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News Player of Year Trueheart to play for Mihalich at Hofstra

Two-time All-Western New York first team basketball selection Stafford Trueheart, The Allen Wilson Buffalo News Player of the Year, announced via Twitter that he has accepted a full scholarship offer to attend Hofstra.

The 6-foot-8 Trueheart (he has grown an inch since the end of winter) helped Canisius win a school-record 26 games en route to repeating as Manhattan Cup and New York State Catholic High School Athletic Association Class A champions last season. Trueheart averaged 20.8 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.7 blocks and 2.5 assists per game, playing his best when it mattered most for the Crusaders.

Among his season highlights:

• He hit game-winning basket in a win over eventual state Class AA champion Aquinas.

• He also made two game-saving blocks in the final seconds of Canisius’ Manhattan Cup overtime triumph over Park.

Canisius will hold a signing day at the school some time within the next week or so.

The acceptance of Hofstra’s scholarship offer ends some brief uncertainty for Trueheart.

Three months ago, Trueheart announced via Twitter he was going to play at James Madison, the Colonial Athletic Association rival of Hofstra. Trueheart started exploring his options in July, however, after being informed “there wasn’t any room” on the roster for him.

“I’m not sure what exactly went on but with the new coach the roster was messed up so I moved on,” Trueheart said.

Trueheart, while playing for an AAU team out of Rochester, caught the eye of Hofstra coach Joe Mihalich, the former bench boss at Niagara. Besides Hofstra, Northeastern and several prep schools courted Trueheart, who made an official visit to Hofstra on Long Island and decided Tuesday to accept the offer.

“One of the things that stood out to me was the coaching staff,” said Trueheart. “The whole coaching staff was great. They’re big on player development which was one of my main focuses going to college so I feel they’ll help me become the best player I can be.”

“They’ve been in the picture for a while,” said Canisius coach Kyle Husband, as Hofstra has been scouting Trueheart since his sophomore year. “They had the opportunity to see him again. They had a spot and they began pursuing him heavily. He loved Joe and he decided today he didn’t want to go on any other visits. … He had other opportunities but between him and his family and I agree with him Hofstra is going to be a great fit. Joe Mihalich is a great coach.”

Trueheart leaves for Hofstra at the end of the month.

The Pride went 24-10 last season, falling in the CAA Tournament final in overtime to UNC-Wilmington. They then lost, 82-80, in the first round of the NIT to George Washington.

email: mrodriguez@buffnews.com

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