Hofstra takes another hit as knee issues end Jamal Coombs-McDaniel’s season

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The hits just keep on coming for Mo Cassara and the Hofstra Pride.

After getting through a November that was capped by the dismissal of four players due to their arrest on charges of burglary, December won’t close well either as it was reported by Jeff Goodman of that junior forward Jamal Coombs-McDaniel will miss the remainder of the season due to lingering knee problems.

Coombs-McDaniel, a reserve on Connecticut’s 2011 national championship team, was expected to be an impact transfer alongside Penn State transfer Taran Buie entering the 2012-13 season but that never materialized as the Boston native never took the floor for the Pride.

Add in Hawaii transfer Shaquille Stokes being one of the four players dismissed from the team and Buie (15.3 ppg) is the lone transfer making his Hofstra debut in 2012-13 that remains. Also dismissed from the program in late November were freshman Jimmy Hall, the team’s leading rebounder at the time, Kentrell Washington and Dallas Anglin.

Sitting at 3-8 with a game against Tulane on Saturday, Hofstra has struggled mightily on the offensive end of the floor as they’re averaging just 63.9 points per game. And in the Pride’s last six games, all losses, they’ve managed to score more than 57 points just once (88-84 loss to LIU Brooklyn).

The 6-7 Coombs-McDaniel, who was a very good scorer in high school at the Tilton School, was expected to given Cassara a much-needed offensive option upon his return to the court. But that isn’t going to happen, and will ultimately keep Hofstra down in the lower region of the CAA standings.

With teams such as Drexel (3-7), Delaware (3-8) and Old Dominion (1-10) off to slow starts, year one after the departure of VCU has not been a good one for the CAA.

Just two teams (William & Mary and George Mason) have above .500 records currently, and with Towson, UNCW (both for APR issues), Georgia State and ODU (those two are joining new conferences) ineligible for the conference tournament who knows what will happen in March.

But with their severely depleted roster, it’s difficult to see a Hofstra team that’s down to seven scholarship players being able to take advantage of the situation and grab the CAA’s automatic bid.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.