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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.

Louisiana Tech among eight teams participating in new in-season event

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There’s another in-season tournament on the college basketball landscape, as it was announced on Friday that the Gulf Coast Showcase will be played in Estero, Fla. in late November. There will be two eight-team tournaments, one for men’s teams (November 25-27) and one for women’s teams (November 29-December 1) with Louisiana Tech being the highest-profile men’s team in the event.

Michael White’s Bulldogs, who will play in Conference USA this season, are coming off of a 27-7 record (16-2 WAC) in 2012-13. With key contributors such as Raheem Appleby (14.9 ppg), Kenneth Smith (6.8 ppg, 5.0 apg) and Alex Hamilton (7.8 ppg, 2.7 apg) back in Ruston, the Bulldogs are capable of making their debut season in Conference USA a good one.

“The tournament format allows everyone a shot at a championship, which is nice,” White said in the release announcing the event. “Playing three games in three days should help prepare all of us for our conference tournaments.

“In addition, the quality of the programs in the field bode well for tremendous competition as it prepares us all for conference play. Very good conferences and programs will be represented.”

In addition to Louisiana Tech the men’s field includes Wagner, St. Bonaventure, San Diego, UNCG, UIC, Southern Illinois and Stetson. Wagner has the talent needed to be a factor in the NEC in 2013-14, and San Diego will feature one of the most underrated backcourts around in point guard Christopher Anderson and shooting guard Johnny Dee.

Howard Moore’s UIC Flames are looking to improve on their 18-16 campaign of a season ago, with forward Hayden Humes (10.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and Purdue transfer Kelsey Barlow being two of their key players. UIC and San Diego will meet in the first round, and that could be an entertaining contest. The other match-ups are Louisiana Tech/UNCG, Wagner/Stetson and St. Bonaventure/Southern Illinois.

The eight teams in the women’s field are UCLA, Middle Tennessee, Mississippi State, N.C. State, James Madison, Wright State, Grand Canyon and Southeastern Louisiana.

Transfer David Andoh will not join Wagner program after all

Cordarius Johnson,  David Andoh
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Earlier this summer former San Jose State forward David Andoh made the decision to transfer to Wagner, where he would have three years of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2013-14 season. Plans have changed, as according to the Staten Island Advance Andoh is back in his native Canada and will not join the Wagner program.

According to Cormac Gordon of the Advance, Andoh cited “family concerns” when informing Wagner head coach Bashir Mason of his decision to not transfer to the Northeast Conference school.

“David told us he has family matters that are foremost on his mind right now, and we respect that,” Mason told the Advance. “Our understanding is that he is not going to attend school this year, and we wish him the best when he does make a decision.”

As a freshman Andoh averaged 2.3 points and 2.0 rebounds per game at San Jose State, which fired head coach George Nessman at the end of the Spartans’ 9-20 campaign. With the Seahawks having a pair of seniors in their front court (Naofall Folahan and Orlando Parker), Andoh would have given Mason another player with college experience to call on in 2014-15.

With that no longer being the case, the Seahawks have three players in this season’s front court rotation who will have eligibility remaining in 2014. Mario Moody, who is entering his junior season, averaged 6.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game last season and would be the most experienced member of the rotation with current freshmen Nolan Long and Gregory Senat also on board.

Wagner adds former Central Connecticut State star Obie Nwadike as a grad assistant

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While he may have played his college basketball at Wagner, there’s a good chance that fans familiar with the program remember former Central Connecticut State forward Obie Nwadike.

In four seasons at CCSU Nwadike proved to be one of the best rebounders in school history (despite being 6-4), grabbing 980 caroms as a Blue Devil. After playing overseas for four seasons ( in Luxembourg and Spain) Nwadike has decided to move into the coaching ranks, and on Friday it was announced that Wagner’s hired him as a graduate assistant.

Nwadike, who played his high school ball at St. Anthony H.S. in Jersey City for Bob Hurley Sr., also managed to score more than 1,200 points at CCSU. His addition to the staff can only help the Wagner front line as the Seahawks begin the task of accounting for the loss of leading rebounder Jonathon Williams (6.4 rpg).

Wagner got its work done on the glass as a unit last season, with four players averaging between 4.3 (forward Orlando Parker and guard Kenneth Ortiz) and 6.4 (Williams) rebounds per game. As a result the Seahawks were one of the NEC’s best rebounding teams in 2012-13, finishing the season ranked second in rebounding margin (+3.5) and third in both offensive (34.9%) and defensive (69.5%) rebounding percentages.

But with Williams no longer in the picture, senior center Naofall Folahan (3.2 rpg) is one interior player who will be asked to do more on the glass in 2013-14. Folahan finished the season with rebounding percentages of 10.5 (offensive) and 15.6 (defensive), meaning that he was productive on the boards when in the game. But he played an average of just 14.6 minutes per game as a junior so the questions now are: can he earn more playing time, and can he produce at that level with more minutes?

