Rushed Reactions: #4 Iowa State 94, #13 Iona 81

Posted by Andrew Murawa on March 17th, 2016

Rush the Court will be providing wall-to-wall coverage of each of the NCAA Tournament from each of the 13 sites this year. Follow our NCAA Tourney specific Twitter accounts at @RTCEastregion, @RTCMWregion,@RTCSouthregion and @RTCWestregion.

Three Key Takeaways.

Iowa State Advances in a Fun-n-Gun Game (USA Today Images)

Iowa State Advances Over Iona in a Fun-n-Gun Game (USA Today Images)

  1. Lack of Depth A Positive. Assuming you can stay healthy and out of foul trouble, any reasonably well-conditioned team is not going to get tired in a tournament with three-minute timeouts, coach’s timeouts, longer halftimes and an assortment of monitor reviews. So if you’ve got five guys who are clearly better than the rest of your guys, why not play them all the time? Clearly Steve Prohm buys into this theory. Only three teams in the nation this year play their bench fewer minutes than Iowa State, and that’s a good thing. That means more minutes for guys like Georges Niang, Monte Morris, Abdel Nader, Matt Thomas and Jameel McKay, all of whom have averaged double figures this year and did so again today. In today’s up-tempo game (78 possessions), with the Cyclones maintaining a solid lead throughout, the bench earned a total of 29 minutes resulting in two points. Going forward, however, expect the Cyclones to gain an advantage by getting their best guys the most possible run.
  2. Die By The Three. Coming into the game, Iona was shooting 44.2 percent of its field goal attempts from three-point range, good for 20th in the nation, knocking them in at a 37.2 percent rate (57th in the nation). Three guys (A.J. English, Isaiah Williams and Deyshonee Much) had made at least 77 three-pointers coming into today, even if most of those were in tiny MAAC gyms in front of a few thousand fans. In the Pepsi Center today on a national stage, the Gaels shot just 2-of-13 from three in the first half in allowing a 12-point deficit. In the second half, things were a little better (5-of-11), but the damage had already been done.
  3. A Better Version Of Themselves. Iowa State is a great offensive team (third in the nation in offensive efficiency) that likes to play uptempo (53rd in tempo). Iona is built around its ability to get up and down the court (45th in tempo) and score efficiently (68th in offensivce efficiency). But in this game, it was just a matter of the Cyclones having bigger and better players doing the same types of things. Iona coach Tim Cluess put it simply: “When you play teams at this level, they’re going to have guys who are bigger, stronger and better playing basketball.” For Iona to have had a great chance in this round, they were going to have to play a team with a different style. Throw in struggles from three and an inability to get to the line, and Iowa State moves on.

Star of the GameGeorges Niang. Iowa State’s senior All-American does everything for the Cyclones, and today was no different as he led all scorers with 28 points. Early in the second half, when the Cyclones had turned it over on three consecutive possessions against the press leading to transition baskets, it was Niang’s open court ability to handle the ball that settled Iowa State down and forced Iona out of its press.

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O26 Never-Too-Early Top Five (and More)

Posted by Tommy Lemoine on April 15th, 2015

Don’t look now, but college basketball season is only seven months away! Okay, so that may seem a bit far off, but it’s never too early to gin up a little excitement for the sport we love. Let’s examine a few O26 teams that are sure to make some noise in 2015-16.

Top Five

Wichita State will be right back at it in 2015-16. (Photo : Getty Images Sport)

Wichita State will be right back at it in 2015-16. (Getty Images Sport)

