With the way the season has gone so far this season across the NCAA, the log jam in the Colonial Athletic Association should come as no surprise. With five teams within 4 games of the conference-leading UNC-Wilmington Seahawks, the stretch run will see no shortage of drama.
The team closest to the Seahawks sits at two games back. The Hofstra Pride, who were a trendy pick in the pre-season polls, are looking to take home the regular season title, and put themselves in a great position to advance to the NCAA Tournament.
One player who has helped the Pride to their current 18-8 record so far has been big man Rokas Gustys. Yes, the Pride have the likes of guard Juan’ya Green on their roster, but the impact that Gustys has had on both ends of the floor has been tough to ignore.
On the season, the sophomore forward is averaging a double-double per game, and is one of the nation’s top rebounders to boot.
After putting together a massive week that helped push the Pride to two big conference win, and keeping pace in the race for the CAA title, Hofstra forward Rokas Gustys is CCR Mid-Major Player of the Week for Feb. 8-14!
Gustys is a 6’9”, 260-pound forward from Bronx, New York. After an average freshman campaign, he has come into his own and developed into a strong interior presence for the Pride as a sophomore.
On the season, the Pride have five players who have played in all 26 games and are averaging double-digit points per contest. Gustys is currently third on the team in scoring, averaging 13.5 points per contest. To the surprise of nobody, he is also pulling down a team-best 12.3 rebounds per game.
After his big week, Gustys has recorded 15 double-doubles this season, and has been an impact player in terms of rebounds on both ends of the floor. He has recorded 20 or more rebounds four times this season.
This past week, the Pride went on the road for two big contests against the William & Mary Tribe and the Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens. Going on the road is never easy, especially in conference play, so the Pride would have to bring their A-game on both nights.
Gustys did his best to lead the Pride to victory on both nights, and they came away with two big road wins to keep pace atop the conference standings. The Pride took down the Tribe on Thursday, 86-80, then two days later they beat the Blue Hens, 77-66.
Against the Tribe, Gustys recorded 25 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 blocks in 36 minutes of court time. Two nights later, he recorded 18 points, 21 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 36 minutes.
On the week, he averaged 21.5 points, 18 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game while shooting a sparkling 76.0% (19-of-26) from the floor. His 25 point on Thursday and 21 rebounds on Saturday both tied a season high mark for the sophomore.
If Hofstra is looking to make a deep run in the CAA tournament, and make some noise in the post-season, they will need big performances from Gustys. With five players averaging double-digit points per game, the Pride have a strong core of players who can lead the team to big things.
The future is bright for the Pride, with Gustys in the fold for another two seasons following the 2015-16 campaign. Fans have to be liking what they’ve seen so far from the 6’9” big man, and are looking forward to the future.
After averaging a double-double this past week, and helping the Pride stay within striking distance near the top of the CAA standings, sophomore forward Rokas Gustys is this week’s winner of the CCR Mid-Major Player of the Week award!
Feb. 1 – 8: Alec Wintering – Portland Pilots
Jan. 25 – 31: Brett Bisping – Siena Saints
Jan. 18 – 24: Quinton Chievous – Hampton Pirates
Jan. 11 – 17: Shawn Long – UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns
Jan. 4 – 10: Tyrell Nelson – Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs
Dec. 28 – Jan. 3: Tanner Plomb – Army West Point Black Knights