Monday, November 7, 2011

Former NBA guard Chris Herren visits Stony Brook

Stony Brook, N.Y. - Former NBA guard Chris Herren visited Stony Brook Athletics on Monday to discuss his book, Basketball Junkie, with staff members and student-athletes. Herren's book, which details his struggle to overcome drug abuse, was selected as the department's 'Book of the Year.'
Herren, a McDonald's All-American who played college basketball at Boston College and Fresno State, struggled for years with a powerful drug addiction. His talent carried him to the NBA with the Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics, but his reliance on drugs derailed his professional career and sent him overseas to play ball in Europe and China. Still unable to overcome his addiction, and on the verge of losing his family and his life, Herren returned to the United States and eventually checked into rehab. He has been drug-free since 2008.
Herren now tells his story with the hope that he can prevent others from going down the same troubled road. His story of overcoming addiction was recently the focus of an ESPN documentary, Unguarded, which aired on Nov. 1.
The Stony Brook Athletics 'Book of the Year' program was instituted by Director of Athletics Jim Fiore in 2004. Every year, a book is purchased for staff members to read that highlights important topics relevant to professional and personal development. The program culminates with the author's visit to campus and a discussion with the staff and student-athletes. The various book topics are relevant to the core values of the Department of Athletics.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Maysonet, Jackolski push Football past Charleston Southern, 50-31


Duo combined for 356 rushing yards and six touchdowns

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Junior Miguel Maysonet (Riverhead, N.Y.) set the Stony Brook record for career rushing touchdowns as the Seawolves rushed for seven scores in a 50-31 win over Charleston Southern on Saturday at CSU Stadium.

Maysonet, who entered the game with 21 touchdowns, rushed for four touchdowns, breaking Bobby Kane's record of 23 touchdowns set in 1996. He finished with 182 rushing yards on just 17 carries.

Not to be outdone, senior Brock Jackolski (Shirley, N.Y.) rushed for 174 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns, including a 55-yarder in the fourth quarter.

Both running backs went over 1,000 yards for the season as Maysonet has 1,178 yards and 13 touchdowns and Jackolski has 1,001 yards and eight touchdowns. Stony Brook has 29 rushing touchdowns this season.

Stony Brook rushed for 355 yards on 43 carries. It was the third game this season that the Seawolves have rushed for at least 300 yards.

The win is the sixth straight for Stony Brook (6-3, 4-0 Big South), which is a new school record. The win also is the fifth straight game with at least 42 points scored.

"Brock and Miguel complement each other so well," coach Chuck Priore said. "They are very special to this team. What makes them so great is that they have no hidden agenda."

Junior Kyle Essington (Chino Hills, Calif.) also rushed for a touchdown, his fifth of the season. Essington completed 6 of 12 passes for 109 yards, including 77 to junior Jordan Gush (Dallas, Texas).

Stony Brook's rushing defense was outstanding, allowing -7 rushing yards on 32 carries. "That was on point today," Priore said. "We forced them into a lot of passing situations, which they were good at today. But I'm proud of our team. We controlled the game the whole time."

Charleston Southern quarterback Richard Mounce threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns. Nathan Perera caught 10 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns.

Junior Dan Mulrooney (Prospect, Conn.) made nine tackles to lead the defense. Senior Andrew Nelson (Uniondale, N.Y.) had a fumble recovery and sophomore Reginald Francklin (Valley Stream, N.Y.) tackled punter Andy Brown in the end zone for a safety.

Stony Brook is on the road next week, traveling to take on Gardner-Webb on November 12 at 1:30.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Stony Brook's goal is March Madness (Newsday)