  1. Wichita State. Fred VanVleet is back. Ron Baker is back. As is Gregg Marshall, much wealthier after a sizable pay raise. With one of the country’s top backcourts and most sought-after coaches rejoining the fold, it almost goes without saying that Wichita State – on the heels of three-straight program-defining seasons – should be very good again next season. Of course, the Shockers will have to adjust to life without guard Tekele Cotton (9.8 PPG) and big man Darius Carter (11.4 PPG), but the late-season development of Evan Wessel (12 points against Kansas in the NCAA Tournament) along with forward Shaq Morris (4.7 PPG) should help mitigate those departures. So too should the addition of Kansas transfer Conner Frankamp and a solid recruiting class. Expect another year of big things from Wichita State next season.
  2. Gonzaga. Gone are WCC Player of the Year Kevin Pangos, guard Gary Bell Jr. and wing Byron Wesley (10.6 PPG). Still, barring an early leap to the NBA, Kyle Wiltjer (16.7 PPG), Domantas Sabonis (9.7 PPG, 7.1 RPG) and center Przemek Karnowski (10.9 PPG) are each returning for what should be one of the top frontcourts in America. Sophomores Josh Perkins and Silas Melson, both former prized recruits, bring plenty of talent (if youth) to the backcourt, where senior Kyle Dranginis will likely help both guys blossom. Throw in very good depth – like 6’8” Angel Nunez, who was granted another year of eligibility – and you quickly see why the Bulldogs could be top-15-worthy next season. Oh, and did I mention that the Zags are in contention for Drexel transfer Damion Lee (21.4 PPG), the nation’s fifth-leading scorer? Read the rest of this entry »
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Conference Tourney Primers: Metro Atlantic

Posted by Tommy Lemoine on March 5th, 2015

We’re in the midst of Championship Fortnight, so let’s gear up for the continuing action by breaking down each of the Other 26’s conference tournaments as they get under way.

MAAC Tournament

Dates: March 5, 7-9

Site: Times Union Center (Albany, NY)


What to expect: Iona will be heavy favorites in the MAAC Tournament this week after going 24-7 and controlling the regular season from start to finish. The uptempo Gaels are an exceptionally efficient offensive unit, led by one of the country’s best scoring duos – guard A.J. English and big man David Laury – who account for nearly 40 points per game. But beware: Monmouth, Canisius and crosstown rival Manhattan each gave Iona trouble this winter and the top seed has not won the event since 2010. Rider, the second-place finisher, would be more of a threat if seven-footer Matt Lopez hadn’t torn his ACL in late February. Count on the regular season champs to clinch another NCAA Tournament appearance – its third since 2011 – but don’t expect a cakewalk.

Favorite: Iona. Along with its stellar inside-out duo, Iona boasts the conference’s premier freshman in 5’10” guard Schadrac Casimir. His shooting prowess (44% 3FG on 203 attempts) combined with English, Laury, wing Isaiah Williams (45% 3FG) and athletic transfer Kelvin Amayo makes the Gaels incredibly difficult to stop.

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O26 Weekly Awards: Iona, Chris Wood, Bob Williams & Texas A&M-CC

Posted by Tommy Lemoine on February 17th, 2015

Throughout the season, the Other 26 microsite will run down our weekly superlatives, including team, player, coach and whatever else strikes our fancy in that week’s edition.

O26 Team of the Week

A.J. English and the MAAC-leading Gaels showed grit last week. (Andrew Theodorakis / New York Post)

A.J. English and the MAAC-leading Gaels showed grit last week. (Andrew Theodorakis / New York Post)

Iona. The Gaels battled a pair of tough MAAC contenders on the road this past weekend and beat them both, despite playing some (at times) less-than-pretty basketball. On Friday, against cross-town foe Manhattan – a rivalry game Steve Masiello once compared to Kentucky vs. Louisville – Iona overcame 21 turnovers, withstood several second-half runs and edged the Jaspers by three for its first victory in Draddy Gymnasium since 2012. “I heard a lot about this game, and there is nothing like a Manhattan crowd,” freshman guard Schadrac Casimir, who hit several big shots in the second half, said afterward. He finished with 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting, but it was junior A.J. English who drilled a clutch triple with 32 seconds left to seal the deal. Less than 48 hours later, the Gaels showed arguably more grit at Quinnipiac in not just erasing a seven-point second half deficit but overcoming their worst shooting performance (31.5%) since Tim Cluess took over the program in 2011. A team usually known for its fast-paced and free-flowing offense – the 28th-most efficient in America – put together its best defensive showing of the season to beat the Bobcats by three despite scoring just 0.86 points per possession. “We know that our shots aren’t going to fall every game and we have to find other ways to win,” Iona forward David Laury (18 points, nine rebounds) said. The Gaels have now won eight straight contests and sit two full games up on second-place Rider in the MAAC standings, their gritty weekend inching them one step closer to a second straight conference crown.

