Steve Masiello and Manhattan will take their talents across the pond next season, competing in Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic this December. (Photo by Vincent Simone/NYC Buckets)
ALBANY, NY -- Manhattan has already built a recognizable brand of basketball in the New York metropolitan area and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Now, the program will have the opportunity to expand their name cache overseas.
The Jaspers will be one of four teams competing in Northern Ireland next season, taking part in the inaugural Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic on December 1 and 2 in Northern Ireland. The two-day tournament will also feature Holy Cross, La Salle and Towson, with Manhattan facing the Crusaders on December 1 before playing either a consolation or championship game the following day at Belfast's SSE Arena.
"It's just something we're really excited about," head coach Steve Masiello said of the opportunity to be a part of the event, speaking at a press conference held inside Albany's state-of-the-art Capital Center Friday morning. "For us, it's always about experience and opportunity, and we truly believe this is going to give our student-athletes the experience of a lifetime. It's going to be life-changing for them that they're going to be able to, aside from basketball, experience another country, another culture, and really get a taste of what it's like."
The Basketball Hall of Fame, in conjunction with Sport Changes Life, have partnered together to help young people find a path to a brighter future, with student-athletes serving as ambassadors for this worthy cause. Also joining the effort will be former world No. 1-ranked professional golfer and Northern Ireland native Rory McIlroy, along with the Rory Foundation.
"We're really looking forward to this event," Masiello proclaimed. "Yes, it's about basketball and basketball bringing so many people together, and all the work that goes in behind the scenes, but I can't tell you how humbled we are to be a part of this inaugural event and what it means to Manhattan College; not just the men's basketball program, but to our alumni, to our administration, to our coaching staffs. This is something we want to be a part of for a long time, and anytime we get to work with the Hall of Fame, and obviously the MAAC and so many great organizations, you know something great is going to come from it."