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Catching up with...Jamie Mastaglio.

Former Princeton Tiger James Mastaglio was a crucial part of a senior class that won three Ivy League titles and two NCAA tournament games. He was a starter on the 1997-1998 Princeton team that finished the season 27-2. James has been playing in Europe and coaching high school basketball since his graduation in 1998. James took the time to answer a wide variety of questions questions from princetonbasketball.com list members. Here are his responses.

This interview originally ran in August 1999.

What have you been doing in the year since your graduation?

Following graduation I was invited to attend a free agent combine in Treviso, Italy. I played very well there, making the All-Star team, and I was able to attract some interest from some of the top clubs in Europe, specifically Italy (they loved the last name). I signed a deal with a second division Italian team in Montecatini, Italy, in the same conference as Sydney Johnson. Unfortunately, the contract required me to obtain dual citizenship from Ireland, similar to what Syd has from France, and Jesse from Israel. I wasn't able to obtain that, so after about 6 weeks the contract was basically terminated and I came home.

Following my release I decided try my hand as a varsity basketball coach at my high school in Garden City, Long Island, about 30 minutes from NY. The experience turned out better than expected, as the team jumped from 5-13 the previous year to 15-3 this year, including a 12-0 conference record and a conference championship. The season ended abruptly with a first round playoff loss, but personally it was a great success.

Since the end of the season in March I've basically been trying to keep myself in shape in the hope that I get another shot in Europe, but at this point it doesn't look like that's going to happen. I've been down to school a number of times to work out with the coaches and current players, and I've tried to keep playing in spring and summer league games several times a week as well. However, the rigors of the real world seem to be on the horizon.

I asked Sydney Johnson a similar question, but how did playing in Italy compare to NCAA basketball and playing for Princeton? Since you and Syd were in the same conference, did you ever go up against one another?

Sydney and I never had the opportunity to play against one another during the short time I was over in Italy. However, I did get to see him on film during a tape session while our coaches were giving us a scouting report on the team Syd was playing against. Of course the first thing that stood out was the relentless defensive pressure that we've all grown pretty accustomed to seeing, but the improved offensive repertoire was also a pleasure to watch. As Sydney mentioned in his response to this question, I did notice a more selfish attitude amongst most of the guys. Not to say that they weren't concerned with winning, as Montecatini ended up with the best regular season record in the Division, but most of the players on my team definitely kept a very close eye on their statistics. Practices were also very different from what I was used to. We would accomplish three times as much during a two-hour Princeton practice than we would during a three-hour Montecatini practice. For example, every drill or scrimmage at a Princeton practice is done to simulate situations you'd see during a game, and they are all done at game speed. In Montecatini I found myself doing some things that were, for lack of a better word, pretty silly. Things like jumping over hurdles out on the track or slowly skipping up and down the court like little schoolchildren. The coaches had us doing drills that had no application at all to the sport of basketball. Most of the players also seemed to pick and choose the spots where they would give all their effort, whereas the Princeton coaches demanded that you give 400 whether you were taking a lay-up in warm-ups, or running at the very end of the practice.

Was coaching something you had always thought about going into? How did playing at Princeton influence your coaching "style"? Would you like to continue coaching or is playing professionally a greater dream at this time?

Unfortunately, as I write these answers it doesn't appear that professional basketball is going to work out for me so I'm beginning to set my sights elsewhere. Coaching is something that I've always had an interest in and it's something that I think I'd love to do at some point, but right now I'm probably going to start looking for employment somewhere in the financial world and see what I can do with that.

Going into the season I wasn't quite sure how much influence Princeton would have on my coaching "style," but after only a few practices I realized that it was going to play a big part in determining how I coached the team. We played a match-up zone almost exclusively; very similar to the one that's played at Princeton. We also used the same press-break with great success, and I even tried to throw in some of our basic offensive plays. However, it took almost the entire season before we were able to get any points as a result of their use. I also found that it's a whole lot different watching a game from the sidelines than it is being on the court, and about ten times more stressful. I think that not having any control of what was happening on the floor was the main thing that got my nerves cranked up. I even caught myself a few times making the same kinds of body gestures as Coach Carril and Coach Carmody.

You mentioned to me that you have been back to Princeton to work out with the players. How do the current batch of Tigers, esp. last year's Freshman class, look to you?