Qualify for the NCAA Tournament. That's the goal of the Stony Brook basketball team. "It has to be this year, that's how everyone is taking it as,'' junior guard Leonard Hayes said. "We've accomplished everything else.''
Under Steve Pikiell, the Seawolves won the 2009-10 America East regular-season title and played Illinois before a big home crowd in the NIT, then last season, they fought off injuries and a losing record to come within a whisper of the NCAA automatic bid with a 56-54 loss to Boston University in the conference championship.
"We're going to keep swinging for the NCAA Tournament, that's where our program is now,'' Pikiell said. "We're going to get to the NCAA Tournament. Are we going to get there this year?''
Let his players answer the question. "It kind of has to be,'' senior guard Bryan Dougher said. "Making it to the championship last year and losing kind of put a bitter taste in our mouths. We don't want to feel that again.''
This season marks the return of 6-5 forward Tommy Brenton, the Seawolves' top all-around player, who missed last season with a dislocated kneecap and was on the bench when SBU lost in the conference final to BU.
"When we lost, everyone knew, that's the next step, to win it,'' he said. "Coach Pikiell brings it up to us, to make us remember how bad it felt. Everybody knows that's the goal, that's what we are striving for.''
Brenton could be the difference. "He has this presence on the court,'' Dougher said. "He's the smartest player I ever played with. He brings a winning mentality. He's going to do whatever it takes to win, like dive on the ground for a loose ball. Teams hate playing against him. I can tell why.''
Aside from Brenton, the talent is plentiful. Hayes was a bench player who became a shooting star last season. Dougher knocks down three-pointers as if they were layups. And forward Ron Bracey, a 6-5, 220-pound junior-college transfer, was the team's leading scorer during a summer tour in Europe. Bracey, who will start or be the first player off the bench, averaged 23.8 points and 6.8 rebounds at Kellogg CC in Battle Creek, Mich.
Dallis Joyner patrols the low post and Marcus Rouse runs the offense. But Pikiell has more in reserve, with capable guards Anthony Jackson, Dave Coley and forwards Al Rapier and Danny Carter.
"I can make a case for a lot of guys,'' Pikiell said. "This team is definitely the deepest and we're probably the most experienced since I've been here. But, you've got to do it, too.''

Ground game rolling for Stony Brook (Newsday)

By our friend, Greg Logan, Newsday

The gaudy numbers keep piling up for Stony Brook, which faces winless Charleston Southern on Saturday at Buccaneers Stadium with a chance for a school-record sixth straight win. 
The Seawolves last week became the first Big South team to score at least 42 points in four straight games, thanks to their 42-0 shutout of Coastal Carolina.
That game was played in a driving rainstorm, which prevented Stony Brook from gaining a single yard passing, but the Seawolves (5-3, 3-0 Big South) rushed for 446 yards, one short of their conference single-game record.
Weather won't be a problem Saturday in Charleston, S.C., where forecasts call for a sunny day with a high of 63 degrees and zero percent chance of precipitation.
That should come as a relief for running backs Miguel Maysonet and Brock Jackolski, who are poised to top the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the second straight season. Maysonet currently has 996 yards rushing and Jackolski has 827. Maysonet last week became the 10th back in Big South history to reach the 2,000-yard career rushing plateau and Jackolski needs 144 to become the 11th. The two totaled 384 rushing yards and four touchdowns against Coastal Carolina.
The Buccaneers (0-8, 0-3) will be hard-pressed to stop them, considering they allow an average of 204.5 yards rushing per game. Stony Brook ranks fifth in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) with 275.5 yards rushing per game.
The Seawolves are almost as proficient at stopping the run, ranking seventh nationally with an average yield of 88.4 yards per game. That might mean tough sledding for CSU quarterback Richard Mounce, who made his first start of the season last week in a 14-7 loss to Gardner-Webb.
Mounce was a virtual one-man offense, completing 14 of 39 passes for 169 yards and rushing for 56 yards on 28 carries. Mounce's total was reduced by the 50 yards he lost while being sacked seven times.
Stony Brook is a half-game behind Liberty (6-3, 4-0) in the Big South standings. Liberty is at VMI on Saturday and has next week off; SBU will visit Gardner-Webb before playing host to Liberty on Nov. 19.

Prepping for the Dance, step by step (ESPN)

DarcyBy Kieran Darcy

But he still has an empty shelf in his office.

There are actually three shelves, on the wall to your right when you come through the door. The first two have basketballs resting on them -- one from his first win at the school and one commemorating the school's first conference regular-season championship.

"That last shelf has been empty," Pikiell said Thursday, in an interview in his office. "We're trying to get that -- that's our first NCAA tournament ball."

