Flash back one year. The Hofstra basketball program was in a dark place. Six players were suspended from the team, with four of them arrested and charged with burglary. The squad that took the court consisted of just four scholarship players.

It is one thing to struggle on the court. To struggle off the court is an entirely different set of problems.

When the 2012-2013 basketball season for Hofstra ended at a dismal 7-25 including 4-14 in the Colonial Athletic Association, it was time for a change. The Long Island university relieved head coach Mo Cassara of his head coaching duties. Less than three weeks later, the Pride decided to bring in Niagara coach Joe Mihalich to bring Hofstra out of the darkness, but he had little to work with.

The rebuilding process, while it is a long one, has clearly started. The Pride already have eight wins on the season, which tops the total from last season with four games remaining. Mihalich has everything to do with where Hofstra stands now, and where they are headed.

He has brought in quality players via transfer that have made an immediate impact. Dion Nesmith and Zeke Upshaw transferred to Hempstead from Monmouth and Illinois State, respectively. They are now the two leading scorers for the Pride, with Upshaw leading the team at 18.7 points per game and Nesmith right behind him with 12.8 points per game.

Upshaw, who makes Hofstra tick, only averaged 1.6 points per game in his three years at Illinois State. While they are excelling, the rest of the team is yet to catch up, but Mihalich believes they will.

“We are waiting through this year and taking our lumps here and there but I think we are getting better all the time,” Mihalich said after Hofstra’s loss to Drexel Sunday night. “I think we have a chance every game. We can’t wait to play Wednesday.”