One thing that's impressed me a lot about last year's freshmen is that they're in the gym all the time. That's very important, because to recruit talented players is one thing, but to also get guys who love playing the game and who are constantly trying to make themselves better might be even more important than getting a Top 50, or a Top 100 recruit.

Without giving a personal rating of every individual player, I think a couple of keys to next year's season will be how well Ahmed handles the ball and runs the offense, and how well Nate is playing when he comes back. I think Nate will be a big factor during the season because he's somebody who understands the offense and knows what it takes to win games in the league. Losing Brian will put a lot of pressure on Ahmed to handle the ball, but I think after a summer of playing against guys like Mitch, Syd, and Mike Brennan, he'll probably do fine.

Playing for Coach Carril and then playing for Coach Carmody, how was the transition between the two, and what were some differences between the two coaches? What was most difficult about playing for each coach?

There really wasn't much of a transition after Coach Carril left and Coach Carmody took over. I don't think anybody expected too much of a change in the way we approached games and practices, and there really wasn't much of one to speak of. Besides pressing and playing a lot of match-up zone our strategy remained almost the same. It was just that the practices became a lot shorter.

What do you consider three biggest [and best games] you were involved in at Princeton and why?

Since Mitch and Syd have already mentioned the UCLA game and both Penn games, I'll go with three that people probably overlook but which may have been just as important to the program. The first of the three is the 1998 tournament game against UNLV. Despite all of the national attention and press coverage that we received throughout the season I think there were probably a lot of people who expected us to lose that first tournament game. I'm sure many doubted the legitimacy of our Top 10 ranking, and I'm sure many also didn't believe a team with our conference schedule deserved a #5 seed. In that respect I think we had a lot of extra pressure on us as a team to prove to anybody who still had doubts that Princeton should no longer be considered a "giant killer" or a "Cinderella" come March. Beating a team like UNLV, the WAC champion, in the fashion we did, proved to a lot of people that our success during the season was worthy of the attention it received.

The next two games occurred during the middle of the '96-'97 season, and though the Penn playoff game at Lehigh may have been the most important game when one thinks of pivotal contests, these two were not far behind. The first was our loss at home in overtime to Bucknell, and the second was the victory later that week at Monmouth. Just to refresh everyone's memory regarding the Bucknell game, we blew a 16 point second half lead and proceeded to lose by double figures in overtime. This was an important game because it taught everybody involved that no matter how well we're playing, or who we're playing against, we're the type of team that can get beaten at anytime by anybody. We had just won a tournament in Milwaukee against a very good Marquette team, and I think the Bucknell loss brought us back to reality and made everybody work a lot harder to make ourselves better.

Monmouth was just the type of team that you didn't want to play after an embarrassing loss. We were on their court, they had beaten us the year before, and they had a lot of returning players. If I remember correctly we didn't have the greatest few days of practice following the Bucknell loss, so to go in and beat an NCAA tournament-bound team that was loaded with confidence was just what we needed to get ourselves back on track and winning again. The team went through a lot during those two games, but the experience was invaluable. In the season and a half following those games we had only three losses.

What are some of your fondest memories of playing at Princeton?

My fondest memory of playing at Princeton is unquestionably playing at Madison Square Garden in the ECAC Holiday Festival. Having grown up in New York it was a dream come true to get a chance to play in an arena where I had been a spectator so many times, and where so much history has taken place over the years in both professional and college basketball. Standing there looking up at the retired jerseys and championship banners of my beloved Knicks was a bit overwhelming at first, and I think my stellar 1 point performance against Drexel was good proof of that. But to have one of my better games in the finals in front of I don't know how many friends and family members is an experience I'll never forget.

Looking back at the Michigan State game again, have you had the opportunity to reflect on that game and its significance? What were your thoughts as the game ended, and the curtain came down on your career at Princeton and the team's chances to make a run in the Tournament?

Like Mitch, I too have still have not watched a tape of the Michigan State game. Obviously, we were all very disappointed following the game, and I don't think many of us could believe the season was really over. We had a great year, but our goals were set much higher than the second round and at that moment our 27 other wins seemed to have little significance. I don't remember a whole lot being said inside the locker room, there was just a massive feeling of disappointment when the realization set in that our bid to make another road trip was unsuccessful.

