Manhattan head coach Steve Masiello returns four starters from last year’s squad that lost leading scorer George Beamon to an ankle injury four games into the season. The return of Beamon for the 2013-2014 campaign is significant for the Jaspers as the senior swingman led the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in scoring and was a first-team all-league selection in 2011. “He’s 100 percent back and ready to go,” coach Masiello said. “He has a way about him where he can just come in and make things happen.”
Beamon has not disappointed this season as he leads the team in scoring with 20.7 points per game, while also leading the Jaspers in rebounds per game (7.3). Manhattan’s backcourt is bolstered by the return of senior Michael Alvarado, who led the team in steals last season. Alvarado is averaging 11.0 points per game on 46.0% shooting from the field in 2013. Fellow guard RaShawn Stores compliments Alvarado with a level of defensive intensity that is rarely seen these days. “They bring a New York City toughness to your team,” Masiello said. They all play with chips on their shoulders.”
Speaking of defensive intensity, two-time MAAC defensive player of the year Rhamel Brown returns after finishing tenth nationally in blocked shots last year. He was also fifth in the league in rebounding and second in field-goal percentage (.549). After averaging 11.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game last season, Brown is off to another solid start in 2013 with 9.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. The player to keep an eye on is sophomore Shane Richards, who had a team-high 65 three-pointers last season and earned a place on the conference’s all-rookie team. Richards averaged 13.0 points in the final four games last season, and his sophomore campaign is off to a strong start with 8.2 points per game.
Manhattan is 6-0 SU and 3-1 ATS on the road this season where the Jaspers are averaging 77.0 points per game on 40.2% shooting from beyond the arc. Overall, the Jaspers are averaging 76.2 points per game against teams that combine to allow just 71.5 points per game, thereby making the Jaspers 4.7 points per game better than average offensively in 2013. Let’s also note that Manhattan is 15-6 ATS as underdogs, 25-11 ATS on the road and 33-18 ATS following four or more consecutive wins so tonight’s game against South Carolina seems to favor the Jaspers.
The experts at Pro Edge Sports believe the Manhattan Jaspers are the class of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and expect to see them dancing in March.