Princeton College

James Mastaglio ’98, a cornerstone of the Princeton males’s basketball staff’s rise by way of the nationwide rankings within the mid-Nineteen Nineties, has handed away out of the blue on the age of 47.A beloved member of one of many best courses Tiger basketball has ever seen, Mastaglio outlined what a Princeton participant needs to be, together with his skill to shoot, go, dribble and defend, in addition to a toughness, dedication and team-first mentality that assist gas your complete program. His tragic loss has left everybody related to the staff shocked and heartbroken.”He was the salt of the Earth,” says Princeton head coach, a teammate, classmate and shut pal 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 College on Lengthy Island and instantly moved into the beginning lineup for Pete Carril’s 1994-95 staff, 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 might stand for 14 years. He’d play on Carril’s closing two Princeton groups, together with the 1996 staff that defeated UCLA within the NCAA event, after which on Invoice Carmody’s first two groups, each of which sailed by way of 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 taking part in key minutes off the bench as a junior, Mastaglio began each sport his senior season. He was a very efficient defender, typically utilizing his size to disrupt the opponent’s high scorer.The 1998 staff went 27-2 and completed the common season ranked eighth nationally. The Tigers defeated UNLV within the first spherical of the NCAA event 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 bounce shot within the closing minute; Michigan State began 4 gamers on that staff 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 Group,” 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 way of 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 Recreation James” from his teammates.Amongst his many profession highlights was a late 1996 sport towards North Carolina in Jadwin Fitness center. He slipped into the beginning lineup for the nationally televised sport towards the Twelfth-ranked Tar Heels, coached by Corridor of Famer Dean Smith. In that sport, Mastaglio led the Tigers with 18 factors, taking pictures 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 part on the court docket nicely. No matter we would have liked him to do, that was his position. He might defend. He might make pictures. He might deal with the ball. And he at all times performed laborious. You undoubtedly wished him in your staff.”Mastaglio performed briefly in Europe after commencement and likewise coached Backyard Metropolis, taking the staff 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 Fitness center 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 a fantastic teammate and a fantastic pal,” Henderson says. “I am unable to make sense of any of this. I am simply destroyed for his father and Bridgette and his complete household. It is fully heartbreaking.”A visitation shall be held at Fairchild Sons Funeral Residence in Backyard Metropolis, NY on August 3, from 3:00-7:00 p.m. A funeral service shall 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.