Stukes goes from La Salle High to university

Posted: August 17, 2012

IT WAS the allure of playing in the Big 5 that got him. Amar Stukes, the 6-1 senior combo guard from La Salle High School, is staying close to home, deciding to attend La Salle University.

For Stukes, the chance to play at home in front of family and friends was simply the icing on the cake. Taking part in a tradition as rich as the Big 5 was the only selling point Stukes needed.

"I'm glad that I will be getting a chance to play so close to home in front of my family, but really, I am really excited to play for Coach G [La Salle head coach John Giannini] in the Big 5," Stukes said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "Some of the best basketball players, not just to come out of this city but to play in the NBA, played for a Big 5 school. To me, that was really what got me."

Stukes, 19, becomes the first La Salle High player to commit to the university since 6-6 forward Craig Conlin committed before the 1985-86 season.

Just last week, Stukes' teammate, Steve Smith, committed to Fairfield, giving the high school its third Division I player in 2 years. Last season, guard Eddie Mitchell committed to Rider.

Stukes also considered Fairfield, as well as Binghamton and Drexel - the latter a strong possibility, given the Dragons' dominance in conference play last season.

"It was close; when I went to visit Drexel, I really liked it," Stukes said. "I just felt like the Big 5 is what won me over. It's a great school, and [head coach] Bruiser Flint is a great coach; I just like La Salle better."

Stukes, a first-team All-Catholic selection, averaged 13.4 points in his junior season. His ballhandling and defense are considered by scouts as his best assets.

But . . .

"I need to get bigger," said Stukes, who is listed on the team website at 6-1, 165. "I am going to be going up against some big competition, so I really am going to focus my energy now on improving my basketball skills and getting stronger.

"For now, I am just really happy. I am still undecided on what I will major in, but I have time. Right now, I am just glad that the hard part is over. Now for me, the fun begins."

Contact Kerith Gabriel at

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