March 8, 2010
That thud you heard over the weekend? No, not the body blows landed in the war between ABC and Cablevision. I’m talking about the sound of the Long Island men’s college basketball season coming to an abrupt end.
Stony Brook, Hofstra, C.W. Post, Old Westbury and USMMA each lost in postseason play over the span of 24 hours. And yet to dwell on the losses would miss the point. Each school laid the foundation for strong runs in 2011.
USMMA (24-5) lost in the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament on Saturday night, falling to Franklin & Marshall, 73-64. It was the best season by the Mariners since the 2003 team also reached the NCAA Tournament. And when you consider three of the top four scorers return, led by former Holy Trinity guard Jon Snead, the Mariners look good.
Stony Brook suffered a deflating loss on Sunday in the semifinals of the America East Tournament. The Seawolves could not overcome an early hole and fell to Boston University, 70-63, in Hartford. The Seawolves (22-9) are not done yet. By virtue of winning the regular season conference title, Stony Brook will get an invite to the NIT. And considering where the program was just a few years ago, reaching the postseason is quite a feat for coach Steve Pikiell and Co. He’s got the program headed in the right direction.
Hofstra played heroically against second-seeded Northeastern Saturday night in Richmond. Yet the Pride lost, 74-71, in double overtime in the quarterfinals of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament. Junior guard Charles Jenkins, the CAA player of the year, led the way with 24 points. Hofstra (19-14) had won 10 of its last 11 until Saturday. An exciting cast returns in 2011, led by the explosive Jenkins. So expect the Pride and coach Tom Pecora to build on its strong finish.
Perhaps no team faced a more agonizing end than C.W. Post (23-6). The Pioneers fell in the title game of the East Coast Conference Tournament on Sunday, losing to Bridgeport, 70-61. Not only were the Pioneers denied a repeat, but were shut out of the NCAA Division II Tournament and saw their 43-game home winning streak snapped. Ouch! Like the aforementioned programs, coach Tim Cluess has a great core returning. So look out.
Top-seeded Old Westbury (21-8) lost in the semifinals of the ECAC Metro Tournament on Saturday, dropping an 88-81 decision to Baruch. That came on the heels of a tough loss to Purchase in the title game of the Skyline Conference Tournament one week earlier. Despite the rough landing, the Panthers are sure to bounce back under the direction of veteran coach Bernard Tomlin.
Five programs. Five losses. Yet there are plenty of positives to salvage from the wreckage. This was as thrilling a college basketball season Long Island has seen. But believe me, even greater things await in 2011.
Blog originally posted at LI Pulse.com
March 1, 2010
They call it March Madness for good reason. The Long Island winter sports season has reached critical mass. There is no shortage of events this week (March 1-7) with championships on the line. Here is Long Island Pulse magazine’s day-by-day rundown of the most significant:
High School Boys Basketball
Half Hollow Hills West vs. Longwood (Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. @ Farmingdale State): No. 1 Half Hollow Hills West (21-0) routed Bay Shore, 96-48, in the Suffolk Class AA semifinals on Sunday. The highly-touted Harris brothers put on a show. Tennessee-bound Tobias Harris had 21 points in three quarters while junior Tyler Harris scored 23. Hills West, ranked 24th in the nation by USA Today, goes for its second county title in three years. In the other semi, Longwood (19-2) scored 51 second-half points to race past Lindenhurst, 79-62. The second-seeded Lions are the undefeated League I champs, a rarity for the black-and-blue league. Longwood, in the county final for the second straight year, last won the Suffolk crown in 2000, when it lost in OT of the state title game to Ben Gordon and Mount Vernon. Longwood’s Dennis Terry is a great coach, but it’s asking a lot to draw up a game plan to take down such a complete team in Hills West. It’s a small gym, so get there early. Admission $6.
Hofstra vs. Georgia State (Friday, 6 p.m. @ Richmond Coliseum): No team is hotter than Hofstra (18-13, 10-8), which enters the Colonial Athletic Association first round game as the No. 7 seed and winners of nine of its last 10 games. The Pride beat Georgia State, 87-74, to close out the regular season and draws a rematch here. Then it becomes a battle of endurance. Second-seeded Northeastern awaits the winner in a quarterfinal on Saturday at 6 p.m. If the Pride can keep winning, its semifinal is 5:30 p.m. Sunday with the CAA title game on Monday night.
