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SportsCollegeCollege Basketball

Hofstra-Iona: NYC HS baller's reunion

Hofstra University #1 Nathaniel Lester, left, gets pressured

Hofstra University #1 Nathaniel Lester, left, gets pressured by Iona College #2 Lamont Jones in the first half. (Dec. 29, 2011) Credit: James Escher

Hofstra’s exciting 83-75 win over Iona on Thursday night at the Mack Sports Complex had the feel of a New York City high school basketball player’s reunion. It was a game that featured 13 players with New York City roots.

Hofstra’s roster is filled with former New York City high school basketball stars, including Nathaniel Lester (Brooklyn), David Imes (Brooklyn), Dwan McMillan (Brooklyn), Stephen Nwaukoni (Queens) and Moussa Kone (Bronx).

Pride walk-on guard Matt Grogan (Middle Village) also has city roots.

Iona has its share of city kids too, including Michael Glover (Bronx), Lamont Jones (Harlem), Scott Machado (Queens), Sean Armand (Brooklyn) and Trinity Fields (Queens).

“It seemed a little like back in the day,” Lester joked of playing against so many familiar faces. “We’re just older players now.”

Lester played with or against several players on both sides during his AAU days. “It feels good to see those guys being successful and playing on a good team,” said the 6-5 senior.

Of course being friends off the court doesn’t mean Lester, who had 21 points and 10 rebounds in Hofstra’s win, doesn’t want the bragging rights. “We’re all from New York, so it definitely means a little bit more to play against them,” Lester added. “The best part about it is I got them today.”

That wasn’t the case last season. Last year on the same day, December 29, Iona crushed Hofstra, 87-62. Pride coach Mo Cassara called that game the “turning point” of their season.

“This is a great area for basketball. New York is like the mecca,” said Lester. “If you want to test your game come to New York.”

New York Sports