by Pete Janny, Sports Editor & Managing Editor
While the coronavirus pandemic continues to blur the prospect of a college basketball season, Manhattan men’s basketball will have a different look next season if and when they take the court. The program is looking to capitalize off a few good concessions they have received from the NCAA this offseason.
The Jaspers’ expectations are trending up at this stage in the offseason, and a big reason why is the recent change in eligibility for George Mason University transfer Jason Douglas-Stanley. The NCAA informed Manhattan that Douglas-Stanley’s request for a waiver has been granted, making him immediately eligible for this upcoming season, according to a tweet from Jon Rothstein on Aug. 31. The verdict on Douglas-Stanley comes following little chatter about the Mount Vernon native’s intentions to avoid having to sit out next season. The news is a welcomed development for a Jaspers’ team excited about the offensive potential that Douglas-Stanley brings to the table.
“We are very excited about Jason being eligible for the upcoming season,” Steve Masiello, Manhattan’s head coach, said to Go Jaspers. “He will add another dimension to the strong perimeter we have in place.”
Prior to attending George Mason for two years, Douglas-Stanley played for Mount Vernon High School for four years. While there, he emerged as a prolific scorer, averaging 28.7 points-per-game and notching a single-season program record with 100 3-pointers, according to The Journal News. His success on the high school level was amplified by the competitive Mount Vernon teams he played on. During his tenure, the program advanced to three state final fours and were crowned 2017 Class AA State Champions. His best individual performance in high school came on Feb. 3, 2018 when he scored 50 points against Waleigh in a 97-82 Mount Vernon victory in which he set the highest single-game scoring mark in program history.
“Jason is a gifted scorer and a winner,” Masiello said to The Quadrangle in an interview back in June. “He comes from a high pedigree program at Mount Vernon and I recruited him a lot in high school. He’s a great kid, high energy, and fun to be around.”
Douglas-Stanley’s first two seasons at George Mason were a disappointment for a player of his caliber. He appeared in just 39 games, posting per-game averages of 1.6 points and 0.5 rebounds. In need of a change of scenery, he decided to move closer to home for this new chapter. Douglas-Stanley is hopeful that his tight relationship with Masiello and the expectation of more playing time at Manhattan will restore his confidence.
“I knew that he [Masiello] believed in me and what I was capable of,” Jason Douglas-Stanley told The Quadrangle in an interview back in June. “I want to help the team get better and help everything in the long run so I felt Manhattan would have been a good choice and had a good support system behind me and my city behind me being from New York.”
Manhattan is coming off a season having shot 30.9 percent from three-point range, a big constraint on their offensive production. However, adding an aggressive shooter like Douglas-Stanley should provide a boost in that department in hopes of making the offense more dynamic. The local product has no shortage of motivation to make his presence felt from the get-go.
“I was told shooting was a struggle for Manhattan last year so I definitely want to bring more range,” Douglas-Stanley said.
Earlier in August, news broke that Seton Hall transfer Anthony Nelson received a waiver from the NCAA, thus preventing him from having to sit out as well. Nelson is projected to be inserted as Manhattan’s starting point guard on the strength of his playmaking and defensive potential. In two seasons at Seton Hall, Nelson averaged 2.6 points, 2.0 assists, and 11.4 minutes per game, according to the New York Post.
Both Nelson and Douglas-Stanley, who each have two seasons of eligibility remaining, will look to make a real difference in the Manhattan backcourt next season.