Steve Masiello lost a big chunk of his Manhattan College roster to graduation this past spring, so as he looked to replenish his basketball roster for next winter, there were certain criteria he was looking for in his 2018 recruiting class.
“Character was number one,”Masiello said. “Then winning number two. Type of teammate they were, was number three. And then, of course, the type of basketball player they are.”
Masiello then went out and landed five newcomers who apparently checked off all the boxes on his list. Tyler Reynolds, Elijah Buchanan, Christian Hinckson, Daniel Schreier and Samir Stewart are the new faces of the 2018-19 Jaspers.
“I think all of them will have an impact right away because of our turnover,” said Masiello, who saw Rich Williams, Calvin Crawford, Zavier Turner and Zane Waterman all leave the program after graduating in May. “You’re looking at a team that will probably have eight freshmen and sophomores that will get a good amount of minutes. In that sense, I think we got some really good pieces.”
Reynolds is a forward who comes to Manhattan after playing at Harcum College. He is both a former and now current teammate of Manhattan forward Pauly Paulicap, who also played at Harcum before coming to Riverdale.
“Tyler is a junior college transfer who was top three in the country in three-point shooting with 122 makes,” Masiello said. “He’s a 6-(foot)-6 lefty who can really shoot the basketball. He’s a very high IQ guy who really understands how to play.”
Reynolds averaged 14.3 points and 4.5 rebounds last season while shooting just under 40 percent from three-point range.
Buchanan, a former standout at Mount St. Michael Academy in the Bronx, played a prep season last year at Woodstock Academy in Connecticut.
“Elijah is a great kid. I’ve known him a long time,” Masiello said of the 6-foot-5 guard. “You look at him his senior year at Mount St. Michael and he was first-team All-New York City. He’s as gifted a scorer as there is. He’s another guy who really understands how to play the game. He’s got great size and great length.”
Buchanan averaged 22.4 points a game in his senior season at Mount.
Hinckson, who checks in at 6-foot-7, has the ability to play multiple roles for the Jaspers.
“I don’t know that he’s a guard as much as he’s a really skilled basketball player,” Masiello said. “He’s a guy who I think is perfect for this league because he’s position-less. He can play multiple positions. He has a good frame, he’s strong, he’s long, he has a really good feel for the game. He can put it on the floor, can post up and he can pass.
“He has all the things that I think fit our style very well, and he is an extremely motivated, hard-working young man.”
Hinckson averaged 16.3 points and 12.5 rebounds in his senior season at John Bowne High School.
Masiello landed some height in Schreier as the Santa Monica, California, native is a healthy 6-feet-9. He played a prep season at Vermont Academy last year.
“Daniel is a great young man who works his tail off and shoots the basketball at a really high clip,” Masiello said. “He has an unbelievable mindset, and is a hard-working young man who we think can really emerge in this league as we’ve seen guys like him have a ton of success. We think he fits that mold very well. He reminds me of Zane Waterman.”
The final piece of Masiello’s recruiting haul is Stewart, a feisty guard who is a native of Philadelphia, but played his high school ball in Fort Lauderdale.
“He’s a lot of fun to coach,” Masiello said. “Since he got to New York, the Philly in him comes out more and more, and I love it. He’s got a great edge to him. He’s got a great way about him, very vocal for a young man. He’s a high-level shooter who can really make shots, and another guy with a high IQ who is unbelievably coachable. And that’s probably my favorite thing about him.”
Masiello hopes he struck gold with this class as the Jaspers lost their top three scorers in Williams, Waterman and Turner.
“I’m very happy with this group,” Masiello said. “It reminds me of the team I had my first year in the sense where we’re not young, we’re inexperienced. And the best way to cure inexperience is by teaching.
“These guys are very teachable and that’s something I enjoy.”