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By Matthew Braine

December 19th, 2005


Hidden Gem: Hofstra's Antoine Agudio

Sharp-shooting sophomore trying to take the CAA by storm


When you go from anonymous to unanimous, there are certain challenges that come along with it.  Hofstra University guard Antoine Agudio, the 2004-05, Colonial Athletic Association's rookie of the year by a landslide, is facing those trials as we speak.  Last year's phenomenal freshman is finding out that becoming a sensational sophomore in one of the top mid-major conferences in the nation is no easy task.  


Redshirted in his first year due to a broken finger, Agudio surged onto the scene with extended knowledge of the offense as an explosive shooter who could move sharply without the ball.  His angular 6'3" 185 lbs frame was overlooked by most defenders, and because of that, Agudio was able shoot to at will, mainly from behind the arc.  He nailed 82 three pointers, setting a new school record and putting him on pace to shatter the current all-time record that Norman Richardson holds with 192.  His other accolades as a freshman include averaging 15.1 ppg, which ranked him eighth nationally among all freshmen and third all time in school history.


The sharpshooter out of Huntington Station, Long Island led his team to consecutive Long Island championships en route to being named to the All-State team as a senior at Walt Whitman High School.  Despite being heavily recruited by power schools like West Virginia and Providence, he chose to stay local, however that wasn't the only factor in his decision.  "When I got here, it felt like a family.  Everyone was joking around with me and made me feel comfortable," Agudio says. 


After coming off a stellar first year in which he was named to the All-CAA conference tournament as well as the All-CAA third team, Agudio is looking to outdo himself. Hes getting off to a tough start this season, shooting only 31% from three point land, while still averaging a steady 15 ppg.  However, Agudio doesn't seem concerned.  "I'm in a slump but I'm not worried, I'd rather struggle now then when it's crunch time during the tournaments," he says. 


Head coach Tom Pecora, who led the Pride to the NIT last season, in only their sixth ever postseason birth, agrees with Agudio saying, "All players struggle and great shooters struggle. Great hitters have slumps and with a kid like Agudio, he's so determined, he'll pull out of it."  He adds, "Antoine has a swagger about him that all great players have, and the way he shoots, you have to have it.  Personally I can't get him to take enough shots."


Agudio's swagger was flaunted early on this season against local rival and Big East contender St. John's University. Down by 13 at the half, the Pride embarked on a huge comeback and Agudio helped lead the way, drilling 3 three pointers and added 16 total points.  Hofstra came away with a 64-51 win in St. John's Carnesecca Arena, as the Pride outscored the Red Storm 37-11 in the second half.  St. John's coach Norm Roberts was impressed with Agudio's all around tenacity saying, "He's a terrific guard who plays well without the basketball and you can't give him open shots because he knocks them down too often."


Apparently, Dartmouth didn't read through their scouting report on Saturday as Agudio was able to take a step in the right direction by putting up a career high 24 points against them.  Number Thirteen was lightning in a bottle from the floor, hitting five threes in a 74-59 Hofstra victory that took place in Madison Square Garden.  Agudio shot over 50% on the game and now leads the league in scoring on the season.


An unselfish player through and through, Agudio says his only personal goals are to be a good defender and to shoot well from the free throw line.  Rather, he sets his goals with a team mindset.  "Our goal is to make it to the NCAA tournament and win the CAA title in the process.  There is no doubt that we have the ability to do it," Agudio says.  Now, with a core of experienced starters at the helm, Agudio and the Pride are poised to make that goal a reality.  Along with All-CAA guard Loren Stokes and floor general Carlos Rivera, the Pride's backcourt trio is among the best in the conference. It's record stands at 6-2 and that's with most of their starters struggling.  "Once we get on track and start putting teams away, we're going to be unstoppable," adds Agudio. 


With more than two years left to perfect his game, Agudio is primed to take it to the next level.  Avoiding the sophomore slump is first on his list, but long term, well, that's a bit tougher. "The NBA man, that's the dream.  Either that or overseas.  I'm playing basketball."




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