2005-12-30 / Sports

Rockaway College Players Graduate To Professional Basketball

By Elio Velez

Rashaun Banjo
Rashaun Banjo Last week, the Wave featured the NCAA men and women college basketball players who will be prominently featured in the upcoming editions of the Wave.

In this week’s edition, we take a look at the former players that have been featured in these pages. Some have graduated onto playing professional ball in Europe. If there are any players from the peninsula who are currently playing pro-ball, please inform us. There is also an update on players that we have not profiled in previous editions.

Rashaun Banjo , the former star forward Woodmere Academy and Quinnipiac University, has unpacked his bags and signed with Santarem Basket of the Portugal ProLiga Basketball League.

The 23 yard old Banjo graduated with 17 points and 7 rebounds per game in his senior season at Quinnipiac in 2004. After being released earlier this season by Turkish League team Beykozspor, Banjo has landed on his feet Santarem. In four games in Turkey, he scored 5 points per game and 4 rebounds in 22 minutes per game.

He might have an easier time finding more playing time with Santarem. Banjo, who averaged 17 points and 7 rebounds in his final collegiate season, joins Santarem on the losing end of a 0-9 record.

Clare Droesch

After graduating with Big East honors for leading the Boston College Eagles to another NCAA berth, Clare Droesch has also landed in Portugal to play with Sport Algés Dafundo.

One of the highest scorers in the history of Christ the King High School, she was named the co-captain of the Eagles in her senior season. In all four seasons with Boston College, Droesch qualified for the NCAA Tournament. The Eagles advanced to the second round of the tournament before losing 70-65 to Duke University. Droesch, who graduated with a degree in sociology, has only played two games for Danfundo as of press time by scoring 10 points and 8 rebounds.

Janelle McManus sadly never made the NCAA Tournament appearance that she was striving for in her three seasons at Fairfield University.

The Stags were knocked out in the MAAC post-season tournament and could not earn the automatic bid that would have come with winning the championship. After transferring from Boston College, McManus finished her college career continuing the high level pf play that led her to become the all time leading scorer in the history of Bishop Kearney High School basketball.

McManus received Fairfield’s Most Valuable Player for the second straight year after scoring a team high 14 points per game and finishing with a total of 1,324 points in three seasons. She was selected to the first team All-MAAC and the second team All-Met conference teams.

Wendell Gibson fought back through various knee problems in his senior season to rejoin Hofstra as they acquired a spot in the NIT Tournament. A bruising rebounder and scorer, he never fully recovered his mobility but provided a spark down the stretch for the Pride.

Hofstra, who finished the season with a 21-9 record, couldn’t get past St. Joseph’s as they lost 53-44 in the NIT’s first round. Gibson, who missed the first half of the season after tearing his right ACL in 2004, was honored in the offseason by Hofstra with the Teague Ryan Memorial Award. It’s given to the player who according to the school who says the award “exemplifies the characteristics of a Hofstra Basketball player — competitiveness, aggressiveness and desire.”

New Players

Warren McAllister teamed up with point guard Richard Forbes to lead Far Rockaway to two consecutive winning seasons in the early part of the decade. A 6 foot 4 forward, McAllister scored 14 points and 14 rebounds per game in the 2002-2003 season and helped lead the Seahorses to the playoffs. As a sophomore at SUNY-Farmingdale, McAllister has played seven games off the bench and has scored 8 points per game. Though only receiving 20 minutes per game, he has gotten extended time off the bench. The team is currently at 4-3 and in his freshman season, Farmingdale finished 20-9 and was 14-0 in the Skyline Conference. SUNY Maritime guard Marissa Webber Bay, who attended Fashion Industries High School, is a pass first point guard who started 12 out of 25 games in her freshman season last year. What she’s hopefully looking forward to is gaining a winning season. Maritime had a record of 1-25.

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