More questions about the Michigan State game: going into the Tournament, did you think that you had a chance to make something big happen, including even a possible run to the Final Four? I asked Mitch Henderson and I would like to ask you to reflect generally on the Michigan State game. What do you think happened in that game? Why did Princeton shoot so poorly from the foul line and (other than making more foul shots) and what do you think the team could have (or should have) done differently to win the game? Were nerves a factor in that game?

I don't think nerves were a factor at all during that game. We were a team with a number of experienced players who had played a lot of games together, and nerves didn't ever seem to get in the way of what we were trying to do. As I said earlier, I think there was probably a little more pressure to win the first game against UNLV than there was in the game against Michigan State. So I don't think anybody's play was a result of being nervous.

As a team we always tried not to look too far ahead, instead concentrating on each game individually. Everybody on the team knew that we were capable of making a serious run in the tournament, and I don't think any of us would have been too surprised if we had advanced past the second or third rounds. I would have loved to have another shot at North Carolina, and I think we would have done fairly well against them if we had the opportunity to play them again. Unfortunately, we just had a lot of things go against us that night. We had a poor game shooting the basketball, both from the foul line and the field. They were a very good defensive team that was well prepared, and they had one player who pretty much controlled the game offensively. Yet despite all that adversity we were still tied with a little over a minute remaining.

There isn't a lot we could have done differently during that game besides making a few more shots. During the course of a season, whether we're playing Brown or North Carolina, we don't really make too many adjustments to our game plan. Strategically our offense worked fine in the Michigan State game, the shots just didn't go down. As far as the foul shooting, sometimes missed foul shots have a way of snowballing and the misses become contagious. I don't know how else to explain it. We were a pretty good foul shooting team all season, but that night not many of them went in.

I think several of us have asked Mitch and Sydney what their takes are on the status of PU b-ball today and I'd like to get your views as well. Do you think Princeton has reached a level of competitiveness today where it is reasonable to think of the Tigers as a perennial top 25 or 30 program? If so, what has caused this to happen? Do you think Princeton will ever make it back to the Final Four (as it did in 1965 when Bill Bradley was a senior)? What do you think it would take for something that big to happen again?

My personal opinion on college basketball rankings is that they don't mean a whole lot in the big scheme of things. The people who vote in the two polls place the same 25 or 30 teams in the rankings each year, so a lot of things have to fall into place at the right times for a team like Princeton to consistently crack those rankings. I don't think it will be fair to judge the ability of a particular Princeton team based on how high it is ranked in the polls. Members of the press corps and other coaches don't get to see us play that often, so all they're really voting on is a box score that they might read in the paper. Do I think that Princeton will continue to play like a perennial Top 25 or 30 program? The answer is yes. We've played at or above the level of some very good teams during the past few seasons, and with the recruiting that's going on now I think that that level of play will probably stay very high in future seasons.

I don't think a run at the Final Four is out of the question for a Princeton team. Obviously the NCAA Tournament is an extremely tough event to win, and it's pretty clear that a team has to catch a lot of breaks over the course of a season to advance that far. One advantage that Princeton has over most other top-level teams is that all of its players will be around for all four years. With the mass exodus of underclassmen jumping ship and heading for the NBA many teams are constantly retooling with younger, less experienced players. If Princeton can assemble a group of players with three or four years of experience playing together, similar to what we had in '98, a potential run deep into the tournament is a definite possibility.

James, what do you think of the refereeing in the Ivy League? How does it differ when you go out of conference opponents or play in post-season tournaments? For example, do you think that there is a bias against Ivy athletes when competing against bigger conference opponents that is reflected in more fouls being called on Princeton defenders (or fewer fouls called against the bigger opponents). The all time Princeton horror story in this regard occurred before your time, when Alonzo Mourning clearly got away with a hack of Kit Mueller at the buzzer of the infamous 1989 Georgetown game. From your experience, would a foul have been called if those two had switched jerseys?
 
This is a very good question. I think I saw Coach Dunphy take a guy off the street in Philly and give him a whistle for one of those games down at the Palestra, but for the most part I think that the refereeing within the league is pretty fair. I'm sure if you ask somebody from Brown or Dartmouth they might disagree with that assessment, but I don't recall ever walking off the court after an Ivy League game saying to myself "We got jobbed!" When we play out of conference there is often going to be a noticeable disparity in the number of fouls called for and against us, primarily based on the way we play. The way we set up on the court, with essentially four guards and a center, leads to a lot of open lay-ups and three-pointers and few drives to the basket. A majority of teams from the major conferences seem to set up with two forwards, a center, and two guards, leading to an increase in inside play which almost always results in a lot of fouls being called. Most of those schools also have one or two very athletic guards that prefer to take the ball to the basket rather than shoot, which will also usually lead to the calling of more fouls. Again, though, I don't ever remember leaving the court after a game thinking the referees really stole one away from us.