The Seawolves came within two points of filling that shelf nine months ago. Stony Brook, playing in its first America East championship game, led Boston University by 15 points with less than 17 minutes to play. But it couldn't hold on. BU outscored Stony Brook 8-0 over the final 3:31, and a pair of free throws with 2.4 seconds left gave the Terriers a 56-54 victory and a trip to the Big Dance.

[+] EnlargeSteve Pikiell
AP Photo/Joe RaymondA former UConn point guard, Seawolves coach Steve Pikiell worked as an assistant for Jim Calhoun after graduation.

Senior Bryan Dougher missed a desperation heave at the buzzer, and has spent the offseason thinking about what might have been. "It left a bitter taste in our mouths," Dougher said. "We learned that we have to have guys who step up when we need it the most. We didn't have anybody do that last year, and I take that responsibility on myself, to be that guy."

The truth is, Stony Brook has already come a long way since Pikiell came aboard in 2005. The school's men's basketball program only has been in Division I since 1999. The Seawolves were 4-24 in his first season at the helm, and just 20-67 in his first three years. But in 2008-09, Stony Brook finished above .500 (16-14), and in the following year came the big breakthrough -- a 22-10 record, and the America East regular-season championship.

Only problem? The Seawolves were upset by Boston University in the semifinals of the conference tournament, relegating them to the NIT.

Last season, Stony Brook was ravaged by injuries -- including losing starting forward Tommy Brenton, the America East's leading rebounder, for the entire year. But the Seawolves managed to go 15-17 overall, 8-8 in the conference, and got hot at the right time -- in March, advancing to the America East title game.

"It's all steps -- the last three years, we've taken one more step each year in that tournament," Pikiell said. "I think for us, to get there for the first time, to have that experience now, I think it will bode well if we get back in that position again. I think the guys learned a lot from it."

Pikiell has had a great mentor to learn from in his coaching career -- namely Jim Calhoun, winner of three national championships at Connecticut. Pikiell played point guard for Calhoun at UConn from 1987 to 1991. And Calhoun gave him his first coaching job, hiring him as an assistant at UConn after graduation.

"I learned a lot from him about perseverance, and toughness," Pikiell said. "My teams play hard, we play defense, and we're gonna rebound."

In fact, Stony Brook was ranked No. 9 in all of Division I in defense last season, with teams shooting just 39 percent from the field against the Seawolves. And they spent a good chunk of time in practice on Thursday working on getting back on defense and stopping opponents' fast breaks.

"We're gonna be the best damn transition defense team in the country!" Pikiell shouted at one point.

"It's kind of your anchor," Pikiell said. "To me, I want to score a lot of points, but that's the bonus. But every night if we bring defense, we're gonna have a chance."

Dougher, a 6-foot-1 point guard from Scotch Plains, N.J., was the only Stony Brook player to average double figures in scoring last season (12.8 ppg). "He's been a real good player since day one I've given him the ball," Pikiell said. "But his range has improved -- he can really shoot the ball from deep."

And Dougher should have a lot more help this season. "We have a lot of weapons this year," Pikiell said. "I really believe all five of our starters are capable of scoring in double figures."

In particular, Brenton -- a 6-5 forward who averaged 7.6 points and 9.7 rebounds per game two years ago -- is 100 percent healthy after dislocating his kneecap and tearing knee ligaments last September. And Ron Bracey -- another 6-5 forward, who averaged 23.3 points per game in junior college last season -- led the Seawolves in scoring in their August trip to Europe.

Stony Brook went 4-1, playing games in Ireland, England and France, and Bracey averaged 11.6 points per contest.

"Practices have been real competitive so far -- more so than my last three years here," Dougher said. "That bodes well for us, speaks to our depth."

Stony Brook, which opens its season at Indiana on Nov. 11, was picked to finish second to -- you guessed it! -- Boston University in the America East preseason coaches' poll. But Pikiell and his players have their sights set a little higher.

"When my guys come in here and they tell me how hard they work, I just point at the shelf," Pikiell said. "And I say, 'Eh, I don't know -- if you're working that hard, we should already have that shelf taken care of.'"

Four months from now, they hope to have the office decorations complete.