By Vin Parise
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The Steve Masiello Era has officially begun for Manhattan College Basketball.
Enjoy these tidbits from the presser –
* Masiello immediately thanked his mentor, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino, Louisville Sports Information Director Kenny Klein, Louisville AD Tom Jurich and Louisville’s Ralph Willard for molding him into the man and coach that he is today. He said that Pitino has been a father figure to him, Klein and Jurich have taught him so much about the business off the basketball floor and Willard truly cultivated him as a coach. “Ralph explained to me that your body of work isn’t everything,” said Masiello. “How you present yourself, how you communicate with peers and how you treat people is so important.”
* Masiello wouldn’t put a number on wins and losses for next season but he did guarantee three things- “We are going to be the hardest working team in the country, we are going to be the best conditioned team in the country and we will be the most prepared team in the country.”
* There was a funny moment during the presser. Masiello explained in a passionate way that this year’s Final Four featuring Butler and VCU is a perfect example of how kids can experience special things without being recruited at the highest level. Masiello then paused and looked back at AD Bob Byrnes and President Brennan O’Donnell and asked them not to hold him to a Final Four appearance right away. The exchange produced a lot of laughter from the crowd as Byrnes and O’Donnell began looking at their watches and went along with the funny joke.
* One thing Masiello does not lack is confidence – “Watch out New York City,” Masiello stated. “We are going to change the entire brand of Manhattan basketball. We are going to win and win big! The fans and alumni are about to begin a memorable ride.”
* Like Steve Lavin did last year, Masiello was very complimentary and professional towards ex-Jasper coach Barry Rohrssen.
* Masiello has a unique but realistic view on recruiting mid-majors in the metropolitan area. “Kids don’t care about history and tradition,” said Masiello. “Kids care about playing time, kids care about style of play and kids want to be seen.” And when it comes to recruiting, Masiello plans on being hands on. “Even though I’m the head coach, I’ll be recruiting like an assistant coach,” said Masiello. “I will outwork any head coach for a kid.”
* From a style standpoint, Masiello talked X & O’s with me for a few minutes. Manhattan will mirror Pitino & Louisville’s style about 95% – but he has some different philosophies in terms of half court defense such as changing defenses and match up zones. It sounds like Masiello has taken a lot from Ralph Willard defensively.
* And lastly, Masiello made it clear that he hasn’t hired any assistant coaches yet. He said that he’s looking for coaches that fit the program‘s needs. He wants guys that will be good recruiters, tireless workers and coaches that will have great relationships with the current players.
– Vin Parise
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