Honorable Mentions: San Diego State (2-0: vs. Wyoming, vs. Colorado State); Chattanooga (2-0: at Wofford, vs. Samford); UC Santa Barbara (2-0: vs. Long Beach State, at Cal State Northridge); Central Michigan (2-0: at Ohio, at Buffalo); Rice (2-0: vs. Middle Tennessee State, vs. UAB); Valparaiso (2-0: vs. Green Bay…at UW-Milwaukee)

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Bracket Prep: Western Kentucky, Davidson, James Madison, Gonzaga & Iona

Posted by BHayes on March 12th, 2013


Championship Week continued in full blast on Monday night, as five more NCAA Tournament tickets were punched. As each of the 31 automatic qualifiers plays their way into the Dance over the next week, we’ll take some time to give you an analytical snapshot of each team that you can refer back to when you’re picking your brackets next weekend.

Western Kentucky

Sun Belt Cinderellas Again -- Welcome Back To The Big Dance Hilltoppers

Sun Belt Cinderellas Again — Welcome Back To The Big Dance Hilltoppers

  • Sun Belt Champion (20-15, 14-10)
  • RPI/Pomeroy/Sagarin = #166/#183/#184
  • Adjusted Scoring Margin = +0.5
  • Likely NCAA Seed: #15-#16

 Three Bruce Pearls of Wisdom.

  1. Who needs the regular season anyways? For the second consecutive campaign, Western Kentucky saw months of mediocrity give way to an unlikely week of dominance at the Sun Belt Tournament, where they depart as champions again. The sequel may never be as thrilling as the original – the 2012 Hilltoppers were just 9-18 (!) before winning their final six games to earn the auto-bid – but this Western Kentucky team is as unlikely a Big Dance participant as any.
  2. Western Kentucky isn’t elite in any one facet of the game, but they may be able to match up with their opening round opponent with regard to physicality and toughness. The Hilltoppers are third in the Sun Belt in effective height, and also rank third in the league in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentages. 6’6” sophomore George Fant is slightly undersized for the amount of time he spends in the paint, but leads the team in rebounding at 6.6 boards per game. Fant also ranks in the top 50 in the country in fouls drawn per 40 minutes. Senior Jamal Crooks (11.8 PPG, 4.1 APG) is another high-motor Hilltopper – his emotional energy and leadership is a crucial reserve for the young team around him.
  3. Expect WKU to compete on both ends, but don’t mistake intensity with skill. They do not shoot the ball well from deep, turn the ball over at an unacceptable clip (on 22.3% of possessions), and don’t play a whole lot of defense either. It all adds up to a rather unimpressive paper profile, and the 10-10 Sun Belt record before this week does little to make you feel better about things. The exact seed line will depend on what happens elsewhere, but either way, it’s hard to envision the Hilltoppers being competitive, much less capable of manufacturing an upset for the ages.


Soak It In De'Mon -- You And The Wildcats Are Tournament Bound Yet Again

Soak It In De’Mon — You And The Wildcats Are Tournament Bound Yet Again

  • Southern Conference Champion (26-7, 20-1)
  • RPI/Pomeroy/Sagarin = #69/#66/#67
  • Adjusted Scoring Margin = +9.4
  • Likely NCAA Seed: #12-#14

Three Bruce Pearls of Wisdom.

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2012-13 RTC Conference Primers: MAAC

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 10th, 2012

Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC.

Top Storylines

The Redshirts: We are not talking about individual players but a program. In the latter part of the summer, Loyola announced its intention to exit the MAAC for the Patriot League. The Greyhounds captured the postseason title this past March. Coach Jimmy Patsos has another very strong group on hand. The interesting thing is how will the last run through the MAAC affect Loyola’s play. The guess here is not too much. Caution is needed however as the MAAC contingents would love nothing to upset the Greyhounds as a ‘going away present.’