High School Track and Field
State Track and Field Indoor Championships (Saturday, 9 a.m. @ Cornell University in Ithaca): It’s two meets in one and an adrenaline rush of a day. Public School and Federation titles will be awarded at historic Barton Hall. Garden City senior Emily Menges is the defending state champ in the 1,000 meters. With Menges running a leg, the Trojans should also be a factor in the 4 x 800 relay. The Northport girls will give chase. Roslyn senior Emily Lipari won the 1,500 a year ago and goes back as the Nassau champ in the 3,000 and 1,500. North Babylon’s Vanessa Stewart has a chance in the shot put. Connetquot senior Amy Cheung, who took third in the 1,500-meter racewalk last season, will challenge. On the boys side, Riverhead senior Mike Smith is the defending champ in the shot put and North Babylon senior Berfrantz Charles returns one year after finishing second in the 55 meters. If you’re driving, leave early to avoid bad conditions. The road to Ithaca can be treacherous.
America East Tournament quarterfinal (Saturday, noon @ Chase Arena in Hartford): Despite tripping up in a loss Sunday to lowly New Hampshire, Stony Brook University (21-8, 13-3) earned the top seed and a bye in the America East Tournament. The Seawolves face Thursday’s Albany-UMBC winner on Saturday. The semifinal is 5 p.m. Sunday. And if Stony Brook can advance to the title game, it will play March 13 at home. But the bigger question: After getting drilled, 77-55, on Sunday to snap its 10-game winning streak, can Stony Brook refocus?
High School Boys Basketball
Uniondale vs. Baldwin (Saturday, 6:30 p.m. @ SUNY-Old Westbury): This has emerged as the premier rivalry in Nassau hoops. Top-seeded Uniondale (15-3) got past Hempstead, 52-45, in a Nassau Class AA semifinal while No. 2 Baldwin (17-2) outlasted Farmingdale, 47-31. Uniondale, the defending Long Island champ, won Nassau titles from 2002-06. Senior guard Bolade Akingboye is the lone returning starter from last season. Uniondale and longtime coach Tom Diana have been getting it done with a young cast of freshmen and sophomores. Baldwin, under coach Darius Burton, plays stifling defense. The Bruins’ last loss came in December to Uniondale, 67-64. And its last county title, in 2008, came at the expense of Uniondale. That’s right, these teams have a complicated history. Admission $6.
East Coast Conference Tournament semifinal (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. @ C.W. Post): C.W. Post (22-5, 18-3) finished the regular season tied with Bridgeport atop the East Coast Conference and is ranked 10th in the East Region. It needs to win the ECC Tournament to qualify for the NCAA Division II Tournament. Luckily, the second-seeded Pioneers get a first-round bye and host the conference tournament. The title game is Sunday.
Blog originally posted at LI Pulse.com
February 22, 2010
We’re headed down the stretch of the most exciting and relevant college basketball season Long Island has ever seen. Jason Molinet and LI Pulse.com take a look at each Long Island men’s basketball team and its March outlook:
Stony Brook (20-7, 12-2; RRI: 142): The Seawolves, winners of nine straight, are enjoying their best season – by far – as a Division I program and have all but locked up their first trip to the postseason. The only question? NCAA Tournament bid or NIT. The game of the decade for the Seawolves is Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. Stony Brook hosts second-place Vermont (21-8, 11-3). The game will be televised on MSG Plus. Stony Brook, which beat Vermont, 65-60, last month, can lock up the regular season conference title with a victory. The title also ensures an NIT bid and gives the Seawolves serious confidence heading into the America East Tournament March 4-7 in Hartford (with the title game on ESPN2 March 13 at noon at the higher seed). Give coach Steve Pikiell his due for bringing in young talent and leading them down the winning path. The lone senior in the lineup, Muhammad El-Amin, has been playing lights out basketball for a month now.
Best Case: Winning the America East Tournament gives Stony Brook an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. Prediction: Seawolves go 25-8 and lose in the first round of the NCAAs.
