From spindly-legged freshman to Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year as a senior. Yep, it's been quite a run for Hofstra guard Loren Stokes, the Turner/Carroll graduate who has quietly produced one of the best collegiate careers for any WNY native since Christian Laettner.
Stokes earned the CAA honors Thursday night at the league's banquet in Richmond, Va., where his team opens postseason play Saturday against either George Mason or James Madison. You can check out a neat video recapping Stokes' season at the CAA web site.
Stokes finished second in CAA player of the year voting the last two years but there was no denying him this time. He averaged 20.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists and pushed his career total to 2,120 points, just 102 off the school record.
Hofstra (22-8) enters the tournament as the No. 3 seed and in an all-or-nothing NCAA proposition. With an RPI around 70, the Pride has no at-large case as it did last season. I bet Stokes is hoping to see George Mason again and exact some revenge on the scoreboard for the brutal punch to the groin he took from Mason's Tony Skinn in last year's CAA semifinals.
Stokes was joined on the All-CAA team by backcourt mate Antoine Agudio. There's a familiar name to folks in Niagara County. He's the son of Alex Agudio, one of the stars of Niagara's 1987 NIT team. Stokes and Agudio (20.5 ppg) are the nation's highest-scoring tandem and the only teammates in Division I both averaging over 20 points per game.