2012-2013 Overall Rank: #138
Conference Rank: #3 Metro Atlantic
Few were paying much attention to Manhattan last season. Iona and Fairfield garnered all the preseason hype and Loyola was the surprise team that made a nice run through the MAAC Tournament and reached the NCAAs. But right in the mix was first year head coach Steve Masiello and his Manhattan squad. The Jaspers will not sneak up on anybody this year, but with George Beamon leading the way, the MAAC might not be able to stop this squad anyway. Beamon, a 6-4 senior wing, averaged 19.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals during the 2011-2012 campaign. He can use his size and speed to attack the basket with ease or step back and knock down some three-pointers. He shot 48.5 percent from the floor last season and that is very impressive for a player who shot over four three-pointers per game. This year should be even more impressive for Beamon.
2011-12 Record: 21-13, 12-6
2011-12 Postseason: CIT
Coach: Steve Masiello
Coach Record: 21-13 at Manhattan, 21-13 overall
The Jaspers return a ton of young talent, but a few key players are gone from last year’s surprise team. Kidani Brutus, a 6-1 guard, provided a great spark off of the bench. He was fourth on the team in scoring and was a prolific and consistent outside shooter. Liam McCabe-Moran may not be missed as much as Brutus, but he was another guard who could come in off of the bench and knock down some shots. DeCarlos Anderson opted to transfer after his freshman campaign, but rarely saw much playing time. The losses in the frontcourt are not as significant with Kevin Laue and Djbril Coulibaly graduating. However, the possible absence of Roebrto Colonette could be an issue. The 6-7 forward started 26 games last season after heading in from the junior college ranks and proved to be a decent scorer and a solid rebounder. On a team that lacks size, it will be a relatively big blow if he does not return.
What Coach Masiello needed from this class was a backup point guard, a shooter or two and a big man. RaShawn Storrs, who was ineligible last season, could be the backup point guard and a scorer. Storrs is a great athlete who is primarily a point guard, but has enough offensive firepower to play off the ball as well. C.J. Jones is another point guard who could see the floor this season. He is a tenacious defender and is expected to emerge as a quality ball handler. Paul Bayt is the pure shooter of the bunch. Shane Richards, at 6-6, will add some much needed size in the backcourt. The lone big man headed to Manhattan is Adam Lacey. He is a very good all-around player, but will need to get stronger and tougher before his 6-10 frame causes too many problems in the MAAC. Ashton Pankey, a transfer from Maryland, could be just what this frontcourt needs. At 6-9 and 230 pounds, the forward has the size and experience to make an immediate impact. He started 17 games for the Terps last season and may be eligible for the 2012-2013 campaign, pending an NCAA decision.
Who to Watch:
Despite the lack of depth, the frontcourt should be a strength for the Jaspers. Emmy Andujar is coming off of a great freshman campaign in which he averaged 8.5 points and a team high 5.7 rebounds. An off-season injury could slow his progress though. Rhamel Brown should step into a full-time starting position for his junior campaign. The 6-6, 215 pounder is a beast on the defensive end. Despite being 6-6, he plays much, much bigger and blocked 2.5 shots per game during the 2011-2012 campaign. Brown has not been much of an offensive threat, but after working on his mid-range jumper during the off-season, that could change. Donovan Kates is listed as a guard, but at 6-6 the versatile sophomore could spend some time in the frontcourt. He can pretty much play anywhere except center and that versatility will be huge throughout the season. Torgrim Sommerfeldt is another undersized forward, but he can shoot the ball and should be healthy this year. Ryan McCoy did not play too much during his freshman campaign, yet has the size to matchup with some of the bigger opposing post players in the conference.
This is a Manhattan team that will not sneak up on anybody this year and that could make a huge difference. The pressure will be on the backcourt to keep things under control and moving smoothly. Point guard Michael Alvarado averaged 8.5 points and 3.2 assists per game last season and will need to emerge as a leader on the floor. He is a decent shooter, scorer and defender, but if the newcomers cannot develop into consistent ballhandlers, Coach Masiello will need Alvarado to be more consistent and stay on the floor longer. A healthy Mohamed Koita will not hurt the backcourt either. Koita did not put up big numbers at all during his freshman season, but still started 25 contests. If he can help replace the shooting lost with Brutus and McCabe-Moran, the Jaspers will be eyeing another MAAC title and a postseason season berth of some sort.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
Projected Starting Five:
Michael Alvarado, Junior, Guard, 8.5 points per game
Mohamed Koita, Senior, Guard, 2.9 points per game
George Beamon, Senior, Guard, 19.0 points per game
Emmy Andujar, Sophomore, Forward, 8.5 points per game
Rhamel Brown, Sophomore, Center, 7.9 points per game