Hofstra (16-13, 8-8; RPI: 157): After struggling through the first half of its Colonial Athletic Association schedule, Hofstra has rebounded in a big way, winning four in a row and seven of its last eight. The latest was a 92-89 overtime win over Rider on Sunday. Guard Charles Jenkins (profiled in LI Pulse magazine’s February issue http://www.lipulse.com/sports-wellness/article/pride-and-passion ) led the way with 31 points and leads the conference in scoring at 20.1 ppg. And Hofstra coach Tom Pecora earned his 152nd career win, tying Paul Lynner (1962-72) for the second most in school history. The Pride closes out the regular season at home on Saturday, Feb. 27 at 4 p.m. against Georgia State. The CAA Tournament begins March 5 in Richmond. There is no shot at an NIT bid. The only way to extend the season is to win the CAA Tournament – and that’s not impossible with a prolific scorer in Jenkins.
Best Case: Hofstra is locked into the No. 7 seed and will play the No. 10 team in the first round of the CAA Tournament. The winner gets the No. 2 seed. Prediction: The Pride finishes 18-15 with second-round loss in CAA.
C.W. Post (20-5, 16-3): One year removed from a run to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division II Tournament, C.W. Post has the look of a contender once again. Coach Tim Cluess has done it with an entirely retooled roster. The Pioneers’ 79-50 win over Molloy on Saturday locked up the program’s third-straight 20-win season and extended their home winning streak to a remarkable 41 games. C.W. Post is one game behind Bridgeport (20-7, 17-2) in the East Coast Conference. Aaron Hall (16.7 ppg) is third in the conference in scoring and 6-7 Serb Nemenja Jokic (7.7 rpg) is second in rebounding. The Pioneers close out the regular season at Queens College on Saturday, Feb. 27. Good news: The Pioneers host the ECC Tournament March 4-7. They’ve already locked up a first round bye. The only way to guarantee an NCAA Tournament bid is to win the ECC Tournament.
Best Case: Cluess-coached teams win the games they are supposed to. Prediction: C.W. Post wins the ECC Tournament and advances a round or two in the NCAA Division II Tournament to close out the season at 26-6.
Adelphi (18-10, 11-10): The Panthers are currently tied for eighth place in the 16-team Northeast-10 Conference. Adelphi opened the season 14-1 and ranked 25th in the Division II poll. And then? Eight losses in 10 games. Adelphi closes out the regular season Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m. against New Haven. The Panthers do play great defense for longtime coach James Cosgrove. And Copiague’s do-it-all Richard Byrd has been impressive, leading the team at 19 ppg.
Best Case: Adelphi claims the No. 7 or 8 seed and a home game in the conference tournament, which begins Feb. 27 at the higher seed. The good news is the Panthers have proven they can play with top seeds Bentley and Stonehill, their likely quarterfinal draw. Prediction: 20-11.
USMMA (21-4, 12-2): Kings Point claimed the regular-season title in the Landmark Conference. The Mariners play a conference tournament semifinal on Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. against No. 4 Susquehanna. Coach John Krikorian’s team has the highest scoring margin in the conference (14.5 points) and is second in rebound margin at 5.7. Former Holy Trinity star Jon Snead is the leading scorer.
Best Case: The Mariners have dominated the Landmark Conference. Two more wins and they earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament (a first for the three-year-old Landmark Conference). Prediction: 23-5.
Old Westbury (19-6, 17-3): Ranked 36th in the latest NCAA Division III poll, the Panthers clinched the Skyline Conference regular season title and are 11-0 at home. Not bad for a 12-15 team a year ago. Veteran coach Bernard Tomlin has a lineup featuring four players in double figures, led by Hakiem George and Mepham’s Lester Prosper (second in the Skyline with 8.7 rpg). Shane DeNully leads the conference in assists (6.09). The Panthers earned a first round bye in the Skyline Conference Tournament, which begins Tuesday, Feb. 23.
Best Case: Old Westbury will host a Skyline semifinal on Thursday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m., facing the winner of No. 5 Farmingdale State at No. 4 Maritime. Two wins and the Panthers are in the NCAA D-III Tourney. After that, who knows? Prediction: 21-7
St. Joseph’s (17-8, 16-4): St. Joe’s of Patchogue clinched second place in the Skyline Conference and has won six in a row, including a 49-48 win over Old Westbury. Coach John Mateyko won 24 games a year ago and 21 in 2008, so the Eagles know how to get it done. In fact, the team actually won 20 games this season. But St. Joe’s was forced to forfeit three early-season wins due to an ineligible player. Former St. Anthony’s teammates Chris Jimenez and Shahab Syed lead the way.
