 while leading Niagara.
Buie is the Pride’s first-ever CAA Defensive Player of the Year honoree. He and Taylor are the Pride’s first selections on the CAA All-Defensive Team since Rokas Gustys in 2016.
Mihalich has guided Hofstra to its most wins since the Pride won a school-record 26 games in 2005-06. The school record of 26 was first established in 1951-52 and tied in 2000-01. It is the second-most games Mihalich has won during his 21-year head coaching career as he captured 26 victories in 2008-09 when leading Niagara.
The nation’s second-leading scorer, Wright-Foreman posted averages of 26.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game during the regular season. He has now scored in double figures in 84 consecutive games, the eighth-longest streak in the history of NCAA Division I, and during the regular season he won an astounding 14 different weekly awards. Named one of five finalists for the Jerry West Award as the nation’s best shooting guard, Wright-Foreman is also a finalist for the Senior CLASS award. Wright-Foreman heads into the CAA Championship with 2,210 career points to rank third all-time in program history.
Buie had a breakout year during the 2018-19 regular season, especially on the defensive end. His knack for huge steals almost-single-handedly changed momentum in numerous games and he led the conference and ranked 14th nationally with 2.5 steals per contest. Buie also averaged 11.1 points, 5.4 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game, while “quarterbacking” the Hofstra offense to near perfection. The fifth-best free throw shooter in the nation, he ranks third in the conference in assists. His 76 steals are the eighth-most in CAA history and the most for a Hofstra player since 1999-2000.
It was another outstanding year for Pemberton, who was rewarded with second team honors after posting 15.6 points per game during the regular season. Strong in all areas of the game, he also added 4.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and nearly a steal a game while picking up a pair of weekly awards this year. Pemberton ranks 13th in the CAA in scoring and 15th in field goal percentage and currently has 1,342 career points to rank 16th all-time in Hofstra history.
A pleasant surprise for the Pride this season after transferring from Purdue, Taylor stepped right in and provided much needed assistance at the center position for Hofstra during the regular season. He was exceptional defensively, averaging 1.7 blocks and 8.6 rebounds per game, while also chipping in with 8.2 points per game. Taylor is second in the CAA in blocked shots and fourth in rebounding. He also shot 72% from the field this season overall and 75% in CAA games.
The top-seeded Pride opens play in the CAA Championship at 12 p.m. on Sunday against the winner of the Towson/James Madison contest. That game will be available on CAA.tv (video) and Pride Productions (audio only).
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