How Will Jimmy Patsos Handle the Last Go-Round the MAAC? (AP)

Master Builder: When Canisius hired Jim Baron last spring they not only got a veteran coach with a proven track record, but the Buffalo-based school hired a coach who rebuilt situations at three different schools. First was St. Francis (PA). Next, his alma mater, St. Bonaventure, and most recently, Rhode Island. Baron brought St. Francis and St. Bonaventure to the NCAA Tournament in his careers there. He also had a few NITs under his tutelage but couldn’t get on the board during Selection Sunday while at URI. Make no mistake, though, Baron knows Canisius’ status and what needs to be done to succeed there. Word here says he goes ‘four for four’ in reclamation projects.

Must-See: A few of the notable matchups in the MAAC include…. On January 27, Iona hosts Loyola and visits the Greyhounds on March 1. The latter game could decide the regular season champion and have a strong bearing on final conference seeds for the postseason tournament. A few other notable games:

  • November 11 – Manhattan at Louisville – Steve Masiello ducks no one and heads south to face a powerful Louisville team and his former boss (mentor), Rick Pitino.
  • November 22 – Marist vs. West Virginia in the MAAC sponsored Old Spice Classic in Orlando. The field also includes the likes of Clemson, Davidson, Gonzaga, Oklahoma and Vanderbilt.
  • January 6Iona hosts Manhattan, and more than rivalry bragging rights are at stake.
  • January 25 – Loyola visits Manhattan, another huge midseason contest.

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Morning Five: 01.31.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on January 31st, 2012

  1. Seth Davis is back with his annual Jigsaw Man column. For those of you who are not familiar with the concept, Seth adopts the persona of “The Jigsaw Man” to pick out players who if they switched teams would fill significant voids and does so while speaking in the third person. He tries to avoid picking out obvious targets like Anthony Davis who would make any team better even if they didn’t have a deficiency at that position. We are not sure if we are just getting cranky in our old age, but it seems like Seth is cheating a bit with some of his picks. Stealing players like Terrell Stoglin (the leading scorer in the ACC), Scott Machado (maybe the best point guard in the country), and Mike Moser (a potential All-American and a long-time crush of Andy Glockner and Ryan Greene) seems to be too easy. Obviously, adding the best point guard in the nation would make Duke a better team. So if you are reading this Seth Jigsaw Man (and we know that you are), step it up a little bit next year. Pick someone like Alex Oriakhi who is wasting away on the bench, but could and should be a double-double guy in the right situation instead of picking a potential All-American who is the best player on a top 10 team like Moser.
  2. Whenever we hear someone talk about how unsavory recruiting is for top football recruits we hear someone else talk about how it is worse in basketball. We now have found at least one example where it is not. According to some media reports, one five-star football recruit who chose to attend Alabama over LSU was influenced by a promise that the former would give the recruit’s girlfriend a job. Interestingly, according to the NCAA bylaws, this appears to only be an infraction if it was committed for a basketball recruit, but for a football recruit apparently is it ok. The NCAA never ceases to amaze us.
  3. Last week, the National Coordinator of basketball officials in Division I, John Adams, posted a memo urging officials to pay a closer attention to sportsmanship and call technical fouls on coaches and players who violate this principle. After the officiating over the weekend, Adams decided that he needed to respond to the criticism of officials. While he did not discuss the atrocious officiating in Philadelphia or the missed goaltending call in upstate New York, Adams did discuss the role of officials in dealing with unsportsmanlike acts. Adams essentially believes that the controversial sportsmanship fouls were correct and hopes that these moves will help rebuild college basketball’s image after a rough past few months. While legislating the trash talking more effectively may reduce some of the unseemly incidents we have seen, we would also like to see Adams work on improving the officiating of all areas of the game.
  4. With his team on its way to a second straight solid season and a potential NCAA Tournament bid that it did not get last year, Iona coach Tim Cluess was given a contract extension through the 2016-17 season. Cluess, who came to the school without any prior Division I head coaching experience, is actually in the last guaranteed year of his initial contract. Thanks to a 25-win season to start his coaching career and what appears to be an even better second season, Cluess has a well-deserved contract extension, which should only help him with recruiting although we cannot imagine that any recruit thought Cluess was in jeopardy of losing his job.
  5. His team is currently on the wrong side of the bubble, but that did not stop VCU coach Shaka Smart from making a bold proclamation that the “the best programs in the state are in the CAA. It’s really not even close.” When you look at the numbers over the past ten years, the three programs he is referring to (VCU, George Mason, and Old Dominion) have put up much better numbers (detailed in the article) than the the ACC programs (Virginia and Virginia Tech). So technically Smart is correct even if he does come off as untactful, but it is more amusing to hear new George Mason coach Paul Hewitt talk about this when he guided another ACC program (Georgia Tech) right into the ground.
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Morning Five: 12.14.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on December 14th, 2011