Best Case: The Eagles await the winner of Purchase-Yeshiva in the semifinals of the Skyline Conference Tournament on Thursday, Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m. And then, a likely title-game showdown with Old Westbury. The teams are 1-1 this season. Prediction: 18-9.
Farmingdale State (13-12, 13-7): The Rams are treading water in fifth place in the Skyline Conference. Farmingdale State went 110-35 (.759 win percentage) from 2005-09, including a magical 27-4 run a year ago. That pretty much sums up coach Erik Smiles’ wildly successful tenure. But the program’s streak of three trips in four seasons to the NCAA D-III Tournament is in doubt. West Hempstead’s Shehee Martin leads the team.
Best Case: This season is a disappointment for the Rams. No. 5 Farmingdale State travels to No. 4 Maritime for a Skyline Conference Tournament quarterfinal on Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. Prediction: 14-13.
Molloy (11-15, 9-9): The Lions, in a tight race for fourth place in the East Coast Conference, close the regular season with three straight games at home, culminating Saturday, Feb. 27 at 3 p.m. against Dowling. Coach Charles Marquardt has a weapon in Elmont’s Brian Hutchinson. He’s an inside force, fifth in the ECC in scoring and tops in rebounding.
Best Case: A first round win in the ECC Tournament is realistic. Not much else. Prediction: 15-16.
NYIT (12-14. 9-10): The Bears are currently fifth in the ECC, with a shot at fourth place. They play their final home game Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 7:15 p.m. against Dowling. California JUCO transfer Jerrell Walker leads the team in scoring.
Best Case: It’s been an up and down season for coach Sal Lagano. Better luck next year. Prediction: 14-15.
Dowling (8-19, 6-13): Losers of six of its last eight in the ECC, Dowling is fighting just to qualify for the conference tournament. Games against NYIT and Molloy remain. Senior David Seagers has carried the load.
Best Case: Coach Steve Hayn’s team has lost eight games by four points or less. Dowling needs to learn how to close out games, but that’s a lesson for next season. Prediction: 8-22.
Blog originally posted at LI Pulse.com
February 15, 2010
Shante Evans may be the most heralded recruit in the history of Hofstra University. And midway through her freshman season, she’s playing like it.
The 6-foot forward from West Chester, Penn., has transformed the Pride women’s basketball team into a must-see attraction and lifted the program into the thick of the Colonial Athletic Association standings.
The high point came Thursday when Hofstra (14-11 overall, 7-6 CAA) downed then-first place Virginia Commonwealth, 74-66. The Pride has won six of its last nine, dating back to an overtime win over UNC-Wilmington on Jan. 17.
Evans is a rare game changer as a freshman, leading the team, averaging 13.4 points and 8.9 rebounds. She’s shooting 50 percent from the field and has collected more rebounds (223) and double-doubles (10) than anyone else in the CAA.
“I keep hearing from folks who have been around here a lot longer than I have –
folks who have been around 30 years – she could be the best player who ever put on a Hofstra uniform,’’ Hofstra coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey said. “That’s really exciting.”
It’s no surprise. Evans, a 2,000-point scorer and shot put champion at Henderson High School, was the 54th rated prospect in the nation by ESPN, and on Kilburn-Steveskey’s radar since her sophomore year. That long courtship paid off when Evans chose the Pride over Seton Hall, West Virginia, Temple, Drexel, UMass and Penn State.
“Hofstra had everything I was looking for in a school. I was close to home, I loved the team and coaching staff and I would get a good education,’’ said Evans, who is majoring in physical therapy.
And she’s just what the fourth-year coach needed to help take the Pride to the next level. Hofstra, two seasons removed from a 20-loss campaign, went 16-14 a year ago and was upset in the first round of the CAA Tournament.
“Her actions speak more than anything I can say about her,’’ Kilburn-Steveskey said. “She’s the most coachable kid I’ve ever coached. Her eagerness to learn is one of her biggest attributes. She’ll review something on film and you’ll see her work on it that next day in practice or in a game. We haven’t even touched what her ability is going to be by the time she gets out of here.”
