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Big Game

Princeton College

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James Mastaglio ’98, a cornerstone of the Princeton males’s basketball group’s rise by the nationwide rankings within the mid-Nineties, has handed away on the age of 47 after a short battle with an aggressive most cancers.A beloved member of one of many biggest courses Tiger basketball has ever seen, Mastaglio outlined what a Princeton participant ought to be, together with his skill to shoot, go, dribble and defend, in addition to a toughness, willpower and team-first mentality that assist gasoline all the program. His tragic loss has left everybody related to the group shocked and heartbroken.”He was the salt of the Earth,” says Princeton head coach, a teammate, classmate and shut buddy of Mastaglio’s. “He was an unbelievable human being. That is crushing for all of his teammates and anybody who knew him. I am simply in shock.”Mastaglio, who was nicknamed “Stags,” got here to Princeton from Backyard Metropolis Excessive Faculty on Lengthy Island and instantly moved into the beginning lineup for Pete Carril’s 1994-95 group, together with fellow freshmen Henderson and Steve Goodrich. Mastaglio scored 13 factors in Princeton’s season opener, which set a report for factors by a Tiger freshman in his first sport that may stand for 14 years. He’d play on Carril’s last two Princeton groups, together with the 1996 group that defeated UCLA within the NCAA match, after which on Invoice Carmody’s first two groups, each of which sailed by the Ivy League with good 14-0 data and had non-league wins over faculties akin to Marquette, UTEP, Texas, North Carolina State and Wake Forest.After enjoying key minutes off the bench as a junior, Mastaglio began each sport his senior season. He was a very efficient defender, usually utilizing his size to disrupt the opponent’s prime scorer.The 1998 group went 27-2 and completed the common season ranked eighth nationally. The Tigers defeated UNLV within the first spherical of the NCAA match earlier than falling to Michigan State within the second spherical. Princeton had trailed 11-0 in that sport earlier than rallying to tie it on a Mastaglio leap shot within the last minute; Michigan State began 4 gamers on that group who would win the NCAA title collectively two years later.Throughout Mastaglio’s senior season, ESPN analyst Dick Vitale named him to his “All Glue-Man Staff,” calling him “one of the crucial well-rounded gamers within the nation.”Mastaglio completed his profession with 684 factors in 107 video games, for a median of 6.4 per sport, and he shot simply over 50% from the sector for his profession (245 for 489), an extremely environment friendly mark for a fringe participant. His contribution to the Tigers, although, was by no means measured solely by his scoring or his numbers. He was a successful participant in each sense of the phrase, a top quality that earned him the nickname “Huge Sport James” from his teammates.Amongst his many profession highlights was a late 1996 sport in opposition to North Carolina in Jadwin Health club. He slipped into the beginning lineup for the nationally televised sport in opposition to the Twelfth-ranked Tar Heels, coached by Corridor of Famer Dean Smith. In that sport, Mastaglio led the Tigers with 18 factors, capturing 7 for 9 from the sector and 4 for five from three-point vary, in a 69-60 loss in a sport that was a three-point sport with lower than two minutes go. He additionally as soon as performed all 55 minutes of a triple-overtime win over Texas A&M.”He made everybody round him higher,” Henderson says. “He did every little thing on the court docket nicely. No matter we would have liked him to do, that was his position. He may defend. He may make pictures. He may deal with the ball. And he all the time performed exhausting. You positively wished him in your group.”Mastaglio performed briefly in Europe after commencement and in addition coached Backyard Metropolis, taking the group from a 3-15 report to 15-3 general and 12-0 in its league. He turned a businessman on Lengthy Island, and he and his father Peter have been common guests to Jadwin Health club each season. He was in Jadwin this previous February alongside together with his teammates for a celebration of the groups from 1996-98.He’s additionally survived by his spouse Bridgette and his youngsters Olivia, 11, and Kellan, 8.”We have misplaced an ideal teammate and an ideal buddy,” Henderson says. “I am unable to make sense of any of this. I am simply destroyed for his father and Bridgette and his entire household. It is fully heartbreaking.”A visitation will likely be held at Fairchild Sons Funeral House in Backyard Metropolis, NY on August 3, from 3:00-7:00 p.m. A funeral service will likely be held on August 4, on the Church of Saint Joseph in Backyard Metropolis at 9:45 a.m.Mastaglio is the second member of these groups to go away. Kevin Gillett, a backup heart on these groups, handed away in 2021.

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