Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Iona-St. Peter’s a Family Affair for Dwight, Jenkins
When Iona and St. Peter’s square off Monday night for the MAAC championship in Bridgeport, Conn., it will be a family affair for Rashon Dwight and Wesley Jenkins.
Dwight, a senior guard for Iona, and Jenkins, a senior guard at St. Peter’s (pictured), are cousins who played together under coach Nick Mariniello at Bloomfield (N.J.) Tech High School.
“He texted me and said, ‘We’ll see you in the championship,” Dwight told the New York Post after Iona beat Rider, 83-59, in Sunday’s semifinals. “It’ll be a family feud, good to go against each other. One of us will be going to the NCAA Tournament. May the best man or best team win.”
The final will be shown live on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. and Mariniello plans to be there in person.
“It just continues to be a great experience for me to see these two play,” Mariniello, now the head coach at Hudson Catholic, said Monday. “They’re not only cousins but they’re best friends.”
As backcourt-mates at Bloomfield Tech, Dwight and Jenkins won three Group 1 state titles and an Essex County championship.
As seniors, they went 30-3, won the Group 1 state title and reached the Tournament of Champions final.
Both went on to become captains in college, with Dwight a three-year captain at Iona and Jenkins a two-year captain at St. Peter’s.
Dwight matched his career-high with 19 points and was 5 of 7 from beyond the arc against Rider, while Jenkins had 14 points as St. Peter’s beat Fairfield, 62-48.
Jermel Jenkins, no relation to Wesley, led Iona in scoring for the first time this season, shooting 7 for 13 and 6 of 10 from deep to finish with 20 points to go with five assists. Junior Mike Glover added 12 points on 5 of 8 shooting and junior point guard Scott Machado dished a game-best 12 assists.
After this season, Mariniello said, “Rashon will get into coaching and Wesley will go play overseas someplace.”
Before that, they will square off for a bid to the Big Dance.
Iona, winners of nine straight under first-year coach Tim Cluess, will face St. Peter’s for the fourth time in a MAAC title game. Iona is 2-1 all-time.
“I’m not going to be rooting for anyone,” Mariniello said. “I want them both to have a very good game.
“Unfortunately, one guy gets to go home and his college career is over and the other guy will move on.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.