Dominican Univ. of California

Benjamin Granados
Benjamin Granados - C

Team: Dominican Univ. of California Penguins [ID #564] Bookmark Dominican Univ. of California Penguins

Location: San Rafael, CA (West)

Conference: I.1 [Division 1]

President: gards710 send message
          [since May 17th 2020 | last seen January 28th 2022]

Coach: Rahsaan McCartney

Arena: Conlan Center

Rank: #7

Rating: 356.99 - Overall Position: #15

Fan Mood: 111.85

Alumni Mood: 154.25

Prestige: 132

Team Notes:

• Feb 23 2023: 2-star prospect Benjamin Granados committed.
• Dec 03 2022: 5-star prospect Marcus Choate committed.
• Nov 26 2022: 3-star prospect Conner Pillar committed.
• Mar 13 2022: Made the national tournament field.
• Feb 24 2022: 2-star prospect Thomas Dawson committed.
• Jan 29 2022: 2-star prospect Adam Wójcik committed.
• Dec 16 2021: 2-star prospect Elwood Day committed.
• Sep 02 2021: Promoted to conference I.1.
• Jun 29 2021: Bruce Spann was drafted round #1, pick #4 by Toronto.
• Mar 14 2021: Made the national tournament field.


Wins: 8 Losses: 1 Pct: .889     Conf Wins: 0 Conf Losses: 0 Conf Pct: .000 Conf Rank: 4     Last10: 8-1 Streak: W2

Pts Ave: 85.2 - 66.1     Pts Diff: +19.1     Team Power Index: 152.1

Press Releases:

Oct 21 2023: Glacial Freeze Upon DUCA? - by gards710 on January 21st, 2022

After enduring their worst season in 2023 since president gards710 took over, albeit this one in Legends, the Dominican University of California Penguins took a long at themselves. “We just didn’t have a team that worked. Didn’t improve as much as we hoped, didn’t gel on the court,” said head coach Rahsaan McCartney. “We were lucky to survive the bloodbath.”

“While we did not have the season some may have come to expect from us recently, we are happy we are able to continue playing in the top conference in the game,” said president gards710 to boosters during the athletics fundraising banquet held early in the summer while trying to milk them for more money.

Arriving to practice in his Ferrari, senior star Brian Hofmeister is feeling the spotlight. Coming into his junior year, there were several questions about Hofmeister. Was he going to let missing the national championship game due to a leg injury and DUCA’s subsequent loss eat at him or was he going to use it to drive him? Could he handle being the clear threat on offense and the workload and attention that comes with it? Well, he was in the gym as usual, improving on his game massively, and he responded by being named All-Legends once again and…receiving his first National Player of the Year award. However, some feel that the award was not deserved, as Hofmeister’s production went down in many aspects and he failed to lead DUCA to its usual level of success as the leader. How will Hof follow it up?

Going into his senior year, Hofmeister is viewed by many as the best player in college and it’s always been his goal to be the top pick in the draft. He’s already being looked at by scouts as a player who could currently be a top 10 player in the pros. His production has yet to really speak to that level of talent though. Some have said that DUCA’s style has hampered Hofmeister’s talent and stats. And while Hof will get his, it’s always been about one thing at DUCA: winning.

“We’ve always prioritized the team over the individual. We’re excited for Brian and the team as a whole. We think Brian has a great shot to earn the individual accomplishments on top of helping lead the team this season.”

With all that said about the senior star, there are questions about what position he will line up at. After being entrenched at small forward for over two years, Hof actually lined up at power forward late last season and in exhibition games to start. His size, skill, and strength should enable him to be solid there, but he loses many advantages and strengths he had out on the perimeter. Then, in the first two regular season games of the 2024 season, he was back at small forward. Why all the shifting? “We’re just experimenting and giving me more versatility. I'm willing to do whatever the team needs me to do for us to win,” said Hofmeister, who then put his arm around a young teammate next to him. “And trying to get this new young goat the experience he needs to take over when I’m ballin’ in the pros.”

