Masiello calls MAAC awards 'absolute joke'

The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference revealed its All-MAAC teams Monday, and Manhattan coach Steve Masiello was very unhappy with what he saw.

Jaspers forward Emmy Andujar was named first-team All-MAAC, and fellow forward Ashton Pankey was a third-team selection, but teammate Shane Richards was not among the 16 players on the three all-conference teams.

"Heard the all-league selections. Absolute joke in my opinion, just flat-out, that Shane Richards is left off," Masiello said, on a conference call with reporters. "Every team sure prepares for him like he’s all-league, I’ll tell you that. If we had a draft of 16 picks, Shane Richards would be picked in the top 16."

Richards is Manhattan's third-leading scorer, averaging 12.9 points per game. Masiello was also upset that Andujar was not a unanimous selection to the first team. The conference's head coaches are the ones who vote for the awards.

"There’s obviously more to that than his play, so it’s a shame that for whatever reason coaches wanna leave [Richards] off," Masiello said. "But I’ll do what I did in the past -- same thing I’ll do with Emmy, I found out also that he wasn’t voted for by a coach for first team. So we should really look at some credibility here. But I’m gonna let my players know -- I’ll find out who voted what, let my players know like we did last year with Rhamel Brown, and we’ll go from there. So I thank them for motivation for my guys."

Iona coach Tim Cluess sounded much happier Monday, which isn't surprising, given that Iona won the MAAC regular season championship. The Gaels had the only two unanimous selections on the All-MAAC first team, forward David Laury and guard A.J. English, and one of them will likely be named MAAC Player of the Year later this week.

Freshman guard Schadrac Casimir was named second-team All-MAAC and was the only unanimous member of the All-Rookie team, making him the heavy favorite for Rookie of the Year.

"I’m very proud of my team for what they accomplished during the regular season in a really, really competitive MAAC league this year from top to bottom," Cluess said. "Looking forward to the conference tournament -- it’s gonna be a tough tournament for everyone involved and it should be exciting."

Iona (24-7, 17-3 MAAC), the No. 1 seed, will play the winner of No. 8 Siena vs. No. 9 Niagara in the quarterfinals, Saturday at noon in Albany. Manhattan (16-13, 13-7), the No. 3 seed, will play the winner of No. 6 Quinnipiac vs. No. 11 Marist, Saturday at 8 p.m.

The Gaels and Jaspers have met in the MAAC championship game the past two seasons. And they are on opposite sides of the bracket again this year, meaning they could only meet in the final.