Shaquille Stokes returned home to New York to continue his college basketball career. And he felt tremendous playing near his home.
The return of Stokes to his native land proved a success after spending his freshman year at the University of Hawaii and a very successful high school career.
The occasion at Hofstra University in Hempstead, Long Island marked the 2k Sports Classic round robin format of six teams benefitting the Wounded Warrior Projects.
Stokes scored only nine points, including one of four from long range out, and assisted twice in 28 minutes against South Dakota State. However, the one shot from long range out broke a 63-63 tie with less than three seconds left, an outside shot for the game winning basket.
“I just wanted to put the ball in the hole,” he said.
The third game of the season marked a successful home coming for him after his team lost two games on the road. Hofstra went on to win the ‘Classic,’ with games against the District of Columbia and Marshall on three successive games.
As a college freshman during the 201l-2012 season, the 5-10 guard started 12 games at the University of Hawaii but got into 30 contests overall. He turned in a noteworthy season with tremendous statistics.
He then transferred to be nearer to home, because his grandmother was sick. He wanted to be close to her.
“I grew as a player this year,” said Stokes while talking about his sophomore campaign as compared to last season. “I want to be involved more as a leader. The coaching staff (at Hofstra) helped a lot here. I was happy that I transferred from Hawaii to Hofstra.
Head Coach Mo Cassara has been indeed satisfied with his team, which won three straight games to end the week, individually including with Stokes. He has been starting or coming off the bench in the contests in the backcourt.
“We have a deep team and do a lot of guard things (plays),” said Cassara. “We have a long season… After losing the first two games as we struggled, this was a great win for us. Credit goes to the guys. We are playing a lot of new faces.”
Stokes, a resident of Harlem in Manhattan, and competing in leagues in that area, starred at Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, where he became a three-year starter. He was part of a team that either won a championship or came close to winning a title in the Public Schools Athletic League.
Stokes played at a school that produced Stephon Marbury, Sebastian Telfair and Lance Stephenson, into the National Basketball Association. Stokes competed on a team that was coached by Tiny Morton, who produced many great players at Lincoln.
“Now a lot of people can come and watch me play,” Stokes said. “I’ll keep working hard and hopefully, it’ll show up on the court and also in the classroom.”