That “new young goat” would be freshman Marcus Choate, who like Hof before him, drives to practice in a sports car, Choate's choice being a Corvette, and comes in as the top rated Californian in his class and with big potential. Where Choate plays depends on where Hof lines up, but Choate has logged minutes at the 2 and 3 so far this season. Choate appears to be the heir apparent to Hof, with a similar skillset. But some people think Choate might eventually be even better. “Trust me, this kid can ball,” said Hof. Choate smiled before ducking under Hof’s hold. “Never before has a team had two players of this caliber. We’re gonna do some things.”

If Hof is at power forward, word is that last year’s sixth man, swingman Chris Teal, would join the starting lineup. A quickdraw southpaw who was mostly seen as a defender early on, Aquaman picked up his scoring and shooting efficiency last season. If Hof is at his usual small forward spot, then it is still undecided who will start at PF. It’s already been well documented that the coaching staff has not been pleased with redshirt sophomore Marc Chapman’s development, as it was still lackluster after being called out. And now, redshirt freshman Elwood Day, who has shown a better work ethic is available. Day brings a bit more size and heft along with a more traditional big man skillset while Chapman should help space the floor with his speed and shooting. What do Hof, Choate, and the team need more to achieve success? It might be based on the matchup. “Sometimes, I feel like we could really use that inside force sucking in the defense away from Hof and now MC on the perimeter," said McCartney. “Other times, that spacing is helpful to stretch and strain the defense.”

The other two spots, point guard and center, seem a bit more entrenched, with redshirt seniors Lucas Cunningham and Ben Fong returning as starters.

The bench will be made up of Glenn Wolfe and Thomas Dawson on the perimeter, then two of Teal, Day, and Chapman, and the Pol Adam Wojcik, who has been all but shunned to getting towels for his teammates and helping them with their foreign language class requirements.

The 2023 recruiting class might be hailed as one of the best ever at Dominican. Of course, there is Choate, who will play right away. But the other two will redshirt their first seasons on campus.

  • Conner Pillar - from Fresno, CA, stands 5’11”, 200 lbs, 6’8” wingspan. Pillar was the first to sign, showing how smart and quick he is on and off the court. Pillar averaged 10.9 ppg with 2.0 threes a game, and 2.0 assists per game along with a 37.1% opponents FG% in his senior season. For his high school career, he scored 10.6 ppg, 1.7 3pg, 1.5 apg, on 38.6%/31.4%/68.1% shooting.

    From the coaches: “Conner popped up for us pretty late in recruiting. It took us a while to realize how well he fit in here. He’s similar to our point guard of the past 4 years, Jay Gillespie [editor's note: who is somehow 3rd all time in SI in program history??], who just graduated. Able to run like the wind and make plays for himself and others, and be a threat to shoot. But he’s a bigger threat to score.”
  • Benjamin Granados - from Chicago, Illinois, stands 7’, 225 lbs, with a 7’1” wingspan. While Granados was a 7-footer in high school, he was still a gem of a find amongst the skysc*beep*rs in Chicago. Granados averaged 13.6 ppg on 61.9% shooting, 11.2 boards a game, 1.2 steals a game, 1 block a game, with a remarkable 63.4% eFG in his senior season. He averaged 9.3 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 0.9 spg, 0.5 bpg on 56.3% FG% throughout high school.

    From the coaches: “We’re very excited about Ben. Y’all remember Angel Reyes? How could you forget! Well while Ben isn’t quite as gargantuan as Angel, (who is really?), Ben is more skilled. But he’s more like a string bean than the Sears Tower, so he’ll redshirt to bulk up.”

With the new arrivals, a new era of Dominican basketball is upon us. Will the third year in Legends bring the Penguins the Big Catch?

