Accaoui Has Total Package

Joey Accaoui knows what people think when he steps onto the court. He's just barely 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds, but his work ethic and perimeter shot are off the charts - and those are just two reasons why he's racked up more than 1,000 career points entering his senior year at St. Andrew's (R.I.).

This space is usually reserved for high-major players looking at schools in the ACC, Big Ten or the other handful of major conferences. Joey Accaoui may not be getting looks from the big-time schools, but he's above his peers in numerous other ways.

The 5-foot-10, 160-pound St. Andrew's (R.I.) senior guard can make shots as well as just about anyone in the Class of 2007. He knocked down 18 of 25 in a 3-point contest last month and is consistent with his marksmanship from long distance.

Accaoui is also a 3.8 student whose work ethic is off the charts. If this sounds like a public relations campaign, to some extent it is.

You may not run across a better individual than Joey Accaoui. Period.

Longwood and St. Francis (N.Y.) have offered scholarships, but Accaoui's size (or lack thereof) and the fact that he hasn't been able to showcase himself as a point guard until recently continues to plague in his recruitment.

``When I was younger, guys used to know I was a shooter and put pressure on me," Accaoui said. "I'd get shaken up back then, but now it's different."

Now Accaoui, who averaged 14.5 points per game as a junior, is the most consistent player on a St. Andrew's team that is likely to crack the Top 25 when the USA Today releases its preseason high school rankings.

The bigger the game, the better Accaoui plays.

``In his three years against teams with post-grads, he's averaged more than 18 points per game," St. Andrew's coach Mike Hart said. "I thought he'd have to play varsity 2 (the lower varsity team) for a year because of his size, but he proved me wrong and he's proven many people wrong in his life."

``In my 13 years at St. Andrew's, I've been fortunate to have some hard-working, great kids," added Hart. "But no one has ever outworked Joey on the court or in the classroom and I'm surprised more schools haven't gotten involved with him."

Accaoui has already surpassed the 1,000-point barrier in his three years at St. Andrew's and he also showed he could run a team this past summer with the New England Playaz.

``I have a lot more confidence now," Accaoui admitted. "Before the summer people were saying I was a D-2 player and was an April signee."

``He's a point guard, but we've got (Andrew) Hanson and (Mike) Culpo," Hart said. "I have other point guards, but Joey's going to be a great point guard at the college level."

Coaches started to realize that Accaoui can play with the ball in his hands and in addition to the offers from Longwood and St. Francis, there is interest from the likes of Sacred Heart, High Point, Lafayette, Holy Cross, St. Peter's and UNH.

The big question for Accaoui is whether to sign this year or spend a year in the prep ranks working on his floor game and body.

``If I get stronger, I'm going to get better," he said. "I know that.

``It's tough for me because I saw for myself what one month could do," Accaoui added. "Who knows what one year can do playing the point?"

``Then again, I don't want to hurt myself and spent a whole year and end up getting the same offers," he continued.

Accaoui's offseason routine is a primary reason for his success – on and off the court. He wakes up early, gets something quick to eat and heads to the weight room. After he focuses on his legs, it's off to the gym for a workout at 10 a.m.

A couple hours later, it's time for lunch. Then he returns to the gym for an upper-body workout followed by some rest and then a night full of pickup ball or in a local summer league filled with college players.

``I know people question me, so I have to work hard every day," he said.

That's just one reason for his success. There are many others.

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