Expected to be a contender in the MAAC last season due to their frenetic style of play and the presence of one of the league’s best scorers in George Beamon, the Manhattan Jaspers encountered multiple bumps in the road in 2012-13.
Beamon was lost for the season due to an ankle injury and he was just one of the players on Steve Masiello’s team that had to deal with injuries. As a result the Jaspers had to augment their style of play, playing at a slower tempo that ultimately resulted in a 9-9 conference record and a spot in the MAAC tournament title game.
Manhattan lost that contest by three points to rival Iona, but the team has a bright future ahead of it with the return of four starters (not including Beamon) and the addition of a few talented newcomers.
On Wednesday the school announced plans for a summer trip to the Bahamas, with the program leaving for Nassau on July 31 and playing three games before returning to the States on August 6.
“This is a great opportunity for our team to prepare for the upcoming season,” Masiello said in the release. “It’s a chance to play against outside competition and an opportunity for our young men to gain an outstanding cultural experience out of the country and create more of a family environment.”
Manhattan welcomes back one of the MAAC’s best forwards in Rhamel Brown, and forward Emmy Andujar will represent Puerto Rico in the Stankovic Cup in China from July 27-29. Add in Maryland transfer Ashton Pankey and a four-member recruiting class, and Masiello will have the bodies needed to play his preferred uptempo style.
Injuries can obviously be unpredictable, but their summer trip to the Bahamas could be the first step Manhattan takes towards being a contender in the MAAC next season.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.