Regarding the Alonzo Mourning-Kit Mueller play, I haven't seen a tape of that game in a few years so I really can't give my opinion on the call. I guess the thing that I've noticed on last second shots is that referees will rarely call a foul when a player is shooting a jump-shot at the buzzer (But thank god he did for Larry Johnson). A player will usually only get a foul called when he goes to the basket, and even then he usually has to get hammered in order to earn a trip to the line. Hopefully that answer will help a little.

As a follow up to the previous question, it seems to me that some teams are adopting a "holding" strategy against Princeton's cutters as a way of shutting down the backdoor play. By this I mean that defenders are grabbing the cutters as they penetrate the lanes. Do you agree that this is happening, do you think referees are calling fouls sufficiently to prevent it, and what do you think Princeton can do to counter it?

Great call on this one. I definitely agree with your observation that teams are holding us a little bit more than in the past, especially within the league. I'm sure other teams have always attempted to utilize a strategy of holding Princeton's cutters, but it did seem to me that over the course of my four years opposing players became more deliberate in their attempts. Sometimes defenders, especially early on in games, seemed to blatantly jump out in front of cutters, or play the type of "in your face" defense that didn't give a player room to even start his cut. A number of times during my last couple of years I can distinctly remember a couple of us getting floored by opposing players while trying to get a lay-up on a backdoor play.

I don't think any of those tactics really forces us away from the things that we're trying to accomplish on offense, primarily because the coaches don't allow us to use "being held" as an excuse for not making a particular cut, or for not successfully completing a back door play. "Cut harder" is a phrase that the coaching staff may yell a hundred times over the course of a game or practice, and it is one which players grow tired of hearing over their careers, but it really is the only counter to a holding type of defense. The harder a player cuts, the more obvious it becomes to the referee that the defender is grabbing a jersey or an arm. So it is really up to us whether or not a referee is forced to call a foul on the defense.

Can you explain what it's like for Princeton to play on the road as compared to playing at home? It seems like every year, Princeton has to play 2/3 of its games on the road. Does that kind of experience make Princeton into a better road team? Has it gotten to the point where Princeton actually plays better on the road than at home?

I don't think it ever gets to the point where a team is better playing on the road than at home. If you ask any player where he'd rather play, ten times out of ten he'll say at home. However, sometimes playing on the road can have its advantages. There can be a lot of distractions before playing a home game. Family can be a distraction, roommates and friends can be a distraction, and certainly classes can be a distraction, but playing on the road lets you get away from all that. The team is able to maintain more of a routine on the road, which probably results in us being a little bit more focused before an away game than we are when we're in Princeton. But once you get on the floor at Jadwin, and you have 6,500+ fans cheering for the team, you get tuned in pretty quickly.

I think the pre-Ivy League road schedule definitely makes Princeton a better road team during the Ivy season. During my four years, after trying to play at places like Indiana, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Fresno State, the weekend trip to Hanover and Cambridge didn't seem too bad. Also, getting on a plane and traveling to different cities is part of the fun of playing Division I basketball, so in that respect I didn't mind playing a lot of games away from home. One thing I was a little upset about is that we never got the chance to play a tournament in Hawaii, and for that I'll always have a little bit of jealousy left over for this year's team.

As a follow up to the previous question, can you share what your thoughts are about fan support for Princeton basketball. Did you and the rest of the team feel that the locals and students gave you the support you deserved over your 4 years? Was there ever any resentment about this? For example, do the players feel that the fans should be more vocal?

If I did have any complaints about the fan support at Princeton they were erased ten times over during my senior season. I could have never imagined that we'd ever be able to sell out an Ivy League game against a team other than Penn, but we did it regularly. During my first year and a half we didn't draw too many fans to our games, but I guess I just chalked that up to being a player at an Ivy League school where basketball wasn't a main priority in the lives of the students and community. We also weren't winning enough games to really deserve huge crowds. I think that if we had had the type of year we did in '98 and people still didn't come to games, then I may have been a little bit disappointed. But the people of Princeton came out and supported us towards the end of my four years, and I can't say enough about the way the students began to get into games. For once it seemed like a Princeton home game was the place to be on Friday and Saturday nights. I never thought I'd see the day when Princeton students were camped out for tickets, but it happened.

