Saturday, February 24, 2018

I'll Be Quirky: Towson

We'll be howling mad if the Dutchmen don't win today and clinch the no. 3 seed in the CAA Tournament!

The Flying Dutchmen’s winning streak hit three games Thursday night, when they never trailed in a rare stress-free (well, except for those of us tracking Justin Wright-Foreman’s double-digit scoring streak) 77-61 win over James Madison. The Dutchmen will look to clinch the no. 3 seed in the CAA Tournament this afternoon, when they host Towson in the Senior Day home finale (sniff). Here’s a quick look back at the win over the Dukes and a look ahead to the Tigers.

Eli Pemberton (22 points, six assists, five rebounds) continued his Loren Stokes-ian late-season run as the Dutchmen led wire-to-wire in a win over James Madison. Pemberton, Jalen Ray (15 points) and Desure Buie (11 points, a game-high seven assists) helped pick up the slack on a night in which Justin Wright-Foreman was limited to a season-low 11 points, including just two in the first 30 minutes. Rokas Gustys added eight points and nine rebounds.

3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. James Madison 2/22)
3: Eli Pemberton
2: Jalen Ray
1: Desure Buie

Justin Wright-Foreman 68
Rokas Gustys 41
Eli Pemberton 36
Desure Buie 10
Jalen Ray 9
Joel Angus 4
Kenny Wormley 3
Stafford Trueheart 1
Hunter Sabety 1

The Dutchmen won a game in which they didn’t trail for the second time this season and the first time since beating Kennesaw State, 75-57, on Nov. 13. The wire-to-wire win was the Dutchmen’s first in CAA play since an 80-67 win over Drexel in the CAA Tournament quarterfinals on March 5, 2016.

Justin Wright Foreman’s streak of double-digit scoring efforts was imperiled Thursday, when he scored just two points in the first half and remained stuck on two points for the first 10 minutes of the second half before he collected nine points in a span of fewer than four minutes. The 11 total points were his fewest in his 51-game streak.

In addition, the two points in the first half were the fewest Wright-Foreman has scored in the first half this season and his fewest since he was held scoreless in just two minutes against Elon on Jan. 12, 2017, when he was still coming off the bench. He was held to fewer than two first half points just one other time in his streak — at the very beginning on Dec. 11, 2016, when he was scoreless against Kentucky. Wright-Foreman has scored at least 10 points in the first half in 26 of his last 51 games.

As you figured out by now, junior guard Justin Wright-Foreman scored at least 10 points Thursday for the 51st straight game, the second-longest streak by a Hofstra player since 1989-90 (as far back as my records go, at least at home). The only player with a longer streak in the last 29 seasons is Charles Jenkins, who ended his career by scoring in double figures in his final 58 games for the Dutchmen. In addition, Wright-Foreman’s streak is the fourth-longest active streak in Division I, per Hofstra SID Stephen Gorchov.

Charles Jenkins 58 straight games 12/12/09-3/15/11*** 
Justin Wright-Foreman: 51 straight games 12/11/16-present
Antoine Agudio 48 straight games 3/6/06-1/17/08****
Juan’ya Green: 43 straight games 11/14/14-12/9/15 
Loren Stokes 41 straight games 2/20/06-3/14/07*** 
Loren Stokes: 34 straight games 1/14/04-1/31/05

***streak ended with the end of the player’s Hofstra career
****Agudio had three DNPs during his streak

Justin Wright-Foreman remained in 16th place on Hofstra’s all-time scoring list Thursday. Entering today, he needs eight points to move past Dave Bell into 15th place and 22 points to surpass Barry White (no, not that one) into 14th place.

14.) Barry White 1,344 (1966-69)
15.) Dave Bell 1,330 (1969-72)
16.) JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN 1,323 (2015-present)
17.) Kenny Adeleke 1,296 (2001-04)
18.) Mike Tilley 1,286 (1963-66)

Justin Wright-Foreman didn’t gain at least one spot on Hofstra’s all-time scoring list Thursday for just the third time in the 14 games he’s played since joining the 1,000-point club on Jan. 7. Here is his ranking following each game:

Elon (Jan. 7): 35th place
Towson (Jan. 12): 33rd place
Drexel (Jan. 14): 32nd place
Delaware (Jan. 19): 30th place
Charleston (Jan. 21): 29th place
Northeastern (Jan. 26): 26th place
Delaware (Jan. 28): 25th place
UNCW (Feb. 1): 22nd place
Charleston (Feb. 3): T19th place
Elon (Feb. 8): 18th place
UNCW (Feb. 10): 18th place
William & Mary (Feb. 15): 18th place
Drexel (Feb. 17): 16th place
James Madison (Feb. 22): 16th place