The Pride reached the WNIT in 2007, its first Division I postseason appearance. And with Evens already owning the low post and getting better by the day, Hofstra has the foundation laid for another postseason run.
“We are playing good basketball,’’ Evans said. “And on defense [we’re] causing problems for our opponents. I can say we are headed in right direction and we’re only going to get better.”
With five games remaining in the regular season, including a home date Thursday, Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. against George Mason, there’s still room for improvement. The Pride has already proven it can run with the pack. How long will it be before Hofstra leads from the front?
Blog originally posted at LI Pulse.com
February 1, 2010
Title: Pride And Passion: Charles Jenkins carries the Hofstra basketball program—and a weighty past—on his shoulders
Publication: Long Island Pulse magazine
Author: Jason Molinet
Date: February 2010
Start Page: 48
Word Count: 907
Charles Jenkins literally carries a burden on his back. And it has nothing to do with basketball.
The junior guard on the Hofstra University men’s basketball team wears No. 22 in honor of his brother, Kareem Albritton, who in 2001 was shot and killed in Brooklyn at the too-young age of 22.
The violent death of a family member is something you never really get past. Just ask his coach, who understands better than most because he endures the weight of his own loss.
“I’ve talked to him intimately about it,” Hofstra coach Tom Pecora said. “I lost my first wife in a car accident. His brother was killed in a shooting. The point is, it’s how you live your life after that. It’s all about the dash. When somebody dies, the gravestone shows the day they were born and the day they died. It’s all about the dash. What did you do in between that? And I’ve asked Charles, ‘What kind of mark are you going to leave?’”
Jenkins can’t escape his past. He knows this. His coach knows it. All the Hofstra star can do is acknowledge and honor it.
So Jenkins, 20, embraces this fact, melding the tragic with the remarkable. When he became the first sophomore since Chris Mullin of St. John’s University in 1983 to win the Haggerty Award as the New York Metropolitan area’s best basketball player, he used the opportunity to speak about his fallen brother.
“I try to keep it in mind every day I step onto the floor,” Jenkins said. “That’s why I wear the number 22. He died when he was 22. He’s a major influence in my life. I play for him.”
The 6-foot, 3-inch, 220-pound Jenkins plays with a drive that’s transformed him into one of the nation’s top guards and turned Hofstra into a contender. The Pride will challenge for the Colonial Athletic Association title and berth in the NCAA Tournament after going 21-11 a year ago.
It began on the road in November against No. 1 Kansas, the first top-ranked team Hofstra had ever faced. Kansas routed the Pride, 101-65, but the experience proved invaluable.
“There are a lot of tough places to play in the CAA,” Hofstra center Greg Washington said. “But none of them will be like the crowd at Kansas. Drexel and UNC Wilmington—those are hostile environments. But Kansas is a different world. You step on the court and it’s like, ‘This is where Danny Manning played. This where Paul Pierce played.’
[Charles Jenkins] handled it like a man. He kept his head up and was always looking to make a play. 23 points is pretty hard to come by playing the No. 1 team in the country. He earned it.”
Then came a loss to perennial Big East power and 12th-ranked Connecticut, a game that the Pride actually led with 4:15 left.
“I thought that we had them,” said Jenkins, who finished with a game-high 25 points. “I thought we were going to win.”
No one has played a tougher early-season schedule. And facing the likes of Kansas guard Sherron Collins and UConn guard Jerome Dyson, each seasoned seniors with national reputations, Jenkins proved he belonged on the same stage. If Hofstra earns its fifth 20-win season over the last six years, it will be because of lessons learned facing these heavyweights in November.
“We will never play in a tougher environment,” Pecora said. “So for the rest of the year I can use that as a point of reference. ‘We’ve been to Allen Field House. The reason we went there is to be prepared for tonight.’”
Pecora has a disciple in Jenkins. The guard was born in Brooklyn, but grew up in Rosedale near Green Acres mall and starred at Springfield Gardens High School in Queens. St. John’s showed interest, but the Hofstra coaching staff found Jenkins early and developed a relationship that bloomed.
Mining for guards is a Pecora specialty. Coaches fell in love with Jenkins’ physical presence and work ethic. And at a mid-major program like Hofstra, outhustling and outmuscling the big boys is how you win. Jenkins is a hard-driving, physical guard who is a magnet to the basket.
