NYIT assistant basketball coach Andrew Cobian didn't realize Darian Hooker would one day become the nation's leading scorer in Division II when the 6-1 player showed up at his office two springs ago.

Hooker was on campus visiting his girlfriend, volleyball player Marija Jovanovic, who now lives in Serbia. "He walks into the office and he says, 'Hey coach, I'm so-and-so's boyfriend and I was wondering if I could borrow a basketball,' " Cobian said. "I said no problem, I know the girlfriend, she is a nice girl, if he runs off with it I know where to find him.

"We get to talking briefly and he said he was on Campbell's basketball team," Cobian said.

Campbell is a Division I school in Buies Creek, North Carolina.

"I realized that [coaching] staff had gotten let go," Cobian said. "He said he would be open to an opportunity up here."

An impromptu workout was arranged and, Cobian said, "After five minutes of watching him play, our staff was in awe that he was in our own backyard. We offered him a full scholarship."

Hooker was a medical redshirt last season, making this his one and only season with the Bears. And what a season it has been as Hooker leads the nation with 28.5 points per game. More than 300 schools participate at the D-II level. He's even had an NBA scout come and watch him play. Hooker has averaged double digits in all of his games and scored more than 40 points three times. His career high was 43 against Bridgeport. He set the East Coast Conference record for points in a season with 708.

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Hooker, who will lead NYIT against Dowling on Wednesday in the ECC Tournament, has always been an accidental recruit. It just now seems to be paying off for him. He went to high school in the Washington, D.C., area but said his academics did not yield any serious looks.

"He told me flat out he wasn't a good student in high school," NYIT coach Sal Lagano said.

Hooker wound up at two-year Mineral Area College in Park Hills, Missouri, where his coach, Corey Tate, said he averaged 20 points a game over two seasons. "He could score the ball, no question about that," Tate said. "I'm so proud the world is able to see what he is doing now."

But Hooker had no offers after Mineral Area.

"A friend of mine begged somebody at Campbell to take a look at me," he said. "They flew me down and the next day they offered me a scholarship." Hooker averaged 10.2 points in his only season there.

He said he had no idea where he would go after Campbell.

Lagano said Hooker is probably the best player he's ever seen in the conference.

"He's got a great pull-up jumper, can create his own shot, can get to the rim when he wants to, and he's leading the league in assists," Lagano said.

Lagano said Hooker's work ethic is such that when the coach tried to reach him over the summer, the player texted him that they would have to talk at night because he was working out.

"He had to make 1,200 shots a day," Lagano said.

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When school was back in session the maintenance department would tell Lagano somebody was in the gym shooting at 11 o'clock at night. Lagano didn't have to ask who it was. When Hooker missed two free throws with the game on the line, he stayed after the game and worked on his foul shooting.

Hooker is proud of what he's accomplished -- on and off the court. He is a graduate student and recently was named the program's first academic All-American.

"When my parents heard that they almost passed out," he said, recalling his academically challenged high school years. "They thought they confused me with somebody else."

As for leading the nation in scoring, he said, "It's a good feeling. My hard work in the gym is paying off. I've always known that I can do what I'm doing, so it's not really a surprise. I have an exciting game to watch. I'm trying to play to win. I know one thing that won't go overlooked and that's numbers, points per game and most importantly wins. My job as a guard is to score, get people involved and make sure that we win."