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With Guard Play at the Helm, Claxton has Rebuilt Hofstra’s Roster through the Portal

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Since taking over as the head coach of the Hofstra men’s basketball program in 2021, under Speedy Claxton the Pride have quickly become known nationally for successful guard play.

Much of that is due to the work of Claxton and his staff in the transfer portal, bringing in two-time CAA Player of the Year Aaron Estrada during that 2021 offseason before he passed on the reins to 2023/24 CAA Player of the Year Tyler Thomas.

With Estrada departing for Alabama in the summer of 2023, both he and Thomas are now beginning their professional careers while several other key Hofstra contributors entered the portal this offseason.

As Claxton and Co. looked to rebuild this roster, the Pride have now acquired six high level transfer additions to make sure this program doesn’t fall off despite all the offseason turnover in Hempstead, NY.

Here’s a look at all six of Hofstra’s newcomers and how each can play an effective role for the program looking ahead to the 2024/25 season.

Cruz Davis – St. John’s

After a strong freshman season at Iona in which Davis averaged 6.5 PPG, 1.4 RPG and 1.0 APG while shooting 42% from the floor and 32% from three, the 6-foot-3 MAAC All-Freshman selection followed head coach Rick Pitino to St. John’s.

Although he didn’t feature much in the Big East, going on to make just four appearances during the 2023/24 season, Davis hit the portal and was Claxton’s first offseason transfer addition.

Undoubtedly two seasons of learning from a legendary coach in Pitino and one year of experiencing the high-major level at St. John’s will aid Davis development. While Claxton, who Pitino raved about back in December, has become one of the nation’s premier coaches at developing guard talent and could eye Davis as his next big project.

 

Jean Aranguren – Iona

Despite only being a freshman, the Valencia, Venezuela native was highly effective on both ends of the floor last season, averaging 8.1 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 1.8 APG and 1.1 STLPG while shooting 48% over 33 appearances.

According to KenPom.com, Aranguren had the 17th best offensive rating in the MAAC, finished top-25 in assist rate in conference and nationally ranked 228th in steal percentage. The intangibles are there to develop a high-level two way player given Aranguren’s multiple seasons of eligibility remaining.

Notably, he managed 12 points, eight boards, four assists and three steals in Iona’s December 6 loss to Hofstra pictured above, which certainly caught the addition of the Pride’s coaching staff.

Again Claxton, a former Hofstra guard himself who spent eight seasons in the NBA, has a knack for developing guards and at 6-foot-3 expect Aranguren to be an important piece of this rebuilt backcourt moving forward.

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