« Men’s Basketball 2017-18

Rokas Gustys

School

Hofstra University

Position
Forward/Center
Major
Rhetorical Studies

Classroom

“The hard work he exerts in the classroom makes him an exemplary role model for all of his teammates who are looking to encapsulate the academic experience that NCAA athletics facilitates. This can be clearly illustrated with his achievement of graduating in seven semesters and beginning his Masters in Spring 2018. Gustys has maintained a full-time credit load and a successful GPA well above 3.0 in six of his seven semesters of undergraduate enrollment in Rhetorical Studies and was awarded Deans List in Fall 2016 while simultaneously balancing a demanding Division I competition schedule throughout his academic career. A further challenge was given to Gustys to keep his GPA above a 3.0, which would also enable him to complete nine credits of his undergraduate coursework at the masters level. In my 14 years of working in higher education, this has never been achieved before and is testimony to the dedication that Rokas Gustys has shown in the classroom.

“Gustys commands the attention and respect of his teammates while maintaining a personable and friendly demeanor with all the Hofstra faculty and administration. His inherent people skills, leadership and organizational abilities and are a necessary component of being a successful student at the graduate level and will make him an ideal candidate for our M.A. in public relations in Spring 2018.”

- Rachel Peel-Macandrew, Associate Dean for the Center for University Advising

Character

“I recommend Gustys without any reservation as he is as deserving as any player I’ve coached in my 20 years as a head coach. Throughout Gustys’ three years and heading into his fourth, he has overcome many obstacles and has become an even stronger person and better player for having to deal with them. Being an international student, Gustys has achieved excellence in the classroom, become a media darling, and is a fan/community favorite, and all this with English and the USA being a second language and country. 

“In addition, Gustys has dealt with a series of injuries that could have impacted him in many ways in his career, but they didn’t. He dealt with them, accepted the bad luck and got himself back to playing and playing at a high level. Gustys is a leader and is as good a leader as we have on campus. He leads by example more than by words. He lives the ‘make good decisions’ and ‘represent the team in the highest way possible’ battle cries that we preach. When he talks all heads turn because he is liked and respected!

“When his four years are up, we will have to find a way to replace the player, and that will be a challenge. But replacing the person, that will be next to impossible.” 

- Joe Mihalich, Head Men’s Basketball Coach

Community

“Gustys is consistently involved and engaged in the community and charitable activities. When he is not playing the game of basketball himself, Gustys utilizes his talent to teach and mentor young children about the basic fundamental skills of basketball and other sports. He’s done this by volunteering his time to work the little brothers and little sisters of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island. In addition to that, he has participated in the local food drives, worked with the town of Hempstead in organizing clinics for students at a few local parks and visited local elementary schools with his teammates and held clinics for those students as well.

“Gustys has served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) as a representative for the men’s basketball program. In this group he worked with his fellow student-athletes in planning community service projects to get involved with.

“This past summer he worked at the Hofstra summer camp in the recreation department, and the campers loved his energy and positive attitude. The summer camp program held an adult volleyball fundraising event to raise scholarship money to support campers interested in attending the camp but could not as a result of financial hardships. According to the camp director, Terry Ryan, ‘Gustys was the first one to sign up and help with this program, and he could not have been a better person to work with.’”

- Rachelle Fabre, Assistant Director of Athletics/Student-Athlete Services and Life Skills Development

Competition

One of the greatest rebounders to ever suit up for the Pride and to play in the Colonial Athletic Association, Gustys entered his senior campaign with 933 career rebounds and 857 career points. He is on pace to become only the second player in the program’s NCAA Division I history to reach 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds and only the third-ever to reach 1,000 career rebounds (program history).

As of nomination time, Gustys’ 933 rebounds ranked third all-time, and he was only 253 rebounds behind Irving for the program’s Division I mark. In addition, with 143 more points, he will become only the 34th player in program history to reach 1,000 career points.

In the CAA annals, Gustys ranked 12th in the history of the conference in rebounding as of nomination time. He was 20 shy of reaching the conference’s top 10 list and 381 from the top spot, currently held by David Robinson, who played for Navy from 1983-87.

Gustys is coming off a 2016-17 season in which he averaged 12.1 rebounds and 9.2 points per game. He led the CAA and ranked fourth nationally in rebounding.