What has it been like in recent years for Princeton basketball players in terms of interacting with the rest of the university community? When I was a student (1979-1983), I felt that the basketball players for the most part were fairly fully integrated into the rest of the student body. But my sense is that basketball has become a bigger phenomenon on campus since then. Did you have any sense of being a "celebrity" on campus? How do you think other students and faculty responded to you as a starter on a top 10 basketball team?

One of the unique things about Princeton is that a very high percentage of the student-body participates in an intercollegiate sport. With such a large number of athletes at Princeton I think too many students are so tied up with their own commitments that it makes it tough for the campus to go completely crazy over one particular team. My senior year may have been a bit of an exception, but I still wouldn't come close to calling myself a "celebrity" on campus. Besides maybe talking about a game before class with some other students, or the occasional "good luck" from a professor, I don't think I got treated any differently than if I hadn't played ball. I'll say one thing though, there were some times when I really could have used some "celebrity" treatment from some professors, the kind of treatment that it now appears they give at some schools around the country, but I wasn't so fortunate.

What sold you on coming to Princeton? Was Carmody the coach who actually recruited you? What was his pitch to you? What other schools recruited you and why didn't you pick them? What do you think are the pros and cons of Princeton in terms of recruiting? What do you think Princeton could do better or most needs to improve to become an even better recruiter?

Deciding to come to Princeton was, for me, a no-brainer. I come from a high school in Garden City, Long Island that is not really known as a basketball powerhouse. It's much more likely to turn out a Princeton lacrosse player than it is a basketball player, with Nick Lane, Don McDonough, Chris Massey, and now B.J. Prager as some of the former Trojans to have worn a Tiger uniform. I was being recruited by mostly Division III schools and a few mid-level Division I schools located around the NYC area. One of those schools was Hofstra, which at the time was coached by Butch van Breda Kolff who I'm sure all of you are familiar with. He offered me a scholarship, but with Hofstra being only five minutes from my house I told him I wanted to go a little bit farther away from home. He was very understanding, made a phone call to Coach Carril to let him know he had a player, and that was it. Coach Carmody and Coach Scott came to watch me play shortly afterwards, and six months later I was at Princeton.

In my situation the coaches didn't need to make any kind of pitch. They gave me the opportunity to play basketball for a Hall of Fame coach and a great staff. Play a schedule year in and year out that is very competitive for any Division I team. Play on national television several times a year, and have an opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament. Oh yeah, and throw in a Princeton degree as well. All that sounded pretty appealing to me.

Obviously, however, the high admissions standards and not having scholarships are problems that must be dealt with when recruiting any player, and I think that they're factors that must be handled on a player by player basis. It's now pretty clear that due to the success of recent Princeton teams the coaches are dealing with recruits who are, on the whole, probably more talented than they have been in the past. I think they used to deal primarily with players that the bigger schools didn't want, but now there's the opportunity to possibly take some of those kids away from the Big East, or ACC. Unfortunately some kids flat out can't afford to overlook the lack of scholarships, or just don't have the grades to gain admission, but those are just obstacles to Ivy League recruiting that can't be avoided. There's nothing that can really be done to "improve" the recruiting situation, or avoid those obstacles. You just have to let the player see what your school has to offer and hope things workout, and I think Princeton's record over the past few years is evidence that the coaching staff is doing a pretty good job of doing just that.

This is a repeat of a question I asked Mitch Henderson: do you think different Ivy League basketball programs have different "personalities?" In other words, is Princeton known for attracting or developing a certain kind of player or personality as compared to Harvard, Dartmouth, Yale or Penn? What are some of the stereotypes about Princeton players or the Princeton program that you think circulate within the locker rooms of the other Ivy programs? Do you think the other Ivy schools dislike or resent Princeton?
 
