Sports

Double team: Masseys look to take on Ivy League together

Reuniting after year apart, sophomore twins use complementary skills to mesh on court

By
Senior Staff Writer
Friday, November 13, 2015

In its 110th season, the men’s basketball team has a plethora of surprises in store for fans and followers of the program. Bruno’s non-conference schedule boasts matchups against historically strong programs that often garner national recognition,  Georgetown and Southern Methodist. The squad will also be outfitted in new uniforms and gear this year courtesy of the University’s relationship with Nike. But perhaps the most striking addition to this year’s team looks exactly like one of his teammates.

While Jason Massey ’18 stands about an inch taller than Justin Massey ’18, one look at the guards could leave just about any spectator, or defender, a bit confused. The pair are identical twins.

Left-hander Jason and right-hander Justin may look similar, but their styles of play vary significantly.

“They’re totally different. Justin is more of a shooter. He’s a really good defender, but he’s a really good shooter and scorer,” said teammate and point guard Tavon Blackmon ’17. “Jason is a good flasher and passer.”

The Cooper City, Florida natives were both standouts in high school. Jason — who is older by 37 seconds — and Justin worked in tandem to help American Heritage High School secure the school’s first state title. The duo envisioned extending their time on the court together past high school.

“Our ultimate goal was to play together in college,” Justin said. “So to have this opportunity was really like a blessing for us.”

But their ambitions were put on hold for a year as Justin went to play for Florida Atlantic and Jason came to Brown. Though not desirable, the season apart gave the Masseys opportunities to shine. Last year, both brothers made impressive contributions to their respective teams.

Jason played in all 30 of the Bears’ games and garnered a starting spot in three of the contests. In his first season, the 6-foot-4 guard averaged about two points and one board in just under 10 minutes of action. At FAU, Justin managed to make an impact on a team despite a packed backcourt. As a rookie, Justin saw action in all 29 games, starting 11.

The brothers also believe that the time away from each other strengthened their relationship.

“We talked all day, every day, other than when we were in practice,” Justin said.

But for Justin, being able to join his brother on the basketball court again also means getting acquainted with Brown’s style of play.

“I spent the whole year last year learning a new system,” Justin said.  “I’m learning a new thing again, so it’s been a little tough, but I think I’m coming along.”

Ivy League competition is not completely foreign to Justin.  The guard dropped a season-high 17 points against one of the Ancient Eight’s own — eventual conference champion Harvard.

Blackmon said Justin is fitting in well with the team. “Justin’s a great player and a great person,” he added.

The brothers insist that competition has never negatively impacted their progress on the court, but they feel they are harder on each other than on other teammates.

“At times we hold each other accountable for things we wouldn’t hold any other teammate accountable for,” Jason said.

“There can sometimes be bickering back and forth over smaller things,” Justin said.

In spite of the occasional spat, the Masseys believe they have a lot to offer the team, including what could be described as twin telepathy.

Jason recalled how last season, it took him some time to become accustomed to his teammates’ styles of play. But playing with Justin has proved a lot easier for him.

“With my brother, it’s like an instinct almost,” Jason said. “We’ve been doing this for years now, so I know what he likes to do.”

“In general, we’ll sometimes think the same things at the same time,” Justin added. “That translates to the court also. We’re also both unselfish players, and the chemistry we’ve had growing up adds to the whole team as a unit.”

The Masseys will get the chance to showcase this chemistry very soon, as the Bears open their season Friday against St. Peter’s.

On the eve of their first collegiate game together, the brothers are excited about their reunion.

“I appreciate the fact that there is someone who cares about you and who you can always talk to,” Jason said.

And now that they’re finally united? “It’s even better,” he added.