Everywhere that Stony Brook Men’s Basketball senior point guard Lucas Woodhouse plays, he is viewed as the quiet leader, leading by example, whose competitive nature is the vehicle of his leadership.
“He definitely isn’t a rah-rah type of guy, but he puts his hard-hat on every single day,” head coach Jeff Boals said. “He’s a guy who has been there and done that and has the most experience on the team.”
During the 2015-16 season, Woodhouse shot a team-leading 44.9 percent from three-point range and ranked second on Stony Brook in assists. This season, he is being asked to adopt a shoot-first mentality and to have a more vocal presence as the team’s leader.
“Coach is instilling confidence in me,” Woodhouse said. “He is trying to get the most out of me as a player and I think I am responding very well and learning every day from him.”
Woodhouse is the only returning member of the starting five of last season’s America East Championship team. Despite lacing up for the first time as a Seawolf last season, Woodhouse is being asked to be a leader on and off the court for the new-look Seawolves.
Jameel Warney was undoubtedly the leader of last season’s team, winning his third Kevin Roberson Player of the Year award en route to leading his team to the first America East Championship win. He graduated alongside Carson Puriefoy and Rayshaun McGrew, last season’s second and third leading scorers respectively. Warney used to wrap his arms around his teammates in between plays to talk about the next play and keep his teammates focused on the task at hand. Woodhouse is looking to increase his vocal presence on the court as well.
“When it’s a dead ball, grabbing guys and huddling them up,” Boals said. “As a coach you definitely want that coach on the floor. He definitely has a high IQ and definitely knows how to get it done.”
Boals gained a good idea of what to expect of Woodhouse by talking to Jayson Gee, who hired Boals as an assistant basketball coach at the University of Charleston in West Virginia. Gee was very familiar with Woodhouse because he had coached him at Longwood University where Lucas had transferred from before attending Stony Brook.
“He was a godsend. He was so talented.” Gee said of his former player. “Individually he helped us be competitive despite the fact we didn’t have much talent.”
His competitive drive radiated with his teammates at Longwood, his teammates at Stony Brook and his teammates at Harborfields High School in Huntington, New York.
Woodhouse was a five-year player on the varsity team under coach Chris Agostino, who Woodhouse credits as his greatest influence in his basketball career. He had a knack for making players around him better. In his senior season, he broke the school record for assists in a single game with 22.
“He talks about how much I influenced his life, he doesn’t know how much he influenced my life,” Agostino said.
Agostino points to Woodhouse for turning the Harborfields boys basketball team from a solid program to one of the top programs on Long Island. In doing that, he elevated Agostino’s status as a coach.
After losing in the state championship game and having two seniors graduate, Agostino asked his point guard to step up as more of an offensive player, and to become more of a leader. During his senior season at Harborfields, he averaged 16 points and 13 assists per game en route to earning first team All-State honors and a state championship, the school’s first in any sport.
What Agostino asked him to do in his senior year is similar to what Boals is now telling him to do as he enters his final season with the Seawolves. So far this season, Boals notices Woodhouse has been stopping practices to take players aside to go through plays, as he looks to become more of a vocal leader.
He is again becoming the leader at Stony Brook that he was at Longwood and Harborfields High School. He begun to use his experience to take on a “mentor” role to incoming freshman and transfers.
Like Woodhouse, freshman point guard Mike Almonacy is a Long Island resident. The freshman and recent Brentwood High School graduate has commended his teammates basketball IQ and growing leadership qualities.
“He’s been more of a mentor to me, a great friend,” Almonacy said. “He has a great basketball IQ. I just constantly try to pick apart his brain, seeing how he plays and is able to find open angles.”
While Boals said Woodhouse is still learning to become more of a vocal leader, he believes his point guard is headed in the right direction. Woodhouse looks to use his past experiences as a championship-winning athlete to lead the charge in a new era of Seawolves basketball.