Gjonlekaj Named Co-Player Of Week

Mark Gjonlekaj with the rock
Mark Gjonlekaj with the rock

The 2014-15 basketball season ended last week for the Old Westbury Panthers as they lost to Sage College in Skyline Conference semifinal action.

But the loss didn’t take away from another solid year Old Westbury star and Roslyn native Mark Gjonlekaj. As the Panthers stormed into the playoff, Gjonlekaj received regional honors, being named a Men’s Basketball Divisions II-III Honorable Mention choice for games played Feb. 16 to 22.

The award was given by the Met Basketball Writers Association (MBWA), an organization that honors players from throughout the highly competitive New York metropolitan area. That wasn’t all. For the same week’s action,

Gjonlekaj was named the Skyline Conference’s Co-Player of the Week. It was the second time Gjonlekaj has received such an honor. He also took Player of the Week honors for games played Jan. 5 to 11.

Mark Gjonlekaj in action against Purchase College
Mark Gjonlekaj in action against Purchase College

And finally, Gjonlekaj earned All-Skyline Conference second team honors for a year in which he contributed heavily to the Panthers’ fortunes on both offense and defense. Joining Gjonlekaj on the second team was his teammate, Reynaldo Walters.

Gjonlekaj’s big week was capped by a 29-point game performance in the Panthers 80-67 win over Maritime. In that game, Gjonlekaj also had 10 rebounds and nine blocked shots. Of his 29 points, 15 of them came from baskets made beyond the three-point line.

For the week, Gjonlekaj averaged 19 points and eight rebounds per game. For the regular season, Gjonlekaj finished with a healthy 12.2 scoring average. He also ranked fourth in Skyline Conference play in blocked shots, seventh in field goal percentage and 13th in scoring. On defense, he averaged 1.3 steals per game, in addition to 1.4 blocked shots per game.

Old Westbury opened play in the Skyline Conference Championship Tournament with an 82-70 win over Yeshiva University. In that win, Gjonlekaj scored 10 points and assisted on defense with two blocked shots.

“My sophomore season was one to remember by starting off the season 0-9 and ending as a contender for the Skyline Conference Championship as the number four seed,” Gjonlekaj told The Roslyn News. “I see plenty of room for improvement for myself, our returning guys, and the new guys to come.”

“Mark is making consistent progress,” added Bernard Tomlin, Old Westbury’s head coach. “We believe that he can elevate his all around game to another level.”

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Joe Scotchie is the editor of both The Roslyn News and New Hyde Park Illustrated News. In 2009, he won a New York State Press Association award for a sports feature. Joseph Scotchie’s past publications include biographies of Thomas Wolfe and Richard Weaver and a comprehensive history of the city of Asheville, North Carolina.

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