On the court, Peter Hooley was one of the most creative and unorthodox shooters on the University at Albany roster.
Off the court, he was also one of the Great Danes’ most cerebral and thoughtful players.
Hooley, who became the first sophomore in 15 years to be named an America East Conference Most Outstanding Player of the conference tournament, added to his many laurels Wednesday when he earned the AE Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year. He shared the honor with Vermont senior Luke Apfeld.
Hooley has a 3.51 grade point average through five semesters as a double major in journalism and psychology. He received Capital One NCAA Division I Academic All-District First Team honors in January.
During the regular season, the Adelaide, Australia native led the Great Danes in scoring at 15.5 points per game and ranked first in the league in minutes played (35.1 mpg). He was second in free-throw percentage (.852). He was selected to the conference’s Second Team.
During the tournament, the 6-foot-4, 200-pound shooting guard averaged 23.7 ppg in three games to lead the 19-15 Great Danes to their second consecutive tournament crown and NCAA tourney appearance.
“It was an incredible season for all of us,” said Hooley. “We saved our best for last, when it really mattered. We really never gave up and never gave in. I think good things happen when you believe in each other.”
Hooley played the entire season worried about his mother, who was ill back in Australia. She battled colon cancer for more than three years and recently had surgery on a lung, but she is doing much better.
“Personally, I had a lot on my mind, and that was motivating me,” he said. “My mother is out of the hospital now, and once her lung has healed, she will have new life for herself. We’re all very happy.”
Hooley, who earned a medical redshirt as a true freshman and sat out his initial season after just three games, is the fourth UAlbany male basketball player to be named an America East Scholar Athlete of the year. He joins Joe Vukoic (2001-02), Brian Lillis (2007-08) and Logan Aronhalt (2011-12).
He has two more seasons of varsity basketball eligibility left. He and fellow Australian Sam Rowley will be the nucleus on next year’s team. After graduation, he will most likely try his hand at the professional game.. If that doesn’t work out he says his strong education at UAlbany will help him find a good job.
“I love to write, but as far as my journalism is concerned, I would probably pick something in radio,” he said. “I worked for a radio company back home. Plus, I do love sports psychology, and I could always do something with that. But for now, my basketball career is my first priority.”