Feb 16 2023: Chapman On Chopping Block - by gards710 on December 30th, 2021

Questions have arisen regarding redshirt freshman Marc Chapman's future with the program after a heated talk with President gards710 and the coaching staff. Chapman was a highly touted recruit (#403 overall, #19 in CA in 2021) and was slated to be a starter next year at the latest. "He’s lazy and lethargic, he'd rather pig out at the dining hall than put in work at practice,” said president gards710. It seems the last straw was the recent development updates, that, while crude and do not show everything, shows little improvement from Chapman. “These kids just expect everything to be handed to them, There used to be a culture here of working hard. And that’s changed for some reason. We don’t need that here,” said head coach Rahsaan McCartney, who then stated the open spot in the starting lineup could be handed immediately to recently committed 5-star recruit Marcus Choate.

Oct 06 2022: Leg-Wait For It-'Guin-Dary Again! - by gards710 on November 21st, 2021

“What do you mean we don’t promote???” The president exclaimed, slamming his office desk when told that the Dominican University of California Penguins would remain in Legends, Hardwood’s top conference, for the 2023 campaign. Despite finishing in third place in 2022, which would normally be good enough for the team to promote, there was no such reward waiting for the program. After the program had promoted for four straight seasons from LL5 in 2018 to LL1 in 2022, the Penguins had gotten used to the feeling. Please forgive them for the confusion.

2022 Season recap: After an undefeated non-conference slate, prognosticators had the Penguins pegged in the upper group of the conference, but internally, the goal was to just survive. Head coach Rahsaan McCartney, in his 9th season with DUCA, didn’t know what to expect. No one did. “We were going up against the best of the best and we didn’t know what was in store for us.” And 5 games in, things were looking bad, with unexpected losses already on the docket and a rough stretch against the nation’s top 4 teams all in a row on the road plus an injury to backup swingman Chris Teal reducing the depth. But DUCA managed to go 2-2 in that stretch and then rattled off 6 straight wins. While no massive runs were made, solid stretches scattered the schedule and the Penguins found themselves atop a pile of teams in the mid table, only to lose their first round matchup in the conference playoff against Chowan.

National Tourney recap: That performance was good enough to receive a bid to the National Tournament as a 5 seed. Thanks to their balanced attack and small tweaks, Dominican was able to knock off strong and up and coming programs such as Southern Illinois and Southern Miss. Then came a battle with fellow Legends leaguer North Greenville, who had shown massive improvement after a lineup change, including a 24 point drubbing of DUCA in Tigerville to start the second half of conference play. But a stifling defensive performance carried the Penguins to the Elite 8 where they would face LSU, a team with top end talent and gargantuan players. DUCA was able to survive and eked out a 94-89 win to head to the Final Four for a matchup with uber-freshmen Ollie Mann and Iona. In an intense back-and-forth game, Dominican pulled out the win thanks to a hot start by Hofmeister that allowed Reyes to take over later. The Penguins were heading to the championship game to face former V.3, IV.2, and III.1 conference mate Alabama Crimson Tide, perhaps the top team in the Hardwood Universe all season. But then the team doctors came into the locker room after the game and brought the bad news: star sophomore Brian Hofmeister had hurt his leg after fouling out in 16 minutes. Hof pleaded to play, but everyone knew his future was more important, even moreso than the National Championship game.

The game started out as well as anyone could have hoped, with the Penguins holding as much as a 12 point lead late in the first half. But Alabama managed to close the deficit to 4 points by the buzzer and then the slow drip started. And despite Bama’s star big man Billy Ray Zhang fouling out, Dan Nash came through with a net-scorching 35 points on 8 three pointers to lead Bama to victory. It was a valiant effort by the Penguins, with 4 starters logging career highs in minutes played.

“Congrats to Alabama. With Brian out, no doubt we had a lot to make up for,” remarked McCartney. “I thought we had a great game plan vs Bama and I’m proud with how we performed. We asked a lot of everyone else and guys stepped up. It was not to be, but it was a fantastic run nonetheless.” As a result, Dominican is once again etched into the record books as the national runners-up, alongside Alabama and last year's national runners up, the College of New Rochelle Blue Angels, whom President gards710 maintains are "frauds."