Justin Wright-Foreman obviously didn’t lead the Dutchmen in scoring Thursday, when his 11 points were tied for third with Desure Buie behind Eli Pemberton (22 points) and Jalen Ray (15 points). It was the third time this season and just the sixth time in the last 47 games — dating back to the beginning of Wright-Foreman’s emergence on Dec. 31, 2017 — that he has not ranked first or second on the Dutchmen in scoring. The first three instances came in consecutive games last January.

1/12/17 vs. Elon: Deron Powers 21-Pemberton 16-Wright-Foreman 14
1/14/17 vs. UNCW: Deron Powers 20-Rokas Gustys 15-Wright-Foreman 13
1/19/17 vs. Towson: Pemberton 26-Powers 19-Wright-Foreman 18
1/18/18 vs. Delaware: Pemberton 21-Desure Buie 20-Wright-Foreman 15
2/15/18 vs. William & Mary: Pemberton 26-Gustys 22-Wright-Foreman 19
2/22/18 vs. James Madison: Pemberton 22-Ray 15-Buie 11-Wright-Foreman 11

Wright-Foreman was last fourth or lower amongst Dutchmen scorers in a single game on Dec. 6, 2016, when his five points off the bench against St. Bonaventure ranked sixth. 

In addition, Thursday marked only the seventh time this season, and the 10th time in the last 47 games that Wright-Foreman has not held at least a share of the team lead in scoring. Pemberton has led the Dutchmen in scoring in eight of those games while Powers held the team lead in the other two contests.

Justin Wright-Foreman enters today ranked fifth in the nation in scoring at 24.1 points per game. No Hofstra player has averaged 25 points per game since 1976-77, when Rich Laurel averaged a school-record 30.3 points per game.

Despite quiet (by their standards) games Thursday night, Justin Wright-Foreman and Rokas Gustys each continued to climb Hofstra’s single-season all-time top 10 list in scoring and rebounding.

With his 11 points, Wright-Foreman increased his season total to 699 points and climbed past Bill Thieben into eighth place on the single-season list. Wright-Foreman has a chance to gain multiple spots today, when he needs four points to surpass Charles Jenkins for seventh place and eight points to climb over Speedy Claxton into sixth place.

6.) Speedy Claxton, 706 (1999-2000)
7.) Charles Jenkins, 702 (2009-10)
8.) JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN, 699 (2017-18)
9.) Bill Thieben, 696 (1955-56)
10.) Steve Nisenson, 681 (1964-65)

Gustys, meanwhile, pulled down nine rebounds to increase his season total to 354 as he climbed past Ed Moore into seventh place. Gustys now occupies the fourth, seventh and 10th spots on the list.

6.) John Irving, 423 (1975-76)
7.) ROKAS GUSTYS, 354 (2017-18)
8.) Ed Moor, 351 (1951-52)
9.) Jim Boatright, 344 (1962-63)
10.) ROKAS GUSTYS, 338 (2016-17)

Rokas Gustys remained in 26th place on Hofstra’s all-time scoring list Thursday, when he scored eight points against James Madison. He needs just three points this afternoon to move past Ted Jackson into 25th place.

24t.) Brian Bernardi 1,186 (2014-17)
24t.) Juan’ya Green 1,186 (2014-16)
25.) Ted Jackson 1,159 (1958-61)
26.) ROKAS GUSTYS 1,157 (2014-present)
27.) Nathaniel Lester 1,139 (2007-12)
28.) Wandy Williams 1,132 (1966-69)
29.) Mike Moore 1,128 (2010-12)

Rokas Gustys’ recent rebounding pace slowed a bit Thursday night, when he pulled down a merely human nine rebounds against James Madison. Gustys, whose 1,287 rebounds are the most by a Hofstra player in the Division I era and the second-most in school history behind only Bill Thieben (1,837), is now 28 rebounds away from surpassing Hall of Famer David Robinson (1,314 rebounds for Navy from 1983-87) as the leading rebounder in CAA history. At his current season average of 12.2 rebounds per game, Gustys would need to play three more games to move past Robinson. The Dutchmen are scheduled to play at least two more games — today’s regular season finale and at least one tournament game next weekend. However, Thursday marked the end of a two-game streak in which Gustys “gained” ground on Robinson, so a 17-rebound game today would put him back on pace to break the mark in the Dutchmen’s CAA Tournament opener.

