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Metro Atlantic Notebook

February 10, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Metro Atlantic Notebook

by Kevin Reilly

You Can Come Home Again

Luis Flores left New York City a few years back in search of the fame and glory
that a ballyhooed conference like the Big East may afford a youngster who led all
Big Apple scholastic scorers during his senior campaign.

He played one year at Rutgers University before looking for a change of location.
His search landed him just north of where he grew up . He was welcomed with open arms by then new Jasper Coach Bobby Gonzalez.

He was actually just an afterthought of the group that would leave the Scarlet Knights
program. Dahntay Jones headed to Duke and Todd Billet ended up at Virginia.

It’s almost gotten comical in the MAAC that Luis Flores will receive the Player of
the Week Award in the conference. He has captured the honor six times including the last four in a row and this is only the first week of February.

When you hear analyst Clark Kellogg use the term “stat sheet” stuffer Flores’
name comes quickly to mind. Here’s just a few of those credentials. He is scoring 24.6 ppg, playing 38 minutes per contest while grabbing 5 rebounds and dishing for
3 assists.

His most sensational mark may very well be his 90% accuracy from the free throw
line which is critical since this kid makes a living there, often registering double figures in charity stripe attempts. I believe his signature move is his quick crossover move to get into the lane for his uncanny short range 12 ft jump shot.

The Jaspers are on a 14 game winning streak and are 11-1 in the MAAC. There overall mark of 18-3 is one of the nation’s best. They have beaten St. Johns’ and Seton Hall from Luis’ former stomping grounds and handled Fairfield which is their main competition on their home court.

This NYC native had a nice year as a sophomore last season averaging 19.4 points per contest and was named first team All-MAAC but this year he has simply emerged as the conference’s best player and a significant player on the regional and national scene.

He may be the Jasper’s most talented player since Heshimu Evans who coincidentally transferred from Manhattan to Kentucky in the mid 90’s and subsequently became a key contributor to a national championship team.

In The Balance

Tim O’Toole’s Fairfield Stags has put together a nice season and quietly is waiting in the wings if Manhattan falters. They have a record of 13-7 and a gaudy mark
of 9-2 in the MAAC. They lost to the Jaspers in a classic struggle at their new home
the Bridgeport Arena

The Stags are doing it with a cast of characters. Spanish import, forward Oscar Garcia is their leading scorer at 13.3 ppg. 6-9 Deng Gai is right behind Garcia in the scoring and is a force on the backboards and in the paint.

Nick DelFico ,at around 6-4, can hit the three and brings his lunch box daily as he defends and boards with players much taller than he is.

The Stags have one more chance to avenge their previous 93-86 loss to Manhattan.
A game that saw each team score over 50 points in the first half.

Conference Tournament News

The MAAC Championship has a new home this year. The Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton, New Jersey will provide a nice change of pace. The site has rotated recently between Buffalo and Albany. The Pepsi Arena in Albany is a nice building but Buffalo is way too far for this conference to haul to every other year.

Trenton NJ is a welcome change for the southern teams in this conference. Rider, Loyola, St. Peter’s. and Manhattan fans will welcome the new environment.

Let’s hope it works out and there are good attendance marks meriting it’s permanent
addition to the lineup of MAAC Tournament sites.

MAAC Minutes

• St Peter’s Keydren Clark has slipped a bit in scoring but still remains second in conference at 24.2 ppg for Bob Leckie’s Peacocks. Quite a year for a freshman.

• Manhattan’s dominance of the MAAC this year can best be attributed to two simple statistics. They rank first in the league in scoring and are second in team defense.

• Siena holds on to a big edge in attendance at an average of 7,225 fans per game.
It has been a big advantage for them to host the conference tourney every
other year

• Tim O’Toole has a pretty good pedigree being an assistant coach at Duke for
Coach K and for Tommy Amaker at Seton Hall.

• Luis Flores led all NYC scorers his senior season in high school at 35.6 ppg.
That’s a lot of points for a 6-1 guard.


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