Thursday, February 22, 2007
By Mike Ballard
CAMDEN - Imani Hafiz (Franklinville, NJ/Delsea Regional) has long been one of the top track athletes in the New Jersey Athletic Conference, and now the Rutgers University-Camden junior guard has been recognized by the NJAC for her basketball abilities as well.
Hafiz captured All-NJAC Honorable Mention when the conference released its women's basketball all-star teams Thursday. The honor capped a fine season for the quick 5-5 guard, who is one of the NCAA Division III national leaders in steals per game.
Hafiz collected 108 steals as a junior, the second-highest season mark in program history and three more than she had as a sophomore. Not only is she the only player in program history with a pair of 100-steal seasons, but she also has hiked her career total to 277 steals, second on the Lady Raptors' career list. In her final game of the season, she passed the old second-place mark of 275, held by Jen Hans (1991-95). She will enter her senior season only 68 steals shy of the career mark of 345, set by Tamara Carey from 1991-95.
Hafiz finished her junior year averaging 4.3 steals per game. That mark currently ranks fourth nationally in Division III as some teams head into post-season play. She also ranked fourth nationally last season in steals per game (4.4).
Hafiz also led the Raptors in scoring (12.8 ppg), was second on the team in assists (58) and blocks (11) and finished third in rebounding (5.9 rpg) during her junior season.
Hafiz earned a berth on the All-James P. Richardson Memorial Tip-Off Tournament Team (Nov. 17-18, 2006) and was a member of the national D3hoops.com Team of the Week Feb. 1. She earned the school’s Raptor of the Week honor on Jan. 29 and Feb. 12, while sharing honors with teammate Carmen Oyola (Hammonton, NJ/Hammonton) on Jan. 8.
This season Hafiz had a pair of double-doubles, including 10 steals and 15 points against Eastern (Nov. 28) and a 20-point, 13-rebound game against Rowan Feb. 7.
In addition to her steals, Hafiz has scored 673 points, grabbed 387 rebounds and dished off 139 assists in her first three Raptor seasons. She also holds the school single-game record with 11 steals, set against Montclair State University Jan. 4, 2006.
Hafiz also has been a standout track athlete at Rutgers-Camden. She holds the program’s indoor records in the 55-meter dash (7.60) and triple jump (33-9.25), both set at the NJAC Championships Feb. 19, 2006. She earned All-NJAC Second Team honors in the triple jump with her second-place finish, while placing fourth at 55 meters.
During the 2006 outdoor NJAC Track & Field Championships (May 6), Hafiz finished second in the triple jump (10.95 meters) and ran on a pair of Lady Raptor relay teams, finishing second in the 4x400 (4:17.19) and third in the 4x100 (50.11). Those results helped her earn All-NJAC Second Team in both the triple jump and 4x400, in addition to All-NJAC Honorable Mention in the 4x100.
As a freshman, she earned All-NJAC Second Team honors in both the triple jump and the 4x100 relay, and she also earned a varsity letter as a member of the Lady Raptors’ 2005 cross country team.
Hafiz was a three-year basketball and track captain at Delsea Regional High School, who also played soccer for the Crusaders. She collected 11 varsity letters overall (four apiece in basketball and track and three in soccer), including her junior year of high school spent in Georgia, where she finished fifth in the state as a long jumper and won a state championship on the 4x400 relay team.
A Business Management major at Rutgers-Camden, Imani is the daughter of Fatima Hafiz and Rasool Wahid of Franklinville.