Sophomore guard Eli Pemberton continued to keep some pretty good company Thursday, when he scored a team-high 22 points against James Madison. Pemberton has 457 points in 25 games this season and 854 points through 57 games in two seasons, a pace that compares favorably with the first 57 games played by the four most recent members of Hofstra’s 2,000-point club: Charles Jenkins, Antoine Agudio, Loren Stokes and Speedy Claxton. Here are their point totals through their 56th game with the Flying Dutchmen:

Charles Jenkins 952 
Antoine Agudio 908
Loren Stokes 904
Speedy Claxton 893

Jalen Ray continued moving up the list of leading Hofstra freshman scorers in the CAA era (2001-present) while Stafford Trueheart joined the 100-point club Thursday.

With his 15 points, Ray moved past Shemiye McLendon into 11th place on the CAA-era freshman scoring list. He is three points away from moving past Nathaniel Lester into 10th place. Trueheart, meanwhile, became the 21st freshman in the CAA era to score 100 points when he opened the game with a 3-pointer. He surged past Moussa Kone with that basket and is seven points away from moving past Woody Souffrant into 19th place. 

Hunter Sabety continued to take advantage of his limited playing time Thursday, when he was 1-for-2 from the field in 14 minutes against James Madison. The effort actually lowered Sabety’s field goal percentage this season to 70.6 percent (48-of-68), which would still be the highest percentage for any player in the Defiantly Dutch Era (1993-present) averaging a minimum of two shots per game. Sabety would break his own record, set last year when he shot a nice 69 percent (49-of-71) from the field. Sabety and Rokas Gustys, who shot 66 percent in 2015-16 and is shooting 62.5 percent this season, have registered four of the 11 60-percent shooting seasons by a Hofstra player in the DD era. 

HUNTER SABETY 2017-18 (48-68, 70.6%)
HUNTER SABETY 2016-17 (49/71, 69%)
Moussa Kone 2014-15 (97/144, 67.4%)
Lars Grubler 2002-03 (36/54, 66.7%)
ROKAS GUSTYS 2015-16 (192/291, 66%)
Roberto Gittens 2000-01 (123/187, 65.8%)
Adrian Uter 2004-05 (77/122, 63.1%)
ROKAS GUSTYS 2017-18 (130/208, 62.5%)
Moussa Kone 2011-12 (43/70, 61.4%)
Greg Springfield 2000-01 (70/115, 60.9%)
Wendell Gibson 2003-04 (102/168, 60.7%)

While the Dutchmen’s hopes of earning a top-two seed in the CAA Tournament disappeared Thursday night, they retained sole possession of third place and ensured no worse than the fourth seed with the win over James Madison. 

1.) Charleston 14-3
2.) Northeastern 13-4
3.) HOFSTRA 11-6
4.) William & Mary 10-7
5.) Towson 8-9
6.) Elon 6-10

The Dutchmen will clinch the no. 3 seed with a win today or a loss by William & Mary to Charleston. The Dutchmen will fall to the no. 4 seed — and a potential semifinal date with non-host host Charleston — with a loss and a Tribe win. In that scenario, the Tribe would be the no. 3 seed because they split with top-seeded Charleston. 

Hofstra will provide a video and radio feed of today's game, as well as live stats, at the Pride Productions hub.

While Senior Day is a bittersweet afternoon for players and coaches, the game itself has traditionally been a happy occasion for both the Flying Dutchmen and Joe Mihalich. The Dutchmen are 20-4 in home finales in the DD Era, with the lone losses being absorbed in 1994 (Army won 87-76), 2001 (Towson won 61-60), 2013 (Delaware won 57-56) and last season (UNC Wilmington won 83-76).

In addition, Mihalich is 16-3 in regular season home finales as a head coach. His 10-game winnings streak in home finales was snapped last season. The only other times a Mihalich-coached team lost a home finale were in 2001, when Niagara fell to Canisius, 85-70, and 2006, when the Purple Eagles lost to Manhattan, 82-81.

The Dutchmen will honor their three seniors — Rokas Gustys, Hunter Sabety and Joel Angus III — in a pregame ceremony beginning at 3:50 PM. Check out today’s features on the seniors, hyperlinked at their names. 

The Tigers, under seventh-year head coach Pat Skerry, are 18-12 this season and 8-9 in CAA play. Towson has dropped two straight games, including an 80-75 loss to Northeastern on Thursday, and three of its last four. 

