After Manhattan won their second straight conference championship game, head coach Steve Masiello said he credited RaShawn Stores with the game plan to win.
“He literally came up with the scheme of how he wanted to play the game and that’s not an exaggeration,” Masiello said after their championship win. “He told me he wanted to fan out, not trap David, play single coverage and let’s see how they played it. He’s going to be a superstar in this coaching business and I’m lucky to have him.”
Since then the 5’11” point guard has received another season of eligibility, but Stores knows the path he would like to continue on once he completes his final season.
“I’m very interested in coaching in my future, I want to stay around the game,” Stores said. “I would love to coach in the future when I’m done.”
Stores said that Masiello has helped fan the flame of his interest in being a coach while at Manhattan and the championship game is just one example. He wouldn’t take full credit for the scheme, saying that he watched film and had a “regular conversation” with his coach the night before, which led to the game plan.
Of course Stores and Masiello have spent plenty of time together already in the film room. Masiello started his college coaching career shortly after his playing career concluded at Kentucky and it appears he has helped lead Stores in that direction.
“Being around it more, it makes you want to do it,” Stores said. “Coach always said, you know what you could be a great leader, you could be a great coach one day and I just always ran with it since then.”
Stores has led the Jaspers to two MAAC championships, started 50 of their last 64 games in the last two seasons, and while he doesn’t light up the box score, opponents know how much of an impact he can have on the game on both sides. He has evolved into the Jaspers’ go to leader, especially for this coming season.
“RaShawn is going to grab guys and lead guys and put them in the right spots,” Masiello said. “He just makes everyone look better. I’m not trying to put too much pressure on him or make this bigger than it is because his numbers aren’t overwhelming, but I’m just telling you that guy, there’s a reason we’ve been in three straight championship games and a big big part of that has been RaShawn Stores.”
Masiello admires how much Stores has evolved into a leader, but the senior said he has seen how the 38 year-old head coach has done the same and admires how he is a master motivator.
“He knows how to get us going no matter who we play, no matter what we’re up against, he knows how to get us going and keep us together,” Stores said. “He’s a great leader, that’s one thing I know, he’s a great leader and he says I’m a great leader, but I get a lot of it from what he taught me, a lot over my four years here.”
The fifth year senior Stores will have one more chance to lead a team that has won a championship this season, though they will have a new look. Gone are Emmy Andujar, Ashton Pankey and Donovan Kates from last season’s team. Stores knows that he has seen some of his teammates have success in spurts for the Jaspers last season, but now they will need to prolong that in greater minutes.
“What motivates me is defending the title, trying to do it with a different group of guys, younger group of guys and show them before I leave how to lead and how to win basketball games,” Stores said.
However Stores hopes his basketball career won’t end with their final shot this season, whenever it may come in either the MAAC tournament or – if the last two years repeat themselves – in the NCAA tournament. He hopes that after his final season if he does not continue playing professionally that coaching will be the avenue he enters into.
“Hopefully one day I get my shot,” Stores said.
Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2015-16 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference among others for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.