Boys Basketball – 2021 Season Preview: Asbury Park
For the third straight season and fifth time in the last seven years, Asbury Park has a new head boys basketball coach. After making his head coaching debut leading the Blue Bishops football team in the fall, Nick Famularo will now coach the varsity basketball squad, which will feature a number of players who suited up for him on the gridiron.
Senior Najier Massie is Asbury Park’s top returning guard and overall player with his three prior years of varsity experience. Senior Mikai Brown-Jones did not contribute last year but has been an impact varsity performer in the past and will provide a big lift to the starting lineup. Juniors Lydell Brown and Kervin Herring will be key on the defensive end and the glass, while sophomore Jai’Sun Brown – Asbury Park’s talented young quarterback – brings a lot of size and athleticism to the starting five.
Asbury Park’s bench is young as well, with two juniors in Salvador Berardesco and Tajier Burrus and a trio of sophomores to provide backup to the starting five. With some senior leadership on the floor in Massie and Brown-Jones and enough athleticism to bother the other Group I teams in their pod, the Blue Bishops have designs on putting last year’s three-win showing far away in the rearview mirror.
Head Coach: Nick Famularo, first season
2019-20 Record: 3-16 (3-9, tied fifth in Class B Central)
2020 Postseason Performance: Did not reach postseason
Disclaimer: Projected lineups listed in the 2021 Shore Sports Network Preview are not necessarily directly from coaches. Some are, while others are projections from Shore Sports Network staff. In either case, the projected lineup is fluid and could change leading up to the start of the season and beyond. Check back for periodic updates to every team's projected starting lineup on shoresportsnetwork.com.
Najier Massie, Sr., 5-10, Guard (RS)
Mikai Brown-Jones, Sr., 6-1, Guard
Jai’Sun Brown, So., 6-5, Center (R)
Lydell Brown, Jr., 5-11, Forward (R)
Kervin Herring, Jr., 5-11, Forward (R)
Eryck Brown, 5-10, Guard
Off the Bench
Davon Foster, So., 5-10, Guard (R)
Sha’Born Goodman, So., 5-10, Guard (R)
Salvador Berardesco, Jr., 6-4, Forward (R)
Javon King, So., 6-2, Forward (R)
Tajier Burrus, Jr., 6-0, Forward
RS – Returning Starter
R – Returning Varsity Player
Player to Watch: Mikai Brown-Jones
A standout athlete – Brown-Jones is an All-Shore wide receiver on the football field – and one of the two seniors leading the way for Asbury Park, Brown-Jones has shown he can score in varsity game and he will have to do that, plus a little bit of everything else as one of the leaders on this year’s Blue Bishops team.
Big Shoes to Fill: Na’Jier Massie
Massie is as dependable as any player on Asbury Park’s team, which is why Famularo will turn to him to bring energy and direction to the game. Eryck Brown was a top scorer over the past two seasons and while Brown-Jones will cover some of those losses, Massie is now the elder statesman and the player who will set the tone for Asbury Park.
Impact Newcomer: Jai’Sun Brown
Brown is a gifted all-around athlete, which he has exhibited since grabbing the starting quarterback job at Asbury Park as a freshman in 2019. He has grown to 6-foot-5, which makes Brown-Jones a real weapon against this schedule this season.
X-Factor: Strong Start
Speaking of the schedule, the construction of Asbury Park’s slate lends itself to a good start if the Blue Bishops can hit the ground running under Famularo. Keansburg and Henry Hudson were with Asbury Park in the bottom three spots in the Class B Central standings in 2019-20, so if Asbury Park can go 3-1 again in those four games, it might build up some momentum for the Blue Bishops to ride as the schedule ramps up. They also eased their schedule by switching two games with Mater Dei Prep at the end of the season and inserted two against an Ocean team that will be working in new players this year.
Jan. 26 vs. Keansburg, 4 p.m.
Jan. 28 at Keansburg, 4 p.m.
Feb. 1 vs. Henry Hudson, 4 p.m.
Feb. 3 at Henry Hudson, 4 p.m.
Feb. 9 at Point Beach, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 11 vs. Point Beach, 4 p.m.
Feb. 15 vs. Keyport, 4 p.m.
Feb. 17 at Keyport, 4 p.m.
Feb. 23 at Ocean, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 25 vs. Ocean, 4 p.m.