WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – There are going to be several players with Westchester County ties in the upcoming NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Monday, White Plains native Steve Masiello earned a trip to the tournament as the coach with Manhattan College.
The Jaspers defeated Iona College, 71-68, in the championship game of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in Springfield, Mass. Manhattan (25-7) will play in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 10 years and Masiello, who graduated from The Harvey School in Katonah, led them there.
"This is just an amazing run," Masiello said in a story on the Manhattan men’s basketball website. "It doesn't happen. It's storybook-like. Normally you have like two or three things that are wrong. There's nothing wrong."
Masiello is in his third year at Manhattan after spending six years as an assistant at Louisville under Rick Pitino. He also was an assistant at Manhattan from 2001-2005. He played at Kentucky, and reached the Final Four with the Wildcats in 1997 and 2000. Pitino coached the Wildcats when they reached the Final Four in 1997.
Masiello played for two years at Archbishop Stepinac before finishing his career at Harvey, where he helped the team win the New England Prep School Athletic Association championship. He graduated from Harvey in 1996.
His coach at Harvey, Tim Stark, said when Masiello was hired at Manhattan that “Steve was already a student of the game when I coached him, focused and determined. He wanted to play ball in college at the highest level, and under Pitino's tutelage, Steve blossomed as a potential head coach." Masiello’s goal of becoming a Division I head coach was “15 years in the making,'' according to Stark.
The Jaspers will learn Sunday who and where they play in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Selection Sunday.