Stokes chooses Hawaii
The Hawaii basketball team can now start planning its “Shaq Attack” for opponents.
Shaquille Stokes, a coveted point guard out of New York City, signed a letter of intent to play for the Warriors starting in the 2011-12 season. He will be a freshman next season and will have four years of eligibility.
“When I made my visit out there, Hawaii felt like a home away from home,” said Stokes, who added that he prefers to go by Shaq. “They have a great coaching staff and I got to hang out with the (returning players) and had a ball.”
Stokes received numerous accolades as a senior at Lincoln High this past season. Most notable, he was named the New York City Player of the Year by the New York Daily News at a banquet on Tuesday night, and was previously a finalist for the New York Mr. Basketball Award.
He averaged around 18 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists per game, and was named to several all-star, all-league and all-city teams.
Stokes said he is 5 feet 11 inches and 175 pounds, and described his game as: “I like to break people down, play defense, score at times when I need to. I just try to make my team and my teammates better.”
Hawaii head coach Gib Arnold himself spearheaded the recruiting process of Stokes. Arnold previously recruited players out of New York City when he was an assistant coach at USC, and has a friendly relationship with Lincoln High coach Dwayne “Tiny” Morton.
“He’s a great ball handler, can get to the rim, multiple speeds, he’s actually got a really nice shot too,” Arnold said. “He’s a creator. He can create his own shot, he can create for others. And he’s a ball hawker, he’s got real quick hands, so he can guard the ball.”
Stokes visited Hawaii last weekend, and narrowed his choices to the Warriors and Colorado State shortly after the visit.
“It was real hard – a lot of other schools came into the process late because they thought I was available,” Stokes said. “But once Coach Arnold – the head coach – he called me direct and said he wanted to set up a visit for me immediately, I knew they were serious about me.”
Stokes spent two days in Honolulu, and the weather was not cooperative with a steady downpour of rain on both days. Not that it mattered to him.
“I’m not coming out there for the weather,” he said. “I’m coming out there to help Hawaii basketball win games. That’s my main goal. If the weather is nice, that’s just a bonus.”
Stokes is the sixth recruit to sign with the Warriors for the 2011-12 season.
“We are pleased,” Arnold said. “We got a little bit of everything.”
2011-12 Recruiting Class
Dillon Biggs, 6-7, 195, F, Fr., Los Angles, Calif., Dorsey HS
Gerry Blakes, G, 6-4, 175, Fr., Inglewood, Calif., Morningside HS
Hauns Brereton, F, 6-7, 205, Jr., Bartlett, Tenn., Western Nebraska CC
DeShawn Mitchell, G, 6-5, 205, Jr., Newark, N.J., Snow College (Utah)
Ronnie Stevens, F, 6-8, 225, Fr., Gardena, Calif., Serra HS
Shaquille Stokes, G, 5-11, 175, Fr., Harlem, N.Y., Lincoln HS
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