By Paul Casey Gotham
A casual fan might not even notice. At least not until one glances at the box score. Then it is hard to ignore the impact George Beamon has upon the success of the Manhattan Jaspers. His game isn’t one that captures the glare of the camera. He dwells not in the arena of highlight reel dunks or spectacular long range shots. Rather Beamon’s is a game that consists of the subtleties many thought were a thing of the past. Nonetheless, Beamon posts double-digit performances in a manner that would get him a mention with tariffs and one’s earthly demise.
At 6’4″ and 170 pounds, he does not strike an intimidating pose. But Beamon has proven that a player can do more with less, and that is a primary reason the Jaspers can once again consider post-season aspirations.
“He’s very efficient,” said first-year Manhattan coach Steve Masiello. “He doesn’t need a lot of shots to score big numbers. He can go out and get you 25 points on 14 shots.”
Beamon’s efficiency stretches back to at least January 11th of last season, a span which includes 39 games that the junior has scored in double figures.
This season has presented an additional challenge to that run.
Leading a lineup consisting of six players accounting for six points or more per contest, Beamon has been asked to play less. The junior averages 31.8 minutes per game this year, down five from his 36.8 a season ago. Despite the decrease in time, Beamon has increased his production currently scoring 17.8 as opposed to his 16.3 a year ago. He is doing that while taking one fewer shot per contest than he did a year ago. The Roslyn, New York native has also improved his assists from 1.3 to 2.0.
“He’s very low maintenance,” Masiello explained. “Where he’s really gotten better is playing without the basketball. You’ll see him moving now a lot more. He’s learning how to be a playmaker and get guys involved.”
Beamon turned in a season-high 33 points when the Jaspers visited the Koessler Athletic Center in late January to take on the Canisius Golden Griffins. His scoring-to time on the court production reached a one-to-one ratio as he scored a point for every minute he played that night. But the shooting guard didn’t stop there. He grabbed eight rebounds, dished out two assists, blocked two shots and had three steals, all this without turning over the ball once or committing a foul.
“This league is very good,” Masiello said about the MAAC after the victory over Canisius. “”There are a lot of great players. What he means to us is more than any other player means for their team. I’m lucky to have him.”
It wasn’t a game that started well for Beamon. After connecting on his first shot of the night, he missed his next five en route to scoring nine in the first stanza. Beamon heard it from his coach at halftime.
“Coach got on me,” Beamon commented. “I needed that. It woke me up.”
“What’s so great about him is he takes coaching so well,” Masiello added. “I haven’t seen too many talented guys like him. He wants that feedback. Most kids go home and call their boys. He’s the complete opposite.”
Beamon’s 24-point second-half outburst came against team that has made their mark shutting down the opposition’s leading scorer. Despite their 1-12 mark, the Golden Griffins have held MAAC leading scorer, Michael Glover, 12 below his season average of 18. Niagara’s Juan’ya Green came to the KAC as the leading freshmen scorer in the nation. He, too, left with just six points.
“My teammates found me,” Beamon said after the game. “I hit some open shots. It’s a collective effort. Credit goes to my team and my coach.”
Beamon let the game come to him and picked his spots throughout the second half. First he got ahead of the pack and hit a runner in the lane. Then came a jumper from 12 feet. Next he used a dribble to create space for pull up jumper on the baseline. When the defense collapsed in the lane, Beamon responded with a catch-and-shoot three again along the baseline.
“His mid-range game is terrific, and it always has been. He is a one, two-dribble guy,” Masiello continued. “What he has done this year a little bit better is he is stepping out and shooting the long ball. He’s shooting with a lot of confidence.”
Beamon mentioned the off-season conditioning program instilled by Masiello and his staff for his success. One of the routines he used was an eight-spot shooting drill to develop his footwork and movement off the ball at the same time working on his stamina.
“It was torture,” Beamon said of the conditioning. “But it pays off. Everybody is in great shape on this team. Some games we are not even supposed to win, but our conditioning gets us past the fact that we are having a bad game. It’s a weapon.”
Manhattan has already won as many games this year as they have the last two seasons combined. It’s been six years since the Jaspers appeared in the N.I.T and eight since getting invited to the NCAA tournament. That streak should end soon. And George Beamon, an old-fashioned assassin, will be leading the charge.