This is a tough question to answer. I don't see how anybody could have had anything negative to say towards any of our players, because I thought everybody was a pretty good guy. I'm sure other teams don't really like us, but I don't know if that's personal or just because we've done pretty well in the league during the last several years. I think Mitch hit it right on the head when he said that we're taught to try to make ourselves into good Division I players, not just good Ivy League players. We want to be considered one of the best Division I programs, not just one of the best Ivy League programs. It seems to me that other Ivy League teams, with the exception of Penn, are content with finishing high in the Ivy League standings. It seems that a successful season at other schools is not determined by winning the league and advancing to the NCAA Tournament, but by finishing in the top half of the standings. I think it can be best described by the fact that other Ivy League teams appear to view their games against Princeton and Penn as the highlights of their seasons, whereas we both have our minds set on bigger and better things.

One specific example draws on our Dartmouth game at home during the '96-'97 season during which we needed a missed Dartmouth lay-up to pull out a 1 or 2 point win. Dartmouth's players appeared happy to have taken us down to the wire, and some even jokingly remarked at how pleased they were to have played so well against us, and how great it would have been to put a mark in our loss column. We, on the other hand, were already dreading our post-game talk and the upcoming week of practice. It would have been a major blemish on our record to have lost a game like that, but on the court it appeared that they were enjoying their loss more than we were enjoying our win.

What was that thing with Dick Vitale and you being the best "role" player in the country all about? Do you know how he discovered you? Did all the attention put extra pressure on you?

I don't know where that whole thing came from, it was totally out of the blue. Dick probably just liked the Italian last name. I think with all the attention that the team was receiving somebody needed to stick a label on me. Steve was already the best passing big man in the country, Mitch was the floor general who was drafted by the Yankees, Brian was the great three-point shooter who had a brother at Penn State, and Gabe was the cult hero who made the game winning shot against UCLA. I guess I had to be called something so they decided to give me the title of "best role player." I know he said that the "role players" are the guys who are supposed to dive on the floor for loose balls and do all the other dirty work, but I don't remember diving for one loose ball the entire season, so go figure.

Finally, I noticed your father (and I think your mom as well) at a number of games. It seems like they came to a lot of games and showed a lot of support. Can you discuss what it's like to have family support while playing college basketball in the limelight? Do you think Princeton basketball enjoys particularly strong parent support?

I'm fortunate to live only an hour or so away from Princeton, so my parents were able to make virtually every home game and almost every game on the road. It's important to have people there who you know want to see you do well. I know it's nice to have somebody there to talk to after the game, if just to talk about particular plays or maybe vent some frustration after a poor performance. They allow you to get your mind off of basketball and school for a few hours each week.

I think our team did enjoy particularly strong family support, probably due to the fact that several players grew up within reasonable driving distance from Princeton. There were a lot of family members who loved to watch us play, and it was nice to have an army of fans at almost every game, home and away. I think the strong family support is another indication of how close we were as a team. We all liked each other and enjoyed playing basketball with each other, and I think that that translated into the closeness that existed between all of our families.

Please tell us about the dual-nationality system you mentioned. Is there any way to play provisionally without it?

Most European nations play with the rule that only 2 Americans are allowed to play at the same time for each team. Some nations have different rules regarding the number, but most limit the amount to 2. Therefore, for an American to play on a team that already has 2 Americans he must obtain some form of dual European-American citizenship from a nation that may have once been home to his ancestors. The nation that we thought I might have been able to obtain dual citizenship from was Ireland. Each country has different laws regarding the process, so I can only speak for those regarding Irish-American citizenship.

The law in Ireland states that if your ancestors trace back 2 generations, which basically translates to your grandparents, you can qualify for dual-citizenship. If you can provide birth certificates for both grandparents, marriage certificates proving that they were married, and death certificates, you can receive dual-citizenship. In my case my ancestry traced back to my great-grandparents, so the law stated that my mother would have had to apply for and have received her dual-citizenship before I was born. Then I'd be able to qualify through her. Unfortunately she didn't foresee this scenario possibly unfolding before I was born 24 years ago, so I hold her personally responsible for all the difficulty that I've had attempting to play over in Europe.

You played a fair amount as a freshman. Pete started you some of the time, as I recall. Given your lack of experience in the Princeton system at that point and what you learned subsequently, what advice would you give in coming freshman Cameron Carr, who it now appears will get a fair amount of playing time this upcoming season, playing the position you played?

