Thursday, April 14, 2011

Masiello Takes Over at Manhattan

By now we know that it's not Jim Ferry, the current LIU coach, who's coming to take over the Manhattan men's basketball program. It's former Manhattan assistant and, most-recently, Louisville assistant Steve Masiello, who is the Jaspers' new head coach.

Published reports indicate that it was Ferry who was first offered the position, but could not come to a financial agreement before passing on the offer.

That left things open for Masiello, and some times a "second choice," turns out to be the best choice.

That's impossible to say for now, but Masiello fits the mold traditionally associated with hirings in the conference ... a young assistant coach from a high-major level program getting his first chance to run his own team.

Sometimes it works: Mike Deane and Paul Hewitt at Siena; Ed Cooley at Fairfield; Jimmy Patsos at Loyola; Steve Lappas at Manhattan ... and on, and on.

And, sometimes it doesn't, the most-recent case right at Manhattan where former Pitt assistant Barry Rohrssen was fired after five seasons to create the opening for Masiello.

This blogging hoopscribe, though, isn't necessarily in agreement that Rohrssen's tenure was a failure. Rohrssen, with a reputation as a terrific recruiter, found it difficult to keep the rich vein of New York City talent playing at home for a mid-major program ... until the last two seasons.

What Rohrssen leaves behind, particularly with junior-to-be swingman George Beamon, and sophs-to-be forward Rhamel Brown and point guard Michael Alverado, is plenty. The Jaspers are poised for a big jump forward competitively, and that probably would happen if Rohrssen stayed in place or by Masiello coming aboard.

For sure, Rohrssen left the proverbial cupboard full for his replacement. And, Masiello, who comes in with a reputation for recruiting similar to Rohrssen's, claims his primary objective is to keep it that way.

"Everybody better watch out," said the 33-year old Masiello at Wednesday's introductory press conference at the Jaspers' Draddy Gymnasium. "We are going to create a new brand and it's going to be the best in the city and we are going to take New York back over."

Masiello said that will take place by keeping talent at home.

"There is so much talent in New York City," Masiello said. "Some of that talent goes away to school, but if you're staying home then we want them to think of Manhattan as the place you want to be."

Easier said than done, as Rohrssen found out for most of his five seasons in the position. But, it can be done as strong Manhattan teams have shown in the not-so-distant past.

And, with a very strong nucleus of players returning, it most definitely appears things are moving in the right direction for Manhattan basketball.

Your blogging hoopscribe just hopes MAAC fans remember that it was Rohrssen who put in place for foundation for the upcoming resurgence.

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