2023 preview:
With the weight of his absence for the National Championship on his shoulders, Hofmeister returns hungry. After garnering his first All-Legends honor, the junior is the first uber-prospect to be in Legends for two seasons (although Toledo’s Derrick Campbell can also make this claim). And he wants to make his presence felt for the Penguins, who open the season at #5 in the polls. Coaches have let him know that an increase in playing time and hopefully production is in order. And the Penguins will need it after graduating two starters in All-Tourney selection Glen Palmer and the immensely massive Angel Reyes, who both graduate as two of the most distinguished Penguins of all time.

PG Jay Gillespie continues to improve and now as a redshirt senior will be one of the main leaders of the team. And while his job may be simplified to “get the ball to Hof” Gillespie is a lethal weapon in his own right. Ben Fong will make the move to center to fill the massive shoes of Reyes. The once embattled recruit has now become a key member of the team, earning All-Tourney honors. Fong brings a more defensive presence than Reyes, but showed his chops on offense at times last season.

Alan Fontana and Lucas Cunningham appear to be in line to enter the starting lineup for the first time since stepping on campus. While there has been talk of RS FR Marc Chapman starting over Fontana, the RS SR showed he deserves to start after some nails performances in the national tournament, and will provide the best inside scoring threat this season, something the team needs to suck in defenses with the graduation of Reyes. The first player of three to arrive in San Rafael from Georgia, the coaching staff hopes Lucas Cunningham’s path is something the others follow. Cunningham was solid in 2022, having improved a lot over his three years and continuing to see an increase in minutes each season. Replacing Palmer in the starting lineup only continues that trajectory.

As for the bench, the depth falls off quite a bit from the starters and there is concern about that being exposed. But hopefully these players can develop quickly. Glenn Wolfe and Chris Teal will cover the perimeter positions in some configuration. Wolfe is in the same mold as Cunningham as a versatile player who can shoot, defend, handle, and pass. Teal will be seen as the first option off the bench, and will need to continue his strong play from the tourney to get the reigns taken off on offense. While there was talk of big Marc Chapman starting as a RS FR, he didn’t work hard and improve like expected and hoped. Instead of being in the gym developing his skills during his redshirt season, Chapman was in the dining halls gaining 20 lbs and grew an inch in height. “Every bit of size helps,” joked assistant coach Floyd Thompson. “We’re hoping Marc is one of those players that needs to play to improve. He’ll get his chance.” Finally, true freshman Adam Wójcik arrives from Poland much the same player he was when the coaches first saw him. He didn’t grow and only gained 5 pounds. As assistant coach Dustin Schuster puts it, “Are they even feeding kids in Poland?”

In other news, the domestic recruits have arrived and both Elwood Day and Thomas Dawson appear to have beefed up, unlike Wojcik. Day grew an inch to 6’11.5” and added 10 lbs to reach 250 lbs while Dawson sprouted up by two inches to 6’4”. “We’re very encouraged by the physical growth and growth in skills of these two. These two will redshirt and we anticipate a lot more improvement for them this season,” said assistant coach Victor Adamson.

And with the program remaining in Legends, DUCA hopes to wield that influence on the recruiting trails more, as they appear to be the frontrunner for 5-star Marcus Choate. But before Choate and any other future recruits arrive, more blocks need to be put down in this foundation, starting with focusing on this upcoming season. Let's go Pingus!

Mar 12 2022: Penguins Dive Deep For Newest Tuxedos - by gards710 on November 11th, 2021

In the throes of their first season in the top conference of Hardwood that culminated in a third place finish, the Penguins flew around the world to find and sign three 2-star prospects to form the 2022 recruiting class. None of the three are from California, an increasingly common occurrence for Dominican. That's what happens when you lose a few recruiting battles, and midway through the recruiting cycle, not only have to scour the world for players, but have the "chutzpah" to do so.

