Wagner’s Bashir Mason balancing student-teaching with coaching

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For a college basketball coach, the ability to manage one’s time is incredibly important. With the need to work with their current players, recruit future players, go over plans with their assistants and even take part in the glad-handing that’s become an important aspect of coaching at a high level (read: donations from boosters), head coaches have a lot on their plates every day.

For Wagner head coach Bashir Mason, the exercise of managing his time has an additional activity: he’s a student-teacher at an elementary school in Staten Island, N.Y., completing the final semester of his master’s degree in education. And in a story written by Zach Schonbrun of the New York Times, it’s clear that Mason has more on his plate than the average college head coach:

When Wagner promoted him from assistant coach to head coach in March 2012, after Dan Hurley left to coach Rhode Island, Mason had only a few credits remaining. But this last requirement — 220 hours of hands-on classroom experience — has required unusual commitment.

Five mornings a week, Mason works with Maria Premus at the Michael J. Petrides School for about two hours, always before basketball practice begins. On Fridays, Mason teaches, coaches and then attends class on campus for three hours in the afternoon.

Throughout the country many high schools require their athletic coaches to also be members of the faculty, teaching during the school day and then transitioning to a coaching role after school. And while that was even the case in college some years ago, the sharp increase in coaching salaries (and those additional fundraising/media responsibilities) has meant that coaches who also teach have become rare.

Temple’s Fran Dunphy teaches an honors business course at the school, and Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga will give a few lectures this semester as a faculty member in Miami’s Department of Kinesiology and Sport Sciences.

Wagner’s one of the teams expected to contend in the Northeast Conference, and there’s likely no better way for Coach Mason to celebrate the completion of his master’s than to led the Seahawks to their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2003.

Creighton lands 2016 combo guard

Greg McDermott
Associated Press
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Sunday evening Creighton got on the board in the Class of 2016, as 6-foor-4 combo guard Davion Mintz made his pledge to Greg McDermott’s program. Mintz made the decision on the tail end of his official visit to Creighton, picking the Bluejays over Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Tulsa and Wichita State.

News of Mintz’s commitment was first reported by Rick Lewis of the Phenom Hoop Report, with Mintz confirming the news via Twitter shortly thereafter.

Creighton has just two seniors on its current roster in guard Jams Milliken and forward Geoffrey Groselle, but that doesn’t mean they lack for experience. Among the guards on the roster who will be around when Mintz arrives on campus are redshirt juniors Maurice Watson Jr., Malik Albert, and Isaiah Zierden, and Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster will be eligible in 2016-17.

Mintz, who attends North Mecklenberg HS just outside of Charlotte, can play either on or off the basketball. Creighton’s veteran guards should help Mintz with his transition to the college game when he arrives in Omaha in 2016. Mintz played for the Charlotte Nets grassroots program this summer.

Three-star power forward commits to WVU

Bob Huggins
Associated Press
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Three days after landing one power forward in Sagaba Konate, West Virginia received a verbal commitment from another big man Sunday evening.

6-foot-11 Mountain Mission School (Gurndy, Virginia) power forward Maciej Bender became the Mountaineers’ fourth commitment in the Class of 2016 on Sunday, with the Mountain Mission program announcing the news via Twitter. Bender is a native of Poland, and in addition to Konate he joins guards Brandon Knapper and Chase Harler in West Virginia’s 2016 recruiting class.

West Virginia will lose two forwards in TyQuane Goard and Jonathan Holton at the end of the 2015-16 season, and the additions of Konate and Bender will help the Mountaineers account for those departures from a depth standpoint. Bender can score around the basket, but he’s also capable of facing up and scoring in pick-and-pop situations out beyond the three-point line.

Bender officially visited West Virginia last weekend, and he was a player the WVU coaching staff wanted to get in the fold. Other programs to offer Bender included Arizona State (teammate Jethro Tshisumpa is an ASU commit), Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and Providence. Bender played his grassroots basketball for the West Virginia Wildcats program this summer.