2019-20 Archbishop Stepinac High School Season Preview

By Robert Pena

With a heavy and competitive schedule this season from their seventeen league games to the out-of-state invitational events, the Archbishop Stepinac Crusaders are poised to make a lot of noise and another deep run into the CHSAA championship tournament.

“We are excited and beyond challenged. We are hoping to be well over 500 and be in a good spot to progress forward into the post season. We won the championship title two years ago, and we lost in the championship last year. We are on that level again this year, and want to compete for championships year in and year out”, said head coach Patrick Massaroni.

Stepinac will bring back the majority of their team back, with most them being seniors. The experience of the upperclassman will be the key to making the deep run the Crusaders are hopeful for.

RJ Davis, a 6’1 senior who has received several High Major offers, including UNC,  averaged a team high 25.4 points per game last year. AJ Griffin, a 6’7 junior, is 5 star recruit drawing the full attention of the top programs, averaged 20.9 points and lead the team in rebounds with 10.9 per game last year. Samuel Gibbs, a 6’2 sophomore, will round out the loaded starting backcourt.  Matthew Brand is a 6’1 senior and Justin Morety is a 6’2 senior are two key reserves with plenty of experience and the ability to leave their mark. As is Luke Fizulich, a senior who averaged 6.0 points and 1.6 rebounds per game last year. Joel Baez and Josh Zangerle are two key new players this season for the Crusaders and are both 6’4 juniors. They both will be seeing some playing time in the backcourt.

Malcom Chimezi, a 6’8 senior, Alpha Bengura Jr. a 6’8 junior and Johnah Phang a 6’8 junior will be the college-sized front court players for the Crusaders.

The Crusaders have the most impressive and highly acclaimed college-recruit talent in Greater NYC, so accordingly, the expectations are very high. “Every one of those kids on our team will play Division 1 basketball” said Massaroni. “We are excited for what’s ahead of us and we return a number of key players. We have a challenging schedule both locally and nationally. We are hoping to compete for the championship year in and year out, nothing changes. Putting ourselves in the best spot to prepare to win the city championship.”