"We lost a few recruiting battles, players we really wanted," stated head coach Rahsaan McCartney. "Guys like Bill Hart and Gregg Picco, Don Thompson, it hurt. But these guys, I don't know, maybe they weren't up to the challenge of playing in the top conference, having that pressure, having that spotlight on them. The guys who did sign up, who we are bringing in. They do. And we're excited for that."

Hart, currently the 303rd-ranked prospect in the class and the 16th-ranked in California, particularly stung, as Dominican was the first team to show interest during his junior season. But a strong push late last season and early this season by Long Beach State was able to woo Hart. The Penguins moved on to Picco, a guard from Mississippi, and things were heading in a positive direction, until Arkansas Fort-Smith's charismatic head coach Greg Wronski started flapping his gums and convinced Picco to stay in the South. We're still big fans of both and wish them all the best. But this isn't about them. It's about the players who did commit to the Penguins. So let's introduce them!
  • Elwood Day - from Carrollton, Georgia, the third player from Georgia on the team, is a giant 6'10.5", 240 lbs big with a 7'3.5" wingspan. Day put up averages of 15.8 ppg, 10.8 rpg, and 1.1 bpg on 62% FG% in his senior season, along with an astounding 63.1% eFG and 1.22 points per possession. Through his high school career, Day averaged 9.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg, and 0.6 bpg on 52.2% FG%.

    From the coaches: "Elwood is the type of player we love - has a great combo of size, strength, and speed, works hard, has consistently improved throughout high school, knows what to work on. We though we might be in for a battle with North Carolina Central, but luckily they received commitments from other players and had other priorities. We think he has a chance to be one of the best big men in program history, and that's saying something given our recent history."

  • Adam Wójcik - from Torun, Poland, another big who stands 6'10.5", 220 lbs, 7'3.5" wingspan. Wójcik was billed early on as one of the best bigs and most ready players in the amateur international leagues and has turned out to be a well-rounded player, albeit not a hard worker, which has caused him to drop in scouts' eyes. He averaged 11.6 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 1.2 spg, 1.2 bpg, and shot 48.9% from the field in his last year.

    From the coaches: "This season taught us that we need more depth than what we ran out there. Based on how the roster breaks down, we needed a big who could come in right away and hold his own. Wójcik fit the bill perfectly. He too has that combination of size, strength, and speed that we look for. He'll get some playing time right away."

  • Thomas Dawson - from Baltimore, Maryland, a perimeter-oriented 6'2", 195 lbs, with a 6'8.5" wingspan, Dawson quickly accepted the scholarship that Hart and Picco refused. Dawson averaged 12.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg on 43.5%/36.4%/70.2% shooting percentages with a 38.9% opponents FG% in his senior season. For his high school career, he scored 6.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg on 40.7%/35.0%/69.0% (nice) shooting.

    From the coaches: "Thomas is a gamer coming in with a chip on his shoulder. He welcomes the competition of Legends. He works hard and has consistently improved in high school. He was eager to accept our offer, loving that a team like us recognized his talent when no one else seemed to. He wants to prove everyone wrong and we're gonna give him all the tools necessary to do so."

While we're excited for the new recruits, this edition of Dominican still has work to do and must prepare for another National Tournament appearance, hoping for another deep run.

Oct 07 2021: Penguins Reach Tippy Top of Hardwood Iceberg - by gards710 on September 26th, 2021

“I was hired back in 2013,” started President gards710. “I looked at Legends and could only dream that I could lead a program to that level. That day has come. It is truly a dream come true."

Coming off a second place finish behind Bentley in II.1, the Penguins have reached the peak, entering the top conference in Hardwood, known as Legends. Entering the 2022 season, Dominican returns an experienced roster loaded with talent at the top and a developing core underneath (see below for more detailed PR).

This is a new test for Dominican. But the past three seasons have been too. And each time, they have succeeded. But is this just a lucky streak? After all, it remains to be seen if Dominican can sustain this level of play for several years like programs like Huntington, North Greenville, Tennessee, UCLA, and other mainstays in Legends. Only time will tell. And it starts in 2021!