Coach blames ‘social media’ culture for Jaspers’ woes

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Manhattan Jaspers head coach Steve Masiello thinks his players are frauds.

After suffering an 81-68 drubbing at the hands of Siena last Sunday, Masiello didn’t hold back on what he believes to be his club’s downfall.

“We’re a fraudulent society, top to bottom,” Masiello said. “Our society is fraudulent. Everything about our society is edited. Everything about our society is pre-arranged, so this generation is a fraudulent generation.”

But hold on, the sixth-year head coach wasn’t done, citing social media as part of the issue.

“They put their Instagram pictures up the way they want, they put their tweet out the way they want. Nothing is interactive, nothing is real,” Masiello said. “So when things don’t go the way people want them to—if it’s not 70 degrees and sunny, and the stars aren’t aligned, and they didn’t get exactly eight hours of beauty sleep—young people struggle with that. Our society today struggles with that. They’re not bad kids. This might be my favorite group I’ve ever had. [But] they struggle with adversity and that’s a byproduct of our society today. We are a reflection of our culture.”

Masiello had a reason to be hot. His team came out flat, and once the Saints got on a 10-0 run to start the first half, Manhattan looked deflated.

But blaming what he considers a generation’s infatuation with social media for a home loss might be a bit of a stretch. And one might also find that it neglects to put the onus on his generation’s—or the coaching staff’s—lack of leadership that has the Jaspers sitting at 2-8 and in last place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC).

There were also mishaps in the game that contributed to the loss, too.

Manhattan shot just 38 percent from the field and just 25 percent from 3-point range with the majority of the field goals coming in garbage time when the game had already been decided. The club turned the ball over 17 times, just under its average of 18 per game, and Siena generated 21 points off those miscues.

“They turn the ball over [quite a bit],” said Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos. “I was worried about us turning it over, but pressing teams don’t like to get pressed. We had to get to the offensive glass. You have to do what the other team does well, so it kind of staggers them a little.”

That Siena did, while Manhattan’s Zane Waterman and Zavier Turner didn’t have their best games.

Waterman was just 5-of-12 from the field and 1-of-4 from 3-point range while Turner was practically a no show. He wasn’t aggressive throughout the contest, going 0-for-4 in the first half and 1-for-5 in the second. His first—and only—bucket of the game didn’t come until there was 1:25 left in regulation.

“I’ve been wanting [Turner] to get more aggressive for a while,” Masiello said. “He’s a very good player [but] he’s struggling with his reads on pick and rolls and corner drifts. Teams are preparing for him, so give them credit.”

Despite the Jaspers lack of offense, they were down just, 39-33, going into half. But an 18-8 run to start the second half by Siena—led by Saints’ senior Brett Bisping, who dropped 24 points in the game—ballooned the lead to 16 points with 12 minutes to play.

“He [was scoring] like crazy,” Pastos said of Bipsing. “He works on his jumpers, he’s really putting the time in the gym.”

Time, however, is running out for Manhattan to get its season in order. The team has 10 games left before the MAAC tournament, and the club doesn’t look like the confident bunch that cut down the nets two of the last three years after winning the conference crowns in 2014 and 2015.

Instead, social media and “fraudulence” have become the rhetoric and reasons for a season that is slowly becoming forgettable.

“This is all definitely a learning experience,” Masiello said before he exited. “It’s definitely making me a better coach, making us better. But we’re definitely going through it a little bit.”

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