The Dutchmen and Tigers had one common foe during non-league play. The Dutchmen fell to Manhattan, 63-61, in a “home” game at Adelphi on Dec. 20 while the Tigers edged the Jaspers, 56-55, in Northern Ireland on Dec. 2. That was an odd sentence to write. 

In CAA play, the Dutchmen and Tigers have both swept Delaware and Drexel (ECC represent!) and split with UNC Wilmington. The Dutchmen swept James Madison and split Elon and Northeastern, all three of whom swept the Tigers. The Dutchmen split with William & Mary, whom Towson swept, and were swept by Charleston, which split with the Tigers.

The Dutchmen, who were picked fourth in the CAA preseason poll, enter today ranked 157th at The Tigers, who were picked second, enter today ranked 149th at

According to the efficiency rankings at the Dutchmen rank third in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (114.1) and fifth in conference-only defensive efficiency (108.0). The Tigers are fifth in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (110.7) and are fourth in conference-only defensive efficiency (107.0). predicts a 78-74 win by Hofstra. Per the wise guys in Vegas, for entertainment purposes only, the Dutchmen are 5-point favorites. Hofstra is 13-12 against the spread this season.

With a win today, the Dutchmen will complete a perfect season in the ECC, the league Litos won’t acknowledge, as well as clinch the no. 1 seed in the conference tournament, which won’t actually take place because the ECC doesn’t actually exist, you weirdos. Speaking of weird, I won’t figure out if anyone’s gone unbeaten in ECC play in the CAA era because I don’t want to hex it.

Towson 4-1
Delaware 1-5
Drexel 1-5

Hofstra is 40-26 against Towson in a series that began during the 1982-83 season, when both schools were in the East Coast Conference. The Dutchmen won the first game of the season between the rivals in dramatic fashion on Jan. 11, when they came back from a 10-point deficit in the final six minutes and earned a 76-73 victory on Jalen Ray’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Hofstra is looking to sweep the season series for the second time in the last three years.

Hofstra and Towson opposed one another in the ECC and the North Atlantic Conference/America East before moving together to the CAA for the 2001-02 school year. Hofstra has faced only two opponents as often as it’s faced Towson: Longtime conference rivals Delaware and Drexel.

Howling Mad Murdock bias! (Per Wikipedia, which is never wrong, Dwight Schultz went to Towson)
Baltimore Stallions bias! (The Stallions were the only American-based team to win the Canadian football League’s Grey Cup, ha ha, we’ve got that and women’s hockey over you guys!)
Jewish Jordan bias! (Tamir Goodman was supposed to be the Jewish Michael Jordan, but he wasn’t)
Sean Landata bias! (The final former USFL player in the NFL is a Towson graduate)

Senior Day: Rokas Gustys

Rokas Gustys didn’t just embody the best-case scenario for a Hofstra student-athlete by earning two degrees, becoming the first men’s basketball player to graduate under the head coach who recruited him in almost a decade and producing once-in-a-generation numbers.

Gustys, a native of Lithuania who arrived at Hofstra after spending his final two years of high school at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, also served as the poster child for what Hofstra strives to become as it tries to establish itself beyond the New York borders.

“It’s amazing what he’s done for Hofstra,” Joe Mihalich said this week of Gustys, who plays his final scheduled home game this afternoon when the Flying Dutchmen host Towson. “And it’s amazing, I’m proud to say, what Hofstra has done for him.”

Hofstra has spent most of its seven-decade existence attempting to shed its label as a commuter school. While there are tangible signs of progress — 47 states and 76 countries were represented within the undergraduate student body as of last fall — the fact remains locals continue to dominate the demographics. Forty-two percent of the fall 2017 undergraduates were from Long Island and 59 percent were from New York State.

Just six percent of undergraduates and 16 percent of graduate students this year are from overseas. That means Gustys, who posted a 3.19 GPA while earning his bachelor’s in December before beginning a masters in public relations, is among the approximately 260 internationally born graduate students. Back in the fall of 2014, he was among the roughly 350 students hailing from overseas.

The task of adjusting to and thriving in a new home is challenging for every new student, even those who only had to travel a couple hundred miles or less to Hofstra and particularly to those like Gustys, who long ago became accustomed to being on his own.

“He’s a tough guy — he’s got a lot of pride, he deals with stuff in an intense way,” Mihalich said. “He’s kind of been independent for a long time.”

