By Dylan Butler
With the exception of garnering an NCAA Tournament berth, Kenny Adeleke couldn’t ask for more of his freshman season on the Hofstra men’s basketball team.
The Rochdale Village resident started 20 of the Pride’s 32 games, was second on the team in scoring, averaging 13.5 points per game, and was the team’s leading rebounder, averaging 7.8 boards per game.
In recognition of his accomplishments, Adeleke was named the Colonial Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year at the league’s awards banquet last Thursday.
Adeleke led Hofstra with nine double-doubles and led all CAA freshmen in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage (50 percent).
The former Robeson standout’s first collegiate season came to an end Sunday in Hofstra’s 70-54 loss to Virginia Commonwealth in the Colonial Athletic Conference. But Adeleke went out in style, scoring a career-high 26 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds to cap an awesome CAA tournament for the 6-foot-8 forward.
In the Pride’s tournament-opening 72-52 win over Towson Friday, Adeleke had 10 points, six rebounds and three steals. He followed that with a 23-point, eight-rebound performance in Hofstra’s stunning 82-76 upset victory over second-seeded George Mason Saturday.
The loss to Virginia Commonwealth also put an end to former Molloy star Wendell Gibson’s freshman season. The 6-foot-7 forward, who averaged 6.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, had 10 points and five rebounds in 14 minutes off the bench against VCU. He also had nine points and team-high nine rebounds in the George Mason win.
Former CK stars Bird and Droesch earn Big East honors
To the surprise of absolutely no one, former Christ the King standout Sue Bird, a senior at the University of Connecticut, was named the Big East Player of the Year, the league announced Sunday.
The preseason Big East Player of the Year from Syosset is also a finalist for the Naismith Award and is second in the conference in assists per game (5.8) and 11th in scoring (13.9) to lead undefeated No. 1 Connecticut.
Bird, who is only the second UConn player to reach 1,000 career points and 500 assists, was also named to the All-Big East first team for a second straight year.
While Bird is wrapping up her collegiate career, Clare Droesch’s career at Boston College is just beginning. The 5-foot-11 forward from Belle Harbor was one of just two unanimous choices named to the All-Big East rookie team.
Droesch, who finished second on the Eagles in scoring with 10.7 points, was a close second in the running for Big East Rookie of the Year, behind Notre Dame’s Jacqueline Batteast.
Thanks to UConn’s 83-39 win over Villanova and Boston College’s 67-48 win over Syracuse, Bird and Droesch get to meet for a second time this season in the Big East championship game Tuesday at Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J.
In the first meeting Jan. 26 in Storrs, Conn., Bird had 23 points while Droesch netted 13 in the Huskies’ 79-56 victory.
BU’s Bell named to America East All-Rookie team
A year after leading the CHSAA in scoring, former St. Francis Prep standout Rashad Bell capped a stellar freshman year at Boston University by being named to the America East All-Rookie team, the league announced Friday.
The 6-foot-6 forward from Hollis averaged 6.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per game, but really picked up his game midway through the season. He averaged 11.1 points and 5.7 rebounds in the Terriers’ final 12 games, including a career-high 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting against Stony Brook Jan. 12.
Against cross-town rival Northeastern in the America East quarterfinals, Bell netted 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting and grabbed six rebounds in Boston University’s 86-76 victory. In his final collegiate game, former Cardozo standout Charles “Ricky” Cranford had 15 points and eight rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench.
Bell followed that with four points and a team-high eight rebounds against third-seeded Hartford Sunday but it was fellow St. Francis Prep alum Kevin Fitzgerald, who had just three assists and two steals, played a critical role in final seconds of the game.
With the game tied at 60 with just 0.8 seconds left, Bayside native Dennis Wolff called a timeout to set up the proved to be the game-winning length-of-the-court play. Fitzgerald, a sophomore from Belle Harbor, hit Stijn Dhondt with a perfect pass just outside of the three-point arc.
Dhondt’s off balance shot swished through the hoop as time expired to send BU into the America East final Saturday against Maine. The winner gets an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.