MMA’s Mack signs to play basketball at Manhattan College

Nehemiah "Bud" Mack

WOODSTOCK – As Nehemiah “Bud” Mack was just beginning his senior season of high school basketball at Mount Zion Prep in Baltimore around this time last season, the 6-foot-1 guard gave his verbal commitment to NCAA Division I Manhattan College. By the beginning of May, Mack had backed off his prior commitment simply to explore his other options and ensure he was making the right decision.

Mack, now a member of Massanutten Military Academy’s unbeaten boys postgraduate basketball team, decided earlier this week that Manhattan truly was the best fit. He signed his national letter of intent with the Jaspers at the Woodstock school on Wednesday afternoon, bringing his recruiting experience full circle.

“It means a lot. It’s a lifetime dream and I’ve been waiting on this for a while now and it’s just a big relief,” said Mack, who also had offers from Towson and Stony Brook.

“I mean going out when you’re not committed you know you have to play for coaches and stuff every game. That can be a big thing for some players but after you get committed and everything it’s a relief and you can just be yourself.”

Known as a prolific scorer, the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, native amassed nearly 1,200 points over three seasons at Susquehanna Township High School before using up his athletic eligibility within the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association following his junior season. Mack moved on to Mount Zion last year before joining MMA, where he has helped the Colonels to a 6-0 record this season.

Mack said the biggest factor in his choosing of Manhattan was Jaspers head coach Steve Masiello – who served as an assistant at Louisville under Rick Pitino for six seasons – and the team’s fast-paced style.

“It’s actually similar to here, how we get up and trap and then on the offensive end sprint to the corners, just playing free and just having that confidence to knock down shots,” Mack said.

MMA head coach Chad Myers said Mack is capable of playing both guard positions and should thrive behind Masiello’s penchant for “letting his guards play.”

“I think immediately he’ll be able to step in and score the ball. And he’s pretty strong for a high school kid and he’s pretty good defensively as well,” Myers said.

“I think that he’s got a good feel of how to play and he can just really, really shoot the ball. … Before (Tuesday night’s 86-76 win over Navy’s junior varsity team) he had hit six, eight and seven threes in three straight games, so (he’s) just able to shoot it. He’s crafty and he can go to the rim and finish. He’s actually a pretty good athlete, like he’s had five or six left-handed dunks this year, which you know he might not look like the most explosive guy in the gym but he can get off the floor and score.”

Next on MMA’s schedule is a trip to New Haven, Connecticut, for the National Prep Showcase this weekend, where Mack said Manhattan assistant Branden McDonald will be in attendance to watch the Colonels take on Putnam Science Academy and prized prospect Hamidou Diallo.

Mack said now that his recruiting process is over he will focus on being more consistent in his game.

“Every day I actually watch the college games and NBA games and the biggest thing I see is how consistent they are with their shot or like defensively or whatever good thing they’re doing in a game,” Mack said. “That’s the biggest thing I wanna work on.”

Mack is the second MMA postgrad player to sign a Division I letter of intent this fall. Six-foot-9 forward Jamarko Pickett signed with Ole Miss last week.

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com.