To prepare for the tip-off of another great year of college basketball, CHD is reaching out to coaches and players around the country to get the inside scoop on what we can expect this time around. Jon Teitel continues our season preview series by chatting with Manhattan PF Rhamel Brown about putting up a double-double against a championship team.
Your non-conference road schedule includes games against La Salle and South Carolina. Which of these two games do you feel will present your biggest test? La Salle is our first game of the year and will be a great test. We have been working all summer and I think we will come out prepared. We played South Carolina last year and it was a nail-biter for the entire game.
You were one of the team’s top seven scorers from last year, each of whom is back this year. How big a factor do you think your team’s experience will be this season? I think that might be our biggest factor. It is priceless for a team like us who is looking to do big things. We have all been through a lot together and it has helped make us better.
What are your expectations for the upcoming season? Of course we want to grow as a team and as people, and hopefully we can win the MAAC title and make the NCAA tourney.
You grew up in Brooklyn; What made you choose Manhattan? I was not heavily recruited out of high school but Manhattan was 1 of the schools that believed in my talent, which was ultimately the deciding factor.
Coach Steve Masiello is beginning his third year at Manhattan. What makes him such a good coach and what is the most important thing you ever learned from him? He has a lot of intensity and holds us accountable, which makes us want to bring 100% effort all the time.
In the 2012 MAAC tourney, you scored 12 points in a two point overtime loss to Siena (the fifth time in six years that Siena eliminated your school from the conference tourney). Did you think it just reached a point where Siena had your number? We made some critical mistakes that year, but even in the past we have always been in close games against Siena. As long as we learn from our mistakes that is all that matters. Siena has had a really great team over the past decade.
Last November you had 18 points and 15 rebounds in a loss at Louisville. Could you tell at the time that the Cardinals were good enough to win the NCAA title? I knew what kind of system they played and what kind of great coach they have. Russ Smith is a great player who never gives up.
You had to assume a leadership role last season due to some injuries and NCAA rulings. What is the key to being a good leader? It was a big adjustment for me but I had a lot of help along the way. You have to hold your teammates accountable both on and off the court and set a good example yourself.
You are the two time defending MAAC defensive player of the year, as well as the all-time leader for blocks in school history, and finished last season 10th in the nation with more than three blocks per game. What is the secret to being a great shot-blocker? It was just a natural thing for me from an early age. I have learned to block shots without fouling. It is much easier when you are playing help defense rather than having a guy driving directly at you, so I have to give a lot of credit to my teammates.
You led the MAAC last year with a 55.6 FG%. What is the key to being a good shooter? Most of my baskets come around the rim so the key is to maintain your focus and do not let defenders force you to adjust your shot. I have been practicing my mid-range game over the summer, and I try to get as much elevation as possible.