In the modern arms race of Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL), college basketball programs are scrambling to get on the cutting edge of recruiting. Months after hiring Rick Pitino, St. John’s is embracing the evolving nature of the sport by hiring former assistant coach Matt Abdelmassih to become the general manager of the men’s basketball team, according to the New York Post’s Zach Braziller.
The Red Storm join a growing list of programs to create a general manager position for their program. Earlier this offseason, Villanova hired former assistant and Quinnipiac men’s basketball head coach Baker Dunleavy to oversee NIL activities for both of the university’s basketball teams.
The role of general manager for a college basketball program is very different from the traditional role of a general manager of a professional sports team. Abdelmassih won’t have control of recruiting decisions or roster construction, but he will be responsible for facilitating NIL deals for players, fundraising with alumni and other groups, and working with collectives that support St. John’s athletics.
This will be Abdelmassih’s third stint with the St. John’s men’s basketball team. He originally worked as a student manager from 2003 to 2007 and became an assistant coach under Chris Mullin from 2015 to 2019. Under Mullin, Abdelmassih was responsible for recruiting and he is credited for attracting highly-touted players like Shamorie Ponds, Mustapha Heron, Justin Simon, and Marvin Clark Jr. to play for the Red Storm.
In March 2019, he parted ways with his alma mater and joined Fred Hoiberg’s staff at Nebraska, whom Abdelmassih worked under when he began his assistant coaching career at Iowa State. Within that same offseason, he recruited former Red Storm signee Cam Mack to play for the Cornhuskers. Some St. John’s fans saw Abdelmassih’s recruitment of Mack as treacherous and have viewed Abdelmassih as persona non grata these past few years. Perhaps his return to Queens will allow fans to let bygones be bygones.