“It makes it easy for you as a coach when your best player is your hardest worker,” Pecora said. “On the court. Off the court as a leader. In the weight room. With everything he does, he’s not only vocal, he leads by example. The guys have no choice but to fall in line.”
Jenkins, an All-CAA player as a sophomore, is the only returning player in the country who averaged at least 19 points, four rebounds and four assists per game last year. And he’s put up similar numbers for the Pride this season.
He became just the second player in program history to crack 1,000 career points as a sophomore and is on pace to finish his career as Hofstra’s all-time leading scorer. But the only statistics Jenkins cares about are wins and losses.
“We’re young and athletic and like to get after it,” Jenkins said. “We can have another 20-win season. It just depends on us.”
As the leader of the Pride, it’s a responsibility on Jenkins’ shoulders. When you consider his weighty past, you realize there’s nothing he can’t handle. Jenkins stares down bigger demons each time he slips on his No. 22 jersey, a reminder that every day is precious.
January 26, 2010
The best Division I men’s basketball program in the Metropolitan area? St. John’s used to own that title – easily. In the era of Lou Carnesecca and even Mike Jarvis, everyone else – from Hofstra to Manhattan – played in the shadows.
And then there was Stony Brook. The Seawolves weren’t even an afterthought. They played in total darkness. An exaggeration, yes. But not far from the truth.
Now here’s another truth: Stony Brook may have the surest path to the NCAA Tournament of any team in the area. The Seawolves improved to 14-7 after a 67-61 win over America East rival Albany on Sunday, Jan. 24, their best start since the 1991 season.
Stony Brook’s growing pains are easy to understand. The Seawolves made the quantum leap from Division III to D-I status in 1999. Steve Pikiell earned America East coach of the year honors a year ago after guiding Stony Brook to a 16-14 season, its best yet.
It’s a far cry from where the Seawolves once languished.
“We were on probation my first two years,’’ Pikiell said. “That sums it up. We had scholarship limitations. We had the lowest GPA in the conference. We had the lowest [Academic Progress Rate] in the conference. We had seven scholarship players. Four ineligible guys. Do I need to go on any more? Not good.”
Now in his fifth season, Pikiell and the Seawolves are on pace for a breakthrough run. Not only are his players winning on the court, but the program has recorded its highest GPA ever. And 19 of 20 players have graduated during Pikiell’s tenure.
“It’s been quite a journey,’’ Pikiell said.
Aside from Iona (15-6), no D-I program in the area has more momentum heading into February. Certainly none is more underrated.
Forget for a moment that Stony Brook has actually played – and lost – to St. John’s and Fordham this season. The Seawolves are making it count where it matters most – conference play. Stony Brook already beat first-place Vermont on the road last week and is 8-1 at home.
Stony Brook leads the conference in scoring margin (4.9), is tied for the lead in steals (7.7) and second in turnover margin (2) and rebound margin (2.7). Collectively, the stats show a team that stresses the fundamentals and plays gritty man-to-man defense.
It’s time to stop overlooking the Seawolves. Stony Brook’s next game is Saturday, Jan. 30 at Pritchard Gymnasium. The women play Hartford at 4 p.m. followed by the men’s game against Boston University at 7 p.m. The school is billing the doubleheader as a “Celebration of Basketball.” The teams will welcome back basketball alumni and salute 1,000 point scorers from the past.
Sophomore point guard Bryan Dougher may join that group someday. He has certainly energized the Seawolves the last two seasons. Even during slumps. His three-pointer with 1:08 left against Albany on Sunday broke a tie at 58 and snapped an 0-for-9 start for the guard.
It’s an infusion of young talent driving the Seawolves. Dougher is one of three sophomores in the starting rotation. And two more are the first subs off the bench.
“It’s been a great class,’’ Pikiell said. “I have the leading rebounder in the conference in Tommy Brenton. He’s been the leading rebounder since day one. The first game of his freshman year he had 16 rebounds. Bryan Dougher is one of the top five scorers in the league and he’s the best three-point shooter in the conference. And I have a big guy in the post in Dallis Joyner who is moving up to the league lead in double-doubles.”
Muhammad El-Amin is the lone senior. And Pikiell has more talent stocked on the roster. Freshman Marcus Rouse scored 17 points off the bench against Albany.