Gustys, whose family watches every game online but has never seen him play at Hofstra, found support systems inside and outside the basketball program. 

“For me it’s easier because I’ve had a girlfriend since my freshman year, so we’ve been together for a long time and her family really supports me and kind of makes me feel like it’s my family,” Gustys said. “Other people — from the (basketball) managers to player to coaching staff — they treat me like family. It’s great. Everybody’s supportive.”

The basketball-watching part of the Hofstra community took note of Gustys in 2014-15, when a solid freshman year (5.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game) offered plenty of hints he could become Hofstra’s best big man since the school joined the CAA. 

“For me, it was (about the) small picture) — we’re going to come here, we’re going to win games, we’re going to have 20-(win) seasons, hopefully win a championship,” Gustys said. “I had a picture for one year after year after year. My goal was coming in here, to try and get two degrees and leave here with a couple rebounds and a couple points.”

He began doing a whole lot more than that as a sophomore, when he produced the finest season by a center since Hofstra moved to Division I. Gustys averaged 13.5 points and 13.0 rebounds per game while putting up 22 double-doubles, including the program’s first two 20-20 games in 33 seasons, for a team that won the CAA regular season crown and fell in overtime of the CAA championship game.

More adjustments were required last season, when the post-Juan’ya Green/Ameen Tanksley Dutchmen finished 15-17 and Gustys missed four games due to injury while averaging “just” 9.2 points and 12.1 rebounds per game.

“Last year, we underachieved so much, it was just hard because we were kind of just getting to know each other,” Gustys said.

Gustys, with Justin Wright-Foreman as his pick-and-roll partner this season, has returned to his sophomore form as a senior. He’s averaging 10.3 points and 12.2 rebounds per game and has 13 double-doubles, including another 20-20 game against William & Mary nine days ago. He recorded his 1,000th rebound on Nov. 25 and his 1,000th point on Jan. 5, joining Bill Thieben and John Irving as the only members of Hofstra’s 1,000-1,000 club.

On Feb. 1, Gustys moved past Irving to become Hofstra’s most prolific rebounder of the Division I era (Thieben’s three-season mark of 1,837, alas, remains out of reach). Entering today, Gustys he is just 28 rebounds away from breaking the all-time CAA rebounding record held by Hall of Famer David Robinson.

“A thousand rebounds is incredible, I’d be lying if I thought he would get a thousand rebounds,” Mihalich said. “I figured he’d get 1,200 points and I figured he’d get eight or nine hundred rebounds. I figured he’d have that kind of career. But he has exceeded, I think, everybody’s expectations, It’s pretty incredible.”

It’s a career missing only one thing, but with a fourth straight victory today, the Dutchmen will clinch third place in the CAA and enter the CAA tournament with legitimate hopes of earning the program’s first NCAA Tournament berth since 2001. 

“My goal from day one was not to break records here or put my name in record books or stuff like that,” Gustys said. “It was, hey, we’ve got to win as a team, go to the NCAA Tournament, get the ring. That was my goal since I came to the United States. In Europe, rings are not a big deal. You get a medal and it’s OK. You won. In here, you (get a) ring and (it creates) a great unity with the team meeting each other after 20 years. It’s special.

“Being a senior, and being with this team, having great players like Justin and Elijah (Pemberton) around me, winning is going to be everything. I don’t know, it’s going to be crazy. I dream about it, going there and cutting those nets down, getting it done where we couldn’t do it my sophomore year.”

Regardless of how the Dutchmen fare in the CAA Tournament, Gustys will have helped build a foundation at Hofstra. Not only is Gustys the first four-year senior to graduate under Mihalich, he’s the first Hofstra player to complete four years under the same head coach since Mike Davis-Sabb, Greg Johnson, Zygis Sestakos and Arminas Urbutis graduated under Tom Pecora in 2009.

Two years ago, Gustys was the only member of the starting five to have spent his whole career at Hofstra. Now, Gustys takes the floor in an entirely homegrown lineup that also features a junior (Wright-Foreman), a couple sophomores (Eli Pemberton and Desure Buie) and a freshman (Stafford Trueheart).

“Everybody else was a transfer and stuff like that, but Rok’s the guy, he’s the model,” Mihalich said. “We’ve got Rok now, he did this. Now Justin’s going to do a similar thing. And then Elijah’s going to do it. He’s the model for all this.”

