By John Napolitano — STAFF WRITER
The final pages are closing on the collegiate careers of Hofstra’s graduating seniors, and for three of the Pride’s women’s basketball stars, the shot clock has unfortunately expired. Darius Faulk, Asia Jackson and Jakelle King-Gilchrist played their final season in blue and gold threads and their contributions cannot be understated.
They combined for 485 rebounds, 535 assists and 1,534 points for the Pride. Their efforts pushed Hofstra to the CAA Championship last year and gave the Pride two Women’s National Invitation Tournament berths in the last four years.
King-Gilchrist left Teaneck High School with an impressive resumé. She was just the second Highwaywoman to score 1,000 points in her high school career, well surpassing that figure with 1,543 points. King-Gilchrist transferred from Florida State University and joined the Pride for its 2013-14 run. She certainly stepped up as a senior member of the team, having scored 175 points this past season – more than her first two seasons combined.
“Being a part of this team has given me so many opportunities to meet new people, build relationships, lifetime friendships and receive a great education. Being a part of this team, I learned so much about myself and life. I have faced a lot of adversity that tried to bring me down and that has molded me into a better woman and allowed me to build great character,” King-Gilchrist said.
The guard from Teaneck, New Jersey, is the definition of a hard worker. This is seen in her three years at Hofstra, where King-Gilchrist has progressively improved in just about every offensive scoring category imaginable. Her transformation into a leader of the team is evident in the drastic increase of her allotted minutes per season. Even her incredible success rate at the foul line speaks to her diligent work behind the curtain.
“It was an amazing journey wearing blue and gold and doing big things with a strong-willed team, and for that I thank Hofstra,” King-Gilchrist said.
King-Gilchrist looks to potentially intern for the WNBA’s New York Liberty after graduation.
“I’m definitely going to miss playing here and how much of a sisterhood we had as a team. I’m going to miss my teammates. Coach K has meant a lot to me throughout the last four years. She pushed me on the court and made me better as a player and person,” Asia Jackson said.
Jackson spent her entire career at Hofstra and that shows in her impressive point total. In four years, she has accumulated 697 points for the Pride. The 2015-16 season saw Jackson score 203 points, which was good for her second most productive campaign and just 10 points shy of her single-season record.
The woman who was named Peeksill’s Most Outstanding Female Athlete was just that this year from beyond the arc. Jackson improved her three-point shooting percentage from .318 in her junior year to .443 her senior year. She sank 39 three-pointers in 88 attempts, which led the team in terms of sharpshooting success.
After graduation, Jackson plans on taking her three-point game overseas.
Darius Faulk, the hometown heroine, transferred to Hofstra from West Virginia before the 2014-15 campaign. The Hempstead native was ranked 60th overall in the nation coming out of Nazareth High School.
She may have only had 64 games under her belt as the Pride’s primary point guard, but Faulk made a big splash in a short time. Point guards are responsible for finding the hot hand and Faulk did it better than anyone else. She leaves Hofstra with 336 assists, more than anyone else in the last two seasons.
“It has been an honor. I have grown in a lot of ways by being a part of this program and I will never forget all of the great memories I have here,” Faulk said.
Beyond being an excellent catalyst on the court, Faulk always played a few inches taller than expected from a 5-foot-8-inch playmaker. She posted 302 rebounds in her Hofstra career, 162 just this past season – the third most on the team.
The former New York State Federation Class AA champion accredits some of her success and confidence as a basketball player to Coach Kilburn-Steveskey.
“She’s probably one of the most caring coaches I have had on and off the floor. She always pushed me to be a better player and always helped me gain my confidence in many areas I wasn’t confident in as a basketball player,” Faulk said.
Faulk’s favorite memory at Hofstra is when the Pride defeated the Dukes of James Madison University just after they were ranked 22nd in the country.
Like Jackson, Faulk also plans to play overseas after graduation. There is still a chance we can see the chemistry they developed at Hofstra translate abroad.
“I don’t have anywhere specific in mind. I wouldn’t mind playing with Asia, but we would just have to weigh our options and see if we have the opportunity to get in somewhere together,” Faulk said.