Maybe the addition of Nwadike can help when it comes to Folahan’s development, and if the big man improves the Seahawks will have a better chance against perennial favorites LIU Brooklyn and Robert Morris this winter.

Former San Jose State forward David Andoh transferring to Wagner

Cordarius Johnson,  David Andoh
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Wagner head coach Bashir Mason picked up another front court piece on Saturday as multiple outlets reported that former San Jose State power forward David Andoh will transfer to the Northeast Conference program.

In his lone season at San Jose State the 6-7 forward from Montreal averaged 2.3 points and 2.0 rebounds per game in just over 11 minutes of action per contest. Andoh will have three seasons of eligibility remaining after sitting out the upcoming 2013-14 campaign, and he’ll join 2013 commits Nolan Long and Gregory Senat inside.

Andoh made the decision to leave SJSU in the aftermath of a tumultuous campaign that led to the firing of head coach George Nessman

“It was stressful to go back through the process of picking a school again,” Andoh told Cormac Gordon of SILive.com.

“But I visited Wagner two weeks ago, and I loved the school. It’s beautiful. I like the players and the coaches, and the idea of being in New York.”

According to Gordon Andoh has an older brother who lives in New Jersey, and Andoh also played on the same AAU team as Wagner guard Jay Harris.

The Seahawks have to replace two front court starters in Jonathon Williams and Josh Thompson but they don’t lack for talent in that area. Dwaun Anderson, Mario Moody and Orlando Parker all have starting experience, and newcomers Long and Senat will also have the opportunity to earn minutes.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Conference preview: Northeast Conference still LIU’s world

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Throughout the month of October, CollegeBasketballTalk will be rolling out our previews for the 2012-2013 season. Check back at 9 a.m. and just after lunch every day, Monday-Friday, for a new preview item.
To browse through the preview posts we’ve already published, click here. To look at the rest of the Top 25, click here. For a schedule of our previews for the month, click here.

Long Island might’ve been the luckiest team in college basketball this offseason. Four players were involved in an on-campus brawl that ended with all players being charged with third-degree assault. They included the team’s top three scorers — last year’s conference Northeast Conference Player of the Year Julian Boyd, Jamal Olsawere and C.J. Garner. Fortunately, the charges only resulted in a two-game, conference play suspension for all of them. With that, they should be primed to repeat as conference champions.

Behind them, Wagner lost coach Dan Hurley, but new head man Bashir Mason gets four starters back, including leading scorer Latif Rivers (14.6 points per game) and forward Jonathon Williams (13.4 points, five rebounds per game). Robert Morris might’ve been one the most neglected 20-win teams in 2011-12 en route to a 26-11 record, including a 13-5 mark in NEC play. The Colonials get four of their starters back, including first-team all-conference guard Velton Jones. Quinnipiac could be in for its best season in school history after 18 wins last season and Ike Azotam returning. Expect Sacred Heart to make an impact with four starters coming back, including first-team All-NEC pick Shance Gibson and his 22 ppg last season, fourth in the country. Glenn Braica and the St. Francis (N.Y.) Terriers will get back guard Shane Calloway after a season-ending injury in 2011-12 and Monmouth is hoping to bounce back from a 20-loss season behind Jesse Steele (12.6 ppg) and five returning scorers.

Kyle Vinales is pretty much the only ray of light for a Central Connecticut State team that lost a lot of offensive firepower with the graduation of Ken Horton and Robby Ptacek. But Vinales led all freshman in the nation in scoring last season. Mt. St. Mary’s is hoping for new life under new head coach Jamion Christian while St. Francis (Pa.) is looking for more than the six wins they had last season under new coach Robbie Krimmel. Bryant lost 28 games last season, so there’s nowhere to go but up, really, behind forward Alex Francis (17 ppg, 7 rpg in 2011-12) and Frankie Dobbs’ 13.3 ppg. Fairleigh Dickinson is coming off the worst record in school history — 3-26 — and gets back only Lonnie Hays, from injury.

All-Conference Team

G: Shane Gibson, Sacred Heart

G: Velton Jones, Robert Morris

G: Kyle Vinales, Central Connecticut State

F: Jamal Olaswere, LIU

F: Julian Boyd, LIU*

*-Player of the Year

Predicted Finish

1.) LIU

2.) Wagner

3.) Quinnipiac

4.) Robert Morris

5.) St. Francis (N.Y.)

6.) Sacred Heart

7.) Monmouth

8.) Central Connecticut State

9.) St. Francis (Pa.)

10.) Mt. St. Mary’s

11.) Bryant

12.) Farleigh Dickinson

David Harten is the editor of The Backboard Chronicles. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.