2008-01-25 / Sports

Rockaway NCAA College Basketball Stars Shine

By Elio Velez

Samantha Swensen stars at Amherst College. Samantha Swensen stars at Amherst College. Many of our local high school basketball stars have decided to take their game to the college level. The Wave would like to spotlight a few of the players who are shining in the NCAA this season.

Next eek, the Wave will spotlight other stars, which will also include the emergence of Richard Forbes. The former Far Rockaway High School allstar guard is currently the floor general for the Binghamton University Bearcats. Rhashon Clark Iowa State

When Iowa State fired former head coach Wayne Morgan in 2006, and such teammates as Will Stinson left to enter the NBA Draft, Clark's college career was considered to be at the crossroads.

After the completion of his sophomore season, Clark could have decided to pack his bags and head elsewhere. With a new coach in Greg McDermott, Clark could have thought it was time to transfer to another school to finish his college career.

But the former Beach Channel star decided to stay at the school and pledge a commitment to his new coach. Clark is finishing his final season at Iowa State and would like to help his team get back to the NCAA Tournament.

Rahshon Clark (left) scored 10 points against Oklahoma State and became the 26th player in school history to reach 1,000 career points. Photo by Iowa State Athletics Communications. Rahshon Clark (left) scored 10 points against Oklahoma State and became the 26th player in school history to reach 1,000 career points. Photo by Iowa State Athletics Communications. "There was never any reason for me to leave Iowa State," Clark said in an article on the Iowa State Cyclones website.

"Coach Mac came in with a great resume. He took UNI to three-straight NCAA tournaments and I already knew he was a great coach. Knowing that, and with the great fan support here, there was never a thought to leave."

The transition wasn't always an easy thing for Clark to go through.

Clark was always known for his high-flying athleticism and ability wow the Cyclones fans with his soaring dunks. But his scoring average in his junior year decreased to 6 points per game. The team wasn't doing as well on the court either. Iowa State finished with a 15-16 record last season.

McDermott made Clark more of a defensive stopper, with his 6'6 frame and wide arms some of the means to harass an opponent.

After a period of adjustment, Clark has accepted his defense responsibilities with aplomb.

"My defense has really improved in the last two years," Clark said. "I love coming into a game and taking on that challenge to stop that guy on the other team and make him earn every shot."

He's adjusted the offense this year by increasing his average to 10 points per game but more importantly, Clark has matured as a leader on and off the court.

Clark was named one of the team captains and broke a personal milestone on January 19. He became the 26th player in school history to break the 1,000 point barrier with a basket in the first half against Oklahoma State. Iowa State went on to win their 12th game of the year (12-7 as of presstime) by a score of 73-66. Samantha Swensen Amherst College

Samantha Swensen has continued to elevate her status as one of the stars of the undefeated Amherst Jeffs.

Swensen adjusted quite nicely to the starting lineup as a freshman last season. Honored by the NESCAC (Division III) Conference as their Rookie of the Year, the former Poly Prep star led the team in offensive rebounds, blocks and field goal percentage. Se averaged 9.6 points per game

The 6-foot guard/forward's statistics continue to go on the upswing this year. Swensen leads the team in scoring with 13 points per game and in field goal percentage by knocking down 58% of her shots.

Swensen is an integral part of an undefeated women's team who as of presstime are 16-0.

In a matchup of two nationally ranked teams on January 19, Swensen connected on a buzzer beating basket in the second half as Amherst defeated Tufts University, 64-62.

Swensen caught a half-court pass from teammate Sarah Leyman underneath the basket. The Rockaway Park native made a spin to the basket and converted the bucket.

On January 15, Swesnen had scored a career high 26 points as Amherst secured a hard-fought 76-71 win over Wesleyan University. Tim Pounds Colgate University

Waiting for his turn in the Colgate starting lineup for two years, Pounds showed patience and was once again elevated into the staring lineup this season.

Though the 6-foot-5, 200 pound small forward started 14 of 23 games in his junior season, Pounds has already surpassed that mark this season. He's started in 16 of 17 games this season with athleticism and defense a couple of trademarks in his game. Pounds has averaged 6.6 points per game this season.

Colgate's record is currently at 9-8 in the NCAA Division I Patriot League.

Born in Rockaway, Tim Punds and his family moved from the Hammels Houses in the seventh grade to North Carolina. Starring at Silver Springs High School, Pounds won all-conference honors before playing one more high school season at the Hun School in New Jersey. Arthur Robertson Post University

The former Beach Channel star continues to pile up impressive statistics at the Waterbury, Connecticut based school.

The senior leads the team in scoring with 16 points per game, rebounds, steals and in free-throw percentage.

Robertson, who stands at 6'1, also ranks sixth in overall scoring in the Central Athletic Collegiate Conference (NCAA Division II)

Robertson's milestones included scoring 1,000 points in his college career in a game last November and recording a career high 32 points as Post defeated Pace University.

While Post has struggled with an overall 8-9 record, the Eagles have done well within the CACC conference. Their 5-2 record has kept them in first place over rivals Dominican College and Nyack at presstime.

Robertson is once again paired with with current Post University teammate and former Beach Channel teammate Michael Brockington this season.

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