In the aftermath of USF’s decision to end contract talks with Steve Masiello with regards to his becoming the school’s new head basketball coach, one question asked was what would happen between Masiello and Manhattan. With Masiello winning 60 games in three seasons at the school after serving as an assistant to Rick Pitino at Louisville, he’s been viewed as a rising star in the coaching profession.
But a discrepancy in his resume, specifically a background check revealing that he had not graduated from the University of Kentucky, has cast doubt on Masiello’s future at the MAAC school.
Wednesday afternoon Manhattan announced that Masiello, who despite reports of his speaking to his players on Tuesday about leaving for the American Athletic Conference school had not officially resigned as head coach, has been placed on leave.
“As a result of a background check commissioned by the University of South Florida, Manhattan College has learned there is a question of the validity of head men’s basketball coach Steve Masiello’s undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky.
Masiello is currently in the process of reviewing his degree status with the University of Kentucky. Manhattan College has placed Masiello on leave while he completes this process with the University.”
This is the second consecutive year in which a school learned that a head coach had not completed his bachelor’s degree, with Rutgers’ Eddie Jordan being in that position last May. However according to reports it was not stated in Jordan’s resume that he completed his degree, and Rutgers arranged for Jordan to work towards completing his degree while coaching.
In Masiello’s case, was there an honest belief that he’d completed his degree requirements? And if not, how much work needs to be done in order to do so? Also, was it stated during his hiring at Manhattan that Masiello graduated from Kentucky? Those are some of the questions that Manhattan and Masiello will work to answer during the coach’s leave of absence, and until they’re addressed his status remains up in the air.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.