Combo guard Loren Stokes has started five games for the Erie BayHawks (32-18) this season.
There are times when Loren Stokes shows why he scored 2,148 career points at Hofstra. Then he’ll have moments of indecision and make mistakes.
However, Erie coach Jay Larranaga feels as if Stokes is finding his groove at the right time as the fifth-seeded BayHawks play Game 1 of their best-of-three series against second-seeded Reno on Sunday at 5 p.m. at Tullio Arena.
“He’s comfortable,” Larranaga said. “He’s got a different games than most guys. He’s a basketball player. You put him on the court. He’s going to get rebounds. He’s going to get assists. Going to get points.”
In 22 games with Erie, Stokes, a Buffalo native, is averaging only 4.8 points, three rebounds and 2.1 assists. He shooting 53.8 percent from the field, but has only made 1-of-5 shots from 3-point range and is just 21-of-41 from the free throw line.
Stokes has only scored in double figures twice this season, going for 11 in losses against Iowa and Tulsa, but Larranaga had high praise for him.
“I don’t know if you can actually put him in a box of he’s a point guard, he’s a 2-guard,” Larranaga said. “He’s just a basketball player. My way of thinking, I am very specialized and I like organization and stuff. So Loren is one of those guys that I just want to put him out there and trust that he’s going to make the right decisions almost every time. I think he’s comfortable.”
Larranaga remembers watching Stokes have big games in college against George Mason, who is coached by Larranaga’s dad, Jim.
“He killed my dad’s team for four straight years,” Larranaga said. “He competes defensively. He rebounds and he’s a very good offensive player. So I think he’s ended the season well. Thought he played really well against Maine and against Iowa so we’re hoping he can be a big part of us in the playoffs.”