  1. Coming into the season Kansas recruit Ben McLemore was one of the most highly touted freshmen in the country. However, Jayhawk fans dreams of having McLemore help carry their team along with Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor this year were derailed when he was ruled a partial qualifier and would have to sit out this season. Things got a little worse for McLemore yesterday as he was arrested after failing to show up to court on a charge of being a minor in possession of alcohol. We doubt that much will come of this extra charge although it doesn’t reflect well on McLemore and his maturation even if it was during finals week at Kansas.
  2. It looks like Jim Boeheim may end up getting involved in the Bernie Fine case after all, as the Syracuse coach was named along with the university in a suit brought by Fine’s accusers as defendants in a defamation case. According to a press conference yesterday, the basis for the lawsuit is the comments that Boeheim made after the allegations were made public, where he essentially said the accusers were seeking money. At the time, we said that while we understand Boeheim’s desire to defend his friend and longtime assistant, it was a poor public relations move and could lead to trouble in the future. Boeheim later apologized for his tone and words (two weeks after the initial statement), but now the lawsuit is being brought against Boeheim and the school as a result. If the case did not already have a circus-like feel to it, it will now have an extra element of that with the plaintiff’s attorney being Gloria Allred, a woman who has handled numerous high-profile cases and is one of the most prominent attorneys in the country.
  3. Ohio State may be without the services of unanimous preseason All-American Jared Sullinger for a while longer as he continues to battle back spasms. The Buckeye staff is still unsure when Sullinger will be able to return and he may sit out today’s game against the Spartans (relax, it’s South Carolina-Upstate not Michigan State). According to reports from around the team, Sullinger appears to be getting better and should be back relatively soon. The Buckeyes should be fine without him as they don’t really have a test until after Christmas when they play Northwestern and Indiana. Until then the schedule is pretty manageable even without Sullinger dominating the paint.
  4. Looking for a unique Christmas gift this year? How about a personalized voicemail greeting from Kansas coach Bill Self? It could be yours for just $5 thanks to a charity that Self is running with his wife with the proceeds helping to pay for Christmas gifts for Lawrence-area families that need assistance. Your $5 donation will get you a ticket into a raffle (more tickets means a greater chance of winning) and one name will be drawn from the “giant peach basket” (cute, right?). As the charity notes, before Missouri fans get any funny ideas (ok, they don’t name Missouri explicitly) Self reserves the right not to do this for messages that are “potentially questionable”.
  5. If you are looking a great personal interest story and maybe even a coach to pull for on a personal level, we highly recommend this feature on Iona coach Tim Cluess. Over the next 3-4 months you will hear a lot about his Iona basketball team, which is by far the best team in the New York City metro area, but if you just focus on their play you will be missing a major part of what makes Tim Cluess so intriguing. While on the surface Cluess comes from a privileged background where athletic talent is abundant his life has been full of personal tragedy as two of his brothers died of cancer at an early age (26 and 33). The piece is long, but it is well worth your time and if you only read one thing today we suggest you read this.
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Morning Five: 10.21.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on October 21st, 2011

