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Manhattan gears up for NCAA Tournament and date with Louisville

“Every kid dream is to make it to the NCAA Tournament, whether it happens or not I feel that is a dream of everyones. In order to be here you have to imagine it at some point.” Manhattan Sophomore Forward Shane Richards

Manhattan Men's Basketball Huddle. Photo by: Stacy Podelski/1495 Sports

Manhattan Men’s Basketball Huddle. Photo by: Stacy Podelski/1495 Sports

All the pieces are in place, all the time, blood, sweat, tears all of it is there. Everything is in place for the #13 seeded Manhattan College (25-7) to be the  Cinderella Story in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

It won’t be an easy road for sure, with a first round game against the #4 seeded Louisville, but what has been easy for this team, who literally went from the bottom to find themselves 2014 MAAC Champions and now packing their packs for a trip to Orlando, Florida-Florida the place where dreams can come true.

This year’s edition of the Manhattan College Men’s Basketball team has everything needed to make an impact in this year’s tournament.

There is the senior leadership starting with Michael Alvarado, George Beamon and Rhamel Brown who all season long have led by example, play the Jasper brand of basketball and look to help the team continue this historic run into March.

Brown has been part of the low post presence for Manhattan that also features Ashton Pankey and Emmy Andujar all have the potential to take a game over and put the team on their back.

If you like outside shooting never fear as Manhattan College has that as well as a ton of the guys can hit the three at any time, but really keep an eye out for Alvarado, Beamon and Sophomore Shane Richards who has made a three-pointer in every Manhattan game this season and already ranks among the top five in Manhattan’s program history in made three-pointers.

How about passing well the long standing tradition of great point guards have been kept alive by both by Alvarado and junior RaShawn Stores who has started the last 23 games for the Jaspers and has had a strong last five games. Stores is averaging 7.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game during that span and hit two crucial shots in the second half of Manhattan’s 71-68 championship game victory over Iona on March 10.

Also contributing some huge minutes at the point position has been freshman Tyler Wilson, who owns a owns a 1.4:1 assist to turnover ratio and has collected 27 steals.

Rich Williams and Donovan Kates has brought a ton of memorable moments for Manhattan fans, Williams in his first year, Kates in his third. Both will be players to watch as their athletic ability and ability to finish strong at any moment for the Jaspers.

Williams has converted 52.6 percent of his field goals and 38.7 percent from three-point range in his first collegiate season, showing the ability to go to the net on any occasion with power, speed and an explosive finish.

As for Kates he has been invaluable for Manhattan coming off the bench, including a number of hustle plays in the second half of the MAAC Quarterfinal victory over Saint Peter’s,  while finishing with four points and three rebounds in 18 minutes.

There are many stories to be told with this year’s Manhattan College Men’s Basketball team as they head to Florida for the NCAA Tournament, including the one that is getting a ton of attention as the pupil Steve Masiello will take on his mentor Rick Pitino.

At the end of the day though the ones that will get the chance to make history are the young men who put in the countless hours practicing, and giving that blood, sweat and tears to this Jasper program. With Nine Players from the Metropolitan Area of New York, Eight from the Five Boroughs  this is a team that the City can get behind, and one to watch for in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

The Manhattan Men’s Basketball NCAA Tournament game versus Louisville will be held on Thursday, March 20, with tip-off scheduled for 9:50 p.m. Fans who are unable to watch the game can catch all the action on the TNT Network or at one of the two viewing parties held at these locations:

East End Bar~ 1664 1st Ave, New York, NY 10028

or

Johnny Utah’s ~25 W 51st St #3, New York, NY 10019

Fans are encouraged to check out our video chat with George Beamon, Shane Richards and Rich Williams by clicking on the link below:

http://1495sports.com/2014/03/18/videos-beamon-richards-and-williams-interviews-prior-to-manhattan-going-to-ncaa-tournament/

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