On a day where the College of Staten Island men’s basketball program honored the memory of late-assistant coach Matty White, over 20 alumni of the program turned out for the 4th Annual Matty White Men’s Basketball Alumni Game. The event not only serves as a chance for great alumni to get together and reminisce on great times, but a spirited basketball game followed, won by the Black team by a 73-69 count over the Blue squad.
It did not take long for the teams to rename themselves. The Black team, the visitors on the scoreboard were re-named Team Gasper, named after famed alum Brian Gasper, who traveled from Coral Springs, Florida, to join the event. The Blue team was re-named Team Cali, named after recent Hall of Famer John Cali.
Team Gasper led start to finish, but the pesky team in blue battled back to force a 29-29 tie at the end of the first quarter, and another, 43-43 tie at the end of the first half. Defense stole the show, as Team Cali was held to just 28.1 shooting in the second half, as Team Gasper out-scored Team Cali 12-4 in the third stanza. Team Gasper took a big 69-58 lead with two minutes to go, but a feverish comeback rallied Team Cali. But in the end, it was Team Gasper that converted a couple of late open-lay-ups to keep the win.
Earning MVP honors for Team Gasper was recent grad Jordan Young, who tallied 19 points and 10 rebounds for the winners. Gasper added 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Christian Montervino poured in 9 points, 9 rebounds, and six assists. For Team Cali, CSI all-time leading scorer Michael Stewart notched a game-high 21 points adding six rebounds. Cali added 10 points, six rebounds and eight assists. Fellow Hall of Famer, Coach Evan Pickman scored six points.
More than anything, however, the entire group had a great time, celebrating the event with a rousing fully-catered luncheon after the contest, outfitted by Alumni Organizer Craig Sleap, who played for winning Team Gasper.
Associate Athletic Director David Pizzuto coordinates the event each year, and noted the success of the afternoon. “Everyone has such a great time, from the guys on the court, the fans in the stands and the staff working the event,” he said. “What ends up shining the brightest on days like this are the obvious friendships that have built through the years.”
CSI Head Coach Tony Petosa, whose team defeated Brooklyn College after the Alumni game, 86-58, also recognizes the value of the day, and the overlying themes of remembering Coach White.
“The alumni have wanted to hold this game for many years and to have this game be in its fourth-year with Matty’s name attached to it is very overwhelming. He had such a profound effect on these guys and countless other alumni, so it’s great to remember him each year like this with everyone together.”
CSI Alumni to participate in this year’s event were: George Wonika, Jay Chazenoff, Neville Lestrade, Christian Montervino, Jack Westrenen, Brian Namerato, Brian Gasper, Matt Franzreb, Joe O’Leary, Robert Mesjasz, Craig Sleap, Jordan Young, Jeff Housman, John Cali, Michael Stewart, Dan O’Leary, Ken Thomassen, J.C. Albano, Champ Albano, Evan Pickman, Ryan Hennessey, and Eric Andres.