Nazareth star Usilo sticking with Manhattan College

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Nazareth wing and Manhattan College signee Samson Usilo can breathe easy with the Jaspers retaining men’s basketball coach Steve Masiello.

“It was a big relief,” the 6-foot-5 Usilo said. “When I heard he was coming back I was like, ‘Now I don’t have to worry.’ ”

But opponents in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference may have to worry about Usilo when he heads to Riverdale next season.

He showed them what they will be up against by putting all facets of his game on display in the Jordan Brand Classic regional all-star game at the Barclays Center last Friday, helping the White Team to a 102–99 overtime victory over the Black Team.

Usilo scored 12 of his 17 points in the first half and grabbed three rebounds as one of just two mid-major commits in the contest. Usilo included in that two highlight-reel blocks of Miami-bound guard Ja’Quan Newton and wing Paul Jorgenen, who is headed to George Washington.

“Manhattan College got a steal there. They got a great player in him,” said White Team and Bishop Loughlin coach Ed Gonzalez. “He’s going to be a force to be reckoned with down the road.”

Christ the King center Adonis Delarosa added: “The kid’s got springs. I thought he was one of the people jumping on the trampoline out there, but that guy is good.”

Usilo got one of the biggest baskets of the game. He converted a right-handed reverse layup in transition with 25 seconds left in regulation to tie the score at 95–95 and send the game into overtime.

“I had to make it,” Usilo said. “I had to make it. We were down by two.”

Usilo is relieved he didn’t have to make a decision about whether to leave the Jaspers had Manhattan not retained Masiello as coach after it was discovered he lied on his resume about completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Kentucky.

He has not talked to Masiello since the coach had a multi-million dollar offer to be the coach at the University of South Florida rescinded after the discrepancy in is resume was found, but Usilo has spoken to assistant coach Rysheen Davis and some of the members of the team.

“I was tough for them,” Uslio said of his future teammates. “They didn’t know what was going on because no one knew what was going on at the moment. We were just waiting to see what was going to happen. I’m very glad Manhattan decided to bring him back.”

All of the players wanted Masiello to return, and Usilo is excited he didn’t miss out on a chance to play for him.

“Everybody wanted him back,” Usilo said. “He’s a great coach. That’s the reason I’m going there. It’s someone I know can really help me in my game.”

Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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