The first few weeks are very confusing, so he'll just have to pay attention to the coaches and experienced players and try to learn things as quickly as he can. A big determining factor on how much, and how well freshmen play, is their ability to learn the offense. He won't understand everything for quite some time, so until he does he just has to figure out the things he's able to do well that will help the team win games. Certain things he simply won't be able to control until he learns the offense, but others, like defense, rebounding, and shooting, should come naturally. If he can concentrate on doing those things well everything else will eventually fall into place given time. If that doesn't work just give Chris Young the ball and go screen for somebody!

Basketball teams measure their player's vertical leap. How high was yours? What method did you employ to improve your vertical leap as you were developing as a player?

I read where during the summer before your final season, the Princeton basketball team went on a summer trip to Europe and played several games with club teams there.

(a) How did this fit in with NCAA rules prohibiting organized practices prior to October 15?
(b) Was it that the team went without the coaching staff?
(c) Do you feel the experience of the trip had any impact on fact the season was such a success?
(d) And finally, why wouldn't the team do this every year?

Well Philip, I really have no idea how high my vertical leap is. The last time I had it measured was during a strength and conditioning test in 8th grade, but I don't remember how high it was. I've never really been able to jump that high off of two feet so I've never paid much attention to developing my vertical leap. I can actually get up a lot higher when I jump off of one foot, but I have to skip a few meals before I'm able to dunk a ball off of two.

The trip we took to Italy helped us tremendously, especially during the early portion of our schedule. It basically served as a free month of competition which allowed us to work out a lot of the kinks that are normally associated with the beginning parts of the season. The trip allowed us to get our minds focused on the season a little bit earlier than normal, and I think we probably had a little bit of an advantage over the teams we played in the beginning of the year. Penn took a trip last summer and I think the advantages were apparent when they played Kansas tough and then beat a good Temple team.

If I remember correctly the NCAA allows five or so days of practice with the coaching staff before leaving for the trip. There was also a camp session the week prior to those practices, so most of the guys came back and worked camp so we'd be able to play together during our off hours and kind of get back into the swing of things. The reason that teams don't take a trip every year is that the NCAA only allows each school to take an off-season international trip, I believe, once every four years. Otherwise every team would spend their summers in Europe prior to each season.

Since this was a hot topic earlier, I'd be curious to know if, as a rule, Jamie roots for Penn when they're playing non-conference games (and, specifically, in the NCAA tournament on the rare occasions that the Quakers represent the Ivy League).

I'm not sure how I want to answer this question. I guess I have to say that I really don't care how Penn does when they play out of conference, or in the NCAA Tournament. I think part of me wants to see them lose, because I don't want to see Penn have too much success or receive too much credit. But there's also a part of me that wants to see the league represented well. If they have a lot of success out of conference it makes our wins against them look that much better. I think it ends up being a win-win situation. If they lose a game I can say that I hate them and I wanted them to do poorly, but if they win I can say I'm pleased because it looks good for the league and our team. I think deep down, though, I really don't mind seeing them get trounced.

After the last 3 seasons, and after a few eyebrow raising recruiting classes, the question has come up - Can Princeton, with Ivy League admission standards and no scholarships, establish itself as a perennial top 20 team, or should Princeton fans be content with winning the Ivy every couple of years and an NCAA tournament win every 5 years, or is it possible to do more? Will we ever see a Princeton team in the Final 4?

As I mentioned earlier, the high admissions standards and lack of scholarships are simply obstacles that can't be avoided. However, I do think Princeton can still establish itself as a team that is mentioned when discussing the top tier Division I programs, if it hasn't achieved that status already. To elaborate a little bit on my answer to Mr. Silverman's question, a main factor that leads me to believe that Princeton will continue to succeed in winning the league and advancing in the tournament is the dedication that the Princeton coaching staff has to winning. I don't think the average Princeton fan is in a position to get a true understanding of just how fanatical the staff is about winning games. I know that the coaches wouldn't be content with winning the league every few years, or with winning a game in the tournament every 5 years. They demand more from themselves and the players on the team, so I don't think you'll see too many three or four year Ivy championship losing streaks in the near future.

Here are 32 of the best basketball players on Wall Street | Business Insider Singapore said,

June 30, 2017 @ 4:33 am

[...] Jamie Mastaglio is still remembered at Princeton University for his role on a team that upset a stacked UCLA program to shock onlookers in the 1996 NCAA March Madness tournament. After college, he tried his hand at international hoops in Italy, but ultimately returned to the New York City area, where he would coach his high-school alma mater. These days, he’s a partner at Cara Castle Partners. [...]

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