There is an old saying, “you have to be in it to win it”. Trevor Woodruff is the head basketball coach at Bucknell University. Recently he called me and asked me a very important question it turns out today. He asked me “do you really thing I could get Hope Masonius? I told him “maybe but it could be hard”. He then told me he would not offer her until she gets on campus. Hope Masonius took that visit to Bucknell University and just like that, Trevor Woodruff had pulled off recruiting magic of a different kind. That’s because one of the best players in all of New Jersey has decided to attend the Patriot School powerhouse. HOPE MASONIUS verbally committed to BUCKNELL UNIVERSITY.
When Hope Masonius entered Manasquan high school all eyes were upon on. She was the younger sister to one of the best players in Shore basketball and Manasquan history, Faith Masonius. Her older sister Addie Played D1 basketball and won everything you can win at the high school level. Her cousin Stella was a star at Manasquan and went on to play D1 basketball and be a star at the next level. Her mother is the most successful grammar school coach maybe in the history of the grammar school basketball in the entire the country. She also was a great player at St. Joe’s, she is one of the most respected coaches in New Jersey for any level. So it was always expected, the Hope Masonius would follow in their footsteps to greatness. That’s exactly what Hope has done. It just that she has made her own footprints. There was no realistic way for Hope to live up to all the expectations predicted for her. A blind man could see that, regardless of what she felt or did, Hope and her family knew there was going to be pressure. Hope has had a target on her back from day one. It seemed that she could never do enough, no matter how much she did. It had to be difficult at times over the years. But somehow Hope Masonius has overcome the it all. The injuries to her back, her foot and just about every other part of her body could not stop her. Hope Masonius has never made excuses and has always played though pain and yes disappointments at times. Yet she never hid from the spotlight, never showed a hint of anger toward anyone. She has always been the polite, concerned and respectful to all. She in a word has been delightful every step of the way. But when your name is Masonius you don’t get very much credit for being a great person. A good kid, that is well liked by all. You expected to just play basketball and play it better than everyone else. You’re expected to play great every night and you’re expected to live up to everyones idea of what and who you should be. It seems everyone wanted to keep “Hope alive” as long as it was on her terms, not hers. It why I believe Hope Masonius really should be called the comeback kid. It seems she’s had to comeback from so much so often. But here she is today, committing not to the biggest brand name basketball program that recruited her. But rather to the school that fits her best, that makes her most happy, that fits her needs most. She picked the school that was best for securing her future, a school with a great education. A school where a degree carries real weight. A school where she could one day be one of the best players in the schools history, she is that good folks! Hope Masonius in a lot of ways is now free. Free to enjoy the game, she just happens to love and have played her entire life. Free to enjoy just being a great kid who just happens to be a great basketball player.
I think Hope Masonius after all the injuries and pressure over the years may have lost a little joy playing the game she enjoys so much. That smile that can light up a room didn’t look as easy as it had in the past. I think Hope Masonius was feeling some doubt. I think she was wondering if she was ever going to get healthy. I think she was tired of trying to live up to others expectations. I think she knew that maybe she needed a change this spring. By most normal standards she had an outstanding junior year. She led Manasquan in just about every statistical category this past season. But again this is Hope Masonius, the player that everyone expects more from. No player is recent Shore history has done more and received so little in return. Maybe Hope was tired of giving all the time and maybe she wanted to do something for herself; So she make for a change for herself. Maybe it was time to take a break and go home to her roots. So she returned to her mothers organization the NJ RISE, this spring and the rest has been nothing more than a sweet story written in greatness, a story BUCKNELL is so willing to read over and over.
Ali Napolitano is the coach of the NJ RISE u17 team. She had a team of nice players, a team that was full of talent. But what good is talent in AAU, if nobody is watching or paying attention. So when Hope Masonius returned to her NJ RISE family she was welcomed with open arms. The RISE needed Hope Masonius and Hope Masonius needed the RISE. You see Hope Masonius brought the RISE more than just another good player. She brought them eyes, coaches eyes to be exact. She gave the U17 an energy boost and a reason for coaches to go watch them play. In turn she has helped 10 kids who dreams were slipping away a chance to noticed and matter. Hope Masonius gave an entire organization creditability. What she didn’t know was the NJ RISE would bring her game to life. Allow her to play like she has never played. The NJ RISE allowed Hope Masonius to have fun and in the process take her game to a level that has reached expectations that may have even surprised her. This spring Hope Masonius has been as good as anyone could have expected or hoped for. She is been the biggest reason the NJ RISE has been one of the best AAU teams around. In the end what can’t be lost is that Hope Masonius went back to her roots and found happiness, love, friendship and MORE GAME even perhaps she knew she had. Hope Masonius is not just a star right now, but rather she is looking like the SUPERSTAR everyone expected her to be…. and she is smiling the entire way. She has helped herself and a few friends out of the darkness and into light or shall I saw RAINBOWS!
It has all come together for Hope Masonius. Her game right now is light outs and her smile is brighter than ever. Hope Masonius had too many offers to mention in a silly blog. She had schools with bigger basketball band names than Bucknell. But few that offer a better education. Hope Masonius could have picked the biggest school recruiting her from a basketball standpoint. But that would have been just to please others; that would’ve been trying to live other folks dreams and expectations. She has been hearing other folks expectations for a long time and this time she made a decision for herself, all by herself and her future. It was an adult decision, that one that only kids make , when they’ve been though the fire and having those hot lights burning though their uniform. If anything Hope Masonius has had to grow up a little faster than most kids. In a lot of ways she is a savior and a survivor all in one. That’s a lot to put on one kids shoulders, but if Hope Masonius has proven anything, it’s she has big enough shoulders to carry lots of weight around.
Hope Masonius’s , mom and dad have been her protectors. Her brothers have been her biggest supporters and her sisters. have been her role models. Her mother introduced her to the game and her sisters taught her how to master the game. She has been watching Manasquan basketball her entire life. She has knows what the recruiting process looks like. She watched her sisters go though the process growing up. She knows the work it takes to be among the greats. Hope Masonius has learned her lessons well. Bob Green, Lisa Kukoda, Ali Napolitano, Eric Myrick all have showed her the light along the way. It funny it seems Hope has been around forever. She has always been in the gym. She has always been the one smiling and making everyone around her smile. Her warmth can be felt in her voice and style. It screams goodness and kindness, just like her family. Now HOPE MASONIUS will bring all those wonderful non basketball skill sets to Bucknell. The skill sets that really matter and make the game, so much more fun. The skills that make you root for a kid and in a strange way, maybe thats why everyone has always rooted a little harder for Hope Masonius. That’s because we all knew her journey was always tougher than ours!!!…. and yes TREVOR YOU CAN RECRUIT HOPE MASONIUS.