By Vin Parise
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Yesterday I got the chance to catch up with first-year head coach Steve Masiello at Manhattan College. I caught a team practice and had a great chat with Masiello, who returns to Manhattan after six years at Louisville. Masiello knows all about winning in Riverdale. He was also an assistant at Manhattan for some of the best years in the school's history.
Here is Manhattan Basketball according to Masiello:
"The freshmen we have brought in are all from winning programs. They have all won championships and understand a winning culture. They're humble and they work very hard."
"We are going to recruit nationally. We have great ties in the area but we also have national ties on the coaching staff. We want to sell this as a national scene known as New York City basketball. A lot of young men in the midwest and south are terrific players who would love the opportunity to play basketball and get a great education in the greatest city in the world."
"Competition is very strong right now. A few years ago, not every metro area school recruited the area. Now St. John's, Fordham, Hofstra, Iona, Rutgers....everyone is recruiting the heck out of the metropolitan area."
"Our brand at Manhattan is to be the ultimate professional. The way we walk, talk, play, dress, everything. We tell the recruits and parents; this isn't about the next four years, it's about the next forty years and forming a career. In addition to winning on the court; if these guys catch a big break when they get out of school in the real world because of the lessons learned here.....that's just as rewarding. I want the alumni to be proud. I've taken that from Brad Stevens at Butler......The Butler Way."
"I owe everything I have to Coach Pitino. He gets you as ready as you can be without having to go through it yourself. Obviously you're never 100% ready, but I feel as prepared as I can be entering this new job."
"The kids I've inherited here have been terrific. They worked so hard and they've completely bought into the new system. It has been a lot of adjustment but I'm proud of them and they've made the transition easy for me."
"My first college game when I was a walk-on at Kentucky was against Syracuse.....so to be coaching at the Carrier Dome next month against Jim Boeheim is very special and humbling."
"Style wise we are Louisville right now. I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel. I am who I am because of Rick Pitino. However, my staff has some great experience as well that I will tap into to. Coach Padgett has experience with the Dribble Drive while at Kentucky, Coach Burno learned an Amoeba Defense under Bob Hurley and Coach Grady has terrific defensive game plans.
What I saw...
- I did not recognize Kidani Brutus. When Masiello arrived, Brutus weighed 228 pounds. He has dropped 37 pounds and is 191 pounds for the first time in several years.
- It is safe to say Mohamed Koita will be Masiello's defensive shut down guy.
- Sophomore Mike Alvarado put on a lot of muscle in the upper body. Jasper fans will love how he continues to develop this season.
- Emmy Andujar out of Rice H.S. has all the tools to be All MAAC Rookie and eventually one of the elite players in the league.
- Masiello on the court is as good as I've seen. It's hard to believe he hasn't coached a Division 1 game yet.
- To say that the Jaspers will play at a frenetic pace is an understatement. My neck still hurts from watching practice. Manhattan will run and they will press. This team's style of play and work ethic will help them a ton this season. I don't know how many games this team will win - but I guarantee this team will finish higher than they are expected to.
What's in store for Masiello's Jaspers? Make your prediction in the comments below...
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