  1. Iona got some great news yesterday when the NCAA announced that it would grant a hardship waiver to Arizona transfer Lamon “Momo” Jones making him eligible to play for the Gaels during the upcoming season. Jones, who reportedly left Arizona to be closer to his sick grandmother, averaged 9.7 PPG and 2.7 APG as the starting guard for the Wildcats. Interestingly, he joins a team that is talented enough that he may not even be the starting point guard as the team has all-MAAC senior Scott Machado (13.2 PPG and 7.6 APG) returning. Gaels coach Tim Cluess does not appear to be worried about his embarrassment of riches at point guard as may play the two together. The addition of Jones makes an already potent offense even more terrifying. It also make the Gaels an even heavier favorite in the MAAC and arguably the best team in the New York City area.
  2. We missed this last night, but we have to congratulate the ACC for calling out Notre Dame and essentially telling them that the Fighting Irish either join the ACC in all sports (including football where they have a ridiculous contract with NBC and a BCS loophole) or they can forget about joining the conference for any other sports. We have nothing against Notre Dame as an institution and particularly as a basketball team, but their bizarre relationship with the Big East always seemed strange to us and has adversely affected the Big East. Now the conference is on the verge of falling apart and Notre Dame like other schools is grovelling at the feet of other conferences. In the current climate, it is unrealistic for Notre Dame or any other school to expect a conference particularly one in a position of power to have terms dictated to it. While some Irish fans may have a difficult time accepting the new reality, it appears that some local writers are urging them to think about the future and stop living in the past.
  3. California basketball coach Mike Montgomery underwent surgery for an undisclosed condition yesterday. Neither the school nor Montgomery disclosed any information about the surgery or condition other than to say the surgery was “successful”. There is no definitive time table for Montgomery’s return, but he hopes to be to return by November 1 for the team’s exhibition opener. In the interim, assistant coaches Jay John and Travis DeCuire will assume Montgomery’s responsibilities. We wish Montgomery a speedy recovery and hope to see him on the sidelines in the next few weeks.
  4. The US Basketball Writers Association issued its preseason list for the Wayman Tisdale Award, which is given annually to the top freshman in the country. This year’s list features 12 freshman, who if you have followed recruiting at all you are familiar with even before the season starts. We cannot argue with any of the names included, but we do find it interesting that three Kentucky players made the list. In our eyes, the favorite are (in alphabetical order) Bradley Beal, Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond, and Austin Rivers. Having seen the rest of these guys play and knowing what we know about the situations they will be playing in we have a hard time seeing any of the other players making a serious run at this unless their games improved significantly over the summer.
  5. It seems like every day a new violation gets reported. Most of the time they are relatively minor, but like the one that Bob Knight apparently committed they are violations and deserve a reprimand at the very least. Of course, there are the violations that some fans try to come up with like this one that we received in our inbox yesterday. The author bases his premise that Kentucky has committed a violation on the idea that a random fan who bought a ticket to a Kentucky game has made a donation to the school and thus is a representative of the school. We are all for punishing schools if and when the break the rules, but we don’t need to be stretching the interpretation of rules to find violations.
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RTC Conference Primers: #17 – MAAC

Posted by Brian Goodman on October 19th, 2011

Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC.

Reader’s Take I


Top Storylines

  • Conference Tournament Changes Venues: The MAAC championship will be staged at Springfield’s MassMutual Center.  How the March 1- 5 event manages to be received and attended will be followed closely by many observers. The conference and MassMutual Center staff have been working feverishly to provide the best possible product for fans. With the nearest school, Siena, roughly 90 miles away, providing an attractive event to draw fans is paramount and, as noted, will be tracked. The MAAC will have the tournament in Springfield from 2012-14.
  • MAAC Participates In Non-Conference Events: The MAAC will be represented in the annual Sears BracketBuster event in February. The conference will also host the Old Spice Classic in Orlando during the Thanksgiving weekend (with representative Fairfield a legitimate threat). Prior to March, a few MAAC schools will test out the MassMutual Center in the expanded Hall of Fame Classic on December 9. UMass will face Siena and Fairfield opposes Old Dominion.
  • Glover Fits For Wooden List: Iona senior forward Michael Glover has been named to the Wooden Award preseason Top 50 list. Glover transferred from Seton Hall to Iona and instantly made an impression as one of the MAAC’s brightest stars last season.

Sydney Johnson Brings His Coaching Talent to the MAAC

  • New Coaches On Board: Sydney Johnson takes over at Fairfield and has a wealth of talent on hand. Johnson got his start in D-I basketball only seven years ago as an assistant for John Thompson, III, before spending four seasons as Princeton’s head coach. Steve Masiello is the new man at Manhattan.  Masiello does not have the talent Johnson has, but is not short on enthusiasm and expectations. Masiello knows the MAAC well, having assisted Bobby Gonzalez for several years at Manhattan before heading to Louisville to work as a member of Rick Pitino’s staff.
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