Last season: 21-13, (12-6 MAAC), Lost to Fairfield 69-57 in CIT
State of Program: Building a perennial contender
Key Players Lost: Kidani Brutus, Liam McCabe-Moran
Incoming Players: Shane Richards (F), C.J. Jones (G), Sky Williams (G), Adam Lacey (C), Paul Bayt (G), Ashton Pankey (So., from Maryland)
Projected Starting Lineup:
G: Michael Alvarado
G: Mohamed Koita
G: George Beamon
F: Emmy Andujar
F: Rhamel Brown
Key Reserves: Roberto Colonette (F), Donovan Kates (G), Ryan McCoy (F), C.J. Jones (G), Adam Lacey (C), Paul Bayt (G), Ashton Pankey (F – if eligible)
1) How will Manhattan deal with being the favorite in the MAAC?
2) The Jaspers struggled a bit towards the end of last season. Did the MAAC catch up to Manhattan’s defensive system?
3) Can Emmy Andujar join George Beamon as a First Team All-MAAC level player?
Analysis: After the biggest turnaround in the country last season the Jaspers appear to be on the fast track towards being a competitive basketball program. Head coach Steve Masiello continues to bring great talent to Riverdale and it should give the Green & White the building blocks of a strong foundation moving forward. The return of a healthy Michael Alvarado is what makes this team so dangerous. His injury near the end of last season was a big blow. Alvarado, Andujar and Beamon will have to stay healthy if the Jaspers are going to put a team that can win multiple NCAA tournament games on the floor. But make no mistake, that’s definitely the goal.
Final Prediction: Manhattan looks like the favorite in the MAAC this season. The Jaspers had the best defense and second best offense in the conference in 2011-12. The defense will be even better in year two under Masiello’s unique defensive schemes. The non-conference schedule is daunting, but the Jaspers won’t have to worry about it if they show up for the MAAC tournament in March.