There will be new faces and additional seats on the sidelines this season for the Jaspers.
Stephen Elmore, and former Manhattan basketball players Heshimu Evans and Kidani Brutus will all look to help the Jaspers defend their title this season.
“I think the most powerful guys are peers, and I think when you can have a Kidani Brutus echoing what the coaching staff wants, and Heshimu Evans who has done it…” head coach Steve Masiello said in a conference call after the MAAC preseason awards show. “So when those guys can echo the message to current players, I think it really hits home a lot more than anything else I can say or what the staff can say.”
Elmore, who graduated from Horace Mann High School, will return to the Bronx as the director of basketball operations. Elmore was a four-year baseball player on the Princeton Tigers and played one season for The Citadel Bulldogs as a graduate senior. He was responsible for player development while assisting with film and the program’s recruiting efforts as a graduate assistant with The Citadel last season.
Masiello added two new positions, assistant strength and conditioning coach and the special assistant to the head coach, making room for two former Manhattan basketball standouts.
Evans, a Bronx native, started on the 1995 Manhattan team that upset fourth seeded Oklahoma in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. He was the MAAC Rookie of the Year in 1995, but transferred to Kentucky his junior year. He also played professionally overseas for 15 years, where he won five championships in Portugal and played on the country’s national team in 2010.
Brutus was a senior on the 2011-2012 Manhattan team, Masiello’s first season as head coach of the Jaspers, where Brutus and Masiello were apart of the Jaspers 15-win turnaround from the 2010-2011, which was the largest turnaround in the NCAA in the 2011-2012 season.
“What I’m really proud of is just that the guys who want to see the program do well,” Masiello said in the conference call. “It’s bigger than Steve Masiello. It’s bigger than George Beamon, Rhamel [Brown]. It’s about Manhattan and the program and these guys [the coaches], it matters to them.”