Manhattan head coach Steve Masiello may be without one of his key newcomers this season.
The head coach entering his fourth season with the Jaspers said that freshman Samson Usilo suffered an injury to his quad during a workout and said that “it’s not looking too optimistic for this year.”
The 6’4″ freshman guard headlines a four player freshman class for the Jaspers. Usilo was a star at Nazareth Regional High School in Brooklyn for the last three seasons and won a CHSAA A title alongside his Jasper classmate Samson Akilo as a junior.
Masiello described it as a freak injury and that they are still awaiting further evaluation on what, in all likelihood, is a quad tear.
“It’s a pretty serious injury and it could be something where he’s out for the year,” Masiello said. “We’re still evaluating it to see where he is and we’re going to go from there.”
Usilo averaged 20 points per game and 5 rebounds per game as a junior and earned the league’s most valuable player award. He played in the Jordan Brand Classic’s Regional showcase game in April at the Barclays Center and scored 17 points in a 102-99 overtime victory for his team.
“He’s a guy that we counted on heavily in the recruiting of him, he’s such a dynamic explosive power guard, so it’s definitely a big loss for us,” Masiello said. “That being said, this team has great depth, so I’m very appreciative and thankful for that.”
Manhattan won last season’s MAAC tournament championship over Iona, winning 25 games and making the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2004. The Jaspers return two starters from last season’s team in senior RaShawn Stores at point guard and redshirt junior Ashton Pankey.
Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2014-15 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference and Hofstra for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.