In more ways than one. The Gustys fans see on the court has symbolized the optimal experience for a Hofstra student, one that progresses imperfectly, even as graduation beckons. The free throws are an adventure, as is defense sometimes, and Gustys was whistled for three technical fouls this season in games that were all decided by six points or fewer (the Dutchmen were 1-2). 

But they have also watched a player do things that may never be done at Hofstra ever again. And come May, when Gustys’ family travels to Long Island for the first time to watch him graduate with a second degree, they will see a son and a brother who traveled nearly 5,000 miles across an ocean to maximize every opportunity he had, on and off the court. 

“Every day wasn’t a bed of roses,” Mihalich said. “We had our ups and downs. He had his injuries to deal with. He had some stretches where he was playing great, some stretches where he didn’t play as good as he wanted to. But that’s life.”

That’s college.

Senior Day: Hunter Sabety

Here is a trivia question that would win you a bar bet near Hofstra, presuming there are any bars left: Which senior member of the Flying Dutchmen basketball team has shot 69 percent from the field or better in each of the last two seasons?

If you said Rokas Gustys, well, we wouldn’t blame you. But the answer is Hunter Sabety, the backup to the once-in-a-generation big man who is producing some pretty impressive numbers and penning a pretty unique story himself.

As the second-stringer to Hofstra’s most prolific center of the Division I era, Sabety, who will be honored along with Gustys and Joel Angus III during Senior Day festivities prior to this afternoon’s game against Towson, doesn’t have enough attempts from the field to qualify for Hofstra’s single-season or all-time leader boards.

But among players who have averaged at least two field goal attempts per game in the Defiantly Dutch Era (1993-present), no one has ever shot as effectively as Sabety, who shot a program-best 69 percent (49-of-71) last season and is at 70.6 percent (48-of-68) entering today’s game.

“It’s fun, because our big guy (and) their big guy (are) playing 30, 35 minutes a game, they’re tired,” Sabety said this week. “I come in, they think they’re getting a break from Rok and I come in, I’m sprinting up and down the court and now he’s even more tired (and) they’ve got to sit out a little bit. So I think it[s fun. Get some dunks, get some blocks, get some fast break layups.”

Indeed, Sabety has been Hofstra’s “Microwave,” its big man version of Vinnie Johnson (Google it, kids). Sabety is averaging just nine minutes a game, fewer than any other scholarship player, but he’s averaging 3.5 points and 2.6 rebounds in the limited duty while collecting 22 blocks, second-most behind freshman Stafford Trueheart.

Sabety had perhaps the biggest rebound of the season Jan. 11, when he wrestled the ball away from Towson’s Justin Gorham to begin a sequence that ended with Jalen Ray’s game-winning buzzer-beating 3-pointer. 

Last Saturday against Drexel, Sabety blocked a shot by Tramaine Isabell to begin a fast break that ended with Eli Pemberton drawing a foul and sinking one of two shots. After the whistle, Sabety wagged his right pointer finger, a la Dikembe Mutombo.

“His big plays are really loud,” Joe Mihalich said.

Without Gustys on the roster, the volume would be amplified on a more regular basis — as Sabety proved during Gustys’ four-game absence last Jan. 28 through Feb. 9, during which he averaged 10.0 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.

“I just feel bad that Hunter plays the same position as Rok,” Mihalich said. “Timing’s everything. Any other time, any other situation, any other scenario, Hunter’s not coming off the floor.”

Sabety was on his way to becoming that guy at Division III Tufts, where he averaged 14.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game his first two seasons. But the Oceanside native decided to transfer to a Division I school and picked Hofstra after playing pick-up games with team members in the summer of 2015. He is the first player to transfer from a non-Division I four-year school since at least 1993.

“I loved everything about Tufts, it was great academically, athletically,” Sabety said of the Boston school, which accepts about 15 percent of high school applicants. “Now I want to challenge myself athletically, while I still can.”

Sabety fared pretty well on the academic side of things at Hofstra — he graduated in December 2016 with a 3.41 GPA and a degree in psychology and entered this semester with a 3.63 GPA while pursuing his master’s degree in finance — while indicating he may not be done searching for athletic challenges.

“Definitely going to test the waters, see if I can go play overseas,” Sabety said. “Think about pursuing a career athletically while my body can still hold up, try to fee it out, get that opportunity, get that experience.”

His head coach, for one, has little doubt Sabety would get more playing time as a pro than he did at Hofstra.

“He can do it, he can do it,” Mihalich said. “There’s no doubt he can have a nice career playing overseas and blocking shots and dunking and all that stuff.”