Rokas Gustys of Oak Hill Academy to play at Hofstra
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Top high school basketball prospect Rokas Gustys of Oak Hill Academy (Va.) intends to sign a national letter of intent to play at Hofstra, he and his coach said Tuesday.
The 6-9, 245-pound forward, who averaged 12 points and eight rebounds last season, said he selected Hofstra over Tulane and three other schools he visited.
"The most important thing for me was the coaching staff," Gustys said in a phone interview. "I really had a great relationship with coach [Joe] Mihalich, [assistants] Shane Nichols, Speedy Claxton. He was a really big reason while I chose Hofstra. I want to play pro after college. I thought it would be good for me to play with coaches like Speedy Claxton."
Steve Smith, Gustys' coach at Oak Hill, said he first saw the player when his team visited China. Gustys was playing for the 18-under Lithuanian national team.
"He started emailing me saying he wanted to come to the States to go to high school and college," Smith said. "He's a big, strong, physical, aggressive player, great rebounder with a pretty good touch for a big guy. He can score inside with both hands, then step out to about 15 feet. He's a real good passer for a big guy."
Smith, who has a 29-year record of 932-62 at Oak Hill, where he coached Carmelo Anthony, believes Gustys will be successful at Hofstra in the Colonial Athletic Association. Gustys is rated as a three-star prospect, according to the Rivals recruiting website.
"At the level he's going to, I think he's really going to be good," he said. "He's physically ready to play as a freshman."
Smith said Gustys also visited Rhode Island, UAB and San Jose State. He visited Hofstra last. "Sometimes last is first," the coach said.
Gustys said he anticipates starting next season. "It was a real major thing for me to play right away. I hope so. I'm going to work hard."
The addition of Gustys could complete a new starting five for Hofstra that would include Niagara transfers Juan'ya Green and Ameen Tanksley, SMU transfer Brian Bernard and freshman Eliel Gonzalez.