After years of frustration, miscalculation and misfires, Stony Brook men’s basketball matters. We’ll see how much at the America East Tournament from March 4-13 in Hartford. A big finish earns the Seawolves the ultimate reward – a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Blog originally posted at LI Pulse.com
January 12, 2010
This was supposed to be a rebuilding season.
After sprinting to the elite eight of the NCAA Division II Tournament last March before bowing out in OT to the eventual champ, the C.W. Post men’s basketball team wasn’t expected to recover from the loss of six heralded seniors.
Nick Carter, the son of former Knick Reggie Carter, is gone. So too are a pair of point guards – Kevin Spann and Jonathan Schmidt – who first made names for themselves starring in the Catholic league.
This is a much different cast than the one that rolled to a 30-0 start.
And yet C.W. Post is very much alive and kicking after Monday night’s hard-fought 98-85 road win over rival Queens College. After an uneven 3-4 start to the season, the Pioneers (9-4 overall, 5-2 conference) have won six straight and look like contenders again in the East Coast Conference.
Nemanja Jokic, a 6-7 Serbian senior, led C.W. Post with 24 points. Senior guard Roberto Macklin scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half and freshman Jonathan Kohler added 17.
Much to the chagrin of conference and Long Island rivals Molloy, NYIT and Dowling, C.W. Post coach Tim Cluess has this team headed on the right path once again. Post leads the ECC in offense (80.7 points a game), defense (69.5), field goal percentage (.488) and rebound margin (9.4). And Jokic is the conference’s third leading scorer and rebounder.
The Pioneers are 7-0 at home and that edge couldn’t come at a better time. C.W. Post will host first-place Bridgeport (8-5, 7-0) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Pratt Recreation Center.
No, don’t dance on the grave of last season’s historic run. The Pioneers may not win 30 games again, but they are good enough to repeat at ECC champs. Believe it.
Blog originally posted at LI Pulse.com
November 9, 2009
I’ve got a thought your football-shaped brain might struggle to absorb: Basketball season kicks off this week.
I know, I know. Didn’t the Knicks already begin their season of self flagellation in the quest for LeBron months ago? It seems eons longer when you add in the bizarro Stephon Marbury era and other memorable salary clearing moves. Darko Miličić anyone?
For you really hard core New Yorkers, the Nets sans Vince Carter are about as exciting as the New Jersey Turnpike at rush hour. And lest we forget, Syracuse already lost an exhibition game to Division II LeMoyne.
Truth is New York couldn’t be much further from a basketball state of mind. That changes this week when Long Island, hardly a hoops hotbed, becomes the center of attention in the basketball-loving world thanks to two big events.
The first might count as more horror show to this already frightful story. The Hofstra men’s basketball team opens its season on Friday, Nov. 13—that’s always a good omen—against Kansas, the nation’s top-ranked team.
Either way, the Pride can’t lose. This is the highest-ranked team Hofstra has ever faced, and the exposure the program receives can only help. The Pride, coming off a 21-11 season, feature junior guard Charles Jenkins, a natural scorer with a knack for getting to the basket.
This one can’t end badly. A moment in the spotlight, even if it is to play the foil, is an opportunity nonetheless. The game is at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas at 8 p.m. It will air on the ESPN Full Court package on DirecTV. Or you can listen live at GoHofstra.com.
The media glare falls on another Long Islander this week: Half Hollow Hills West hoops sensation Tobias Harris. The 6-8 forward shot up the prep charts in the year since winning a state Class A Federation title at Long Island Lutheran. Harris, of Dix Hills, is considered one of the nation’s top five recruits.
And his journey from unknown scorer as a freshman at Hills to nationally-recognized recruit culminates this week when he signs with a college. The week-long NCAA early signing period begins Wednesday, Nov. 11. The top high school prospects commit amid a frenzy of interest.
Harris has made whirlwind stops at West Virginia, Kentucky, Louisville, Tennessee and Syracuse in the last month. Georgia Tech and Maryland are also on his short list.
But don’t look to Newsday—or even LIPulse.com—for coverage of the Harris announcement. In the age of instant self-reporting, Harris has Tweeted his every move. You can follow the Harris saga at http://www.twitter.com/tobias31.
Blog originally posted at LI Pulse.com