Hofstra head coach Mo Cassara talks to his team from...

Hofstra head coach Mo Cassara talks to his team from the sideline. (Dec. 1, 2012) Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Hofstra will let the legal process unfold before deciding the status of four suspended basketball players who were arrested Thursday and charged with burglary of campus dorm rooms, coach Mo Cassara and athletic director Jeff Hathaway said Saturday night.

"With an ongoing investigation, I don't know how it's going to end," Cassara said after his team, reduced to nine scholarship players, lost at home to Southern Methodist, 73-47, and fell to 3-5. "There's nobody who feels worse, that has slept less, that is more devastated about this than me. There's nobody that's more disappointed, almost heartbroken in many ways. But we're going to keep working hard. That's all we can do."

Nassau police said the four players -- sophomore Shaquille Stokes and freshmen Jimmy Hall Jr., Dallas Anglin and Kentrell Washington -- admitted stealing more than $10,000 worth of laptop computers, iPads and other items from fellow students. The university immediately suspended the four from classes and the team. Stokes and Hall were starters.

Cassara said all of his players receive instruction on how to behave as student-athletes. "That's part of their job, part of what they are required to do. It's part of what we talk about," he said. "I talk to our guys all the time about being in the right place, doing the right thing, conducting themselves the right way. My staff, myself, we take every opportunity when we recruit kids to meet them, meet their families, meet the people around them, people that support them. That's part of our job and we do it to the best of our ability. I'm incredibly disappointed."

Hathaway was asked about the timeline for issuing scholarships to four new players should the university decide against letting the accused players return. "I have no idea of the legal process at this point and what the duration is," he said, "so it would be irresponsible for me to comment on that."

Player-related issues for the basketball team started even before this season when Cassara suspended transfers Jamal Coombs-McDaniel and Taran Buie for the first two games for an unspecified violation of a team rule. Coombs-McDaniel, a forward, has been sidelined with an injury but might make his debut within a week, Cassara said. Buie, a guard from Penn State, has been elevated to a starter. He had 10 points against SMU.

Cassara was signed to a four-year contract in May 2010 as the successor to Tim Welsh, who resigned after a DUI arrest. Cassara was Welsh's assistant. Welsh had been on the job for only a month after being named to replace coach Tom Pecora, who left for Fordham.

After Cassara went 21-12 in his first season, the university announced that he had been given a raise and extension through the 2015-16 season.

Hofstra slipped to 10-22 last season. Bryant Crowder, a 6-10 transfer, was suspended for unspecified reasons and eventually left the team.

Hathaway has no issues with Cassara's recruiting of players, saying, "Since I arrived in June, Mo and other coaches have met numerous expectations for student-athletes."

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