Middle Tennessee State’s Bruce Massey, a Seneca Valley grad, looks to relish March Madness

March 19, 2013

Seneca Valley graduate Bruce Massey flexes after helping the Raiders to a win at Vanderbilt in December. (Mark Humphrey/AP)

Seneca Valley graduate Bruce Massey is a starting senior guard for the Middle Tennessee State team that will face Saint Mary’s in Dayton on Tuesday night in the NCAA tournament. The Blue Raiders are in the tournament for the first time in 24 years.

Massey, the Sun Belt Conference defensive player of the year and third-team all-league pick, led the Sun Belt in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.9.

I caught up recently with Massey, who grew a few inches from when he was an undersized post player at Seneca, and asked him a series of questions mostly related to his Seneca Valley days. Below is what he had to say.

By the way, he said he got recruited to his first stop, Dodge City (Kan.) Community College, when coaches were on hand to recruit Seneca Valley teammate Jon Velez, not him.

Best high school basketball memory: “My senior year when we beat Paint Branch [87-69] to go to the Final Four at Comcast [where Seneca Valley lost to Lake Clifton]. We were on fire that game. I will never forget that. We came out and hit our first seven shots and went up [18-4]. I had like [17] assists.”

Favorite high school gym other than Seneca Valley’s: “I would always play good at Watkins Mill. Our summer league games also were at Watkins Mill. It was always a good environment, always a good crowd. Anytime we played there we knew there would be a lot of people and you wanted to do good.”

Most embarrassing high school basketball moment: “My senior year I got a steal vs. Einstein and was going for a dunk but my leg gave out while jumping and I fell. The ball didn’t get close to the rim, fell behind me and went out of bounds.”

Favorite high school victory: “My [sophomore] year we made a playoff run. We had beaten Linganore, Urbana and Paint Branch but lost to [Bethesda-Chevy Chase] the game before going to Comcast. That Linganore game was an outcoming game because I was averaging four or five points and came out that game and scored 23, 17 in the second half.”

Best player you faced in high school: “Will Barton [of Lake Clifton]. He could just do a variety of everything when we were in high school. He could shoot, guard one through five. It was pretty challenging to get through. Only played against him once, at Comcast my senior year.”

Best piece of basketball advice that you got in high school: “My coach [Tom Sheahin] telling me basically if you’re good at basketball and you’re talented somebody will find you and recruit you out of high school to play basketball after you graduate. That kind of stuck with me. I remember always working hard and never stopping so hopefully some college would take a chance on me.”

High school loss that stung the most: “I would say when we lost to Magruder my junior year. We were up about 10 with four minutes left and they came back and won.”

Piece of advice for high school players: “I’d tell them to take school work seriously from ninth through 12th grade because it really determines if you can go Division I out of high school. I learned the hard way because I didn’t take my grades seriously until 11th or 12th.”

What do you miss most about high school basketball: “All my friends and family being at all the games. It was always a big crowd because the gyms are so small. All the games were really exciting to play. My family has been to a couple games in college but in high school they were at all of them.”

Best thing about college basketball: “Just meeting new people, being able to play on TV and being able to go to the NCAA tournament is probably the best feeling I’ve had since I’ve been in college.”

Worst thing about college basketball: “My freshman year I got homesick when I left home and went to a school in Kansas. After a while I knew I wasn’t going home and got used to it and coped with it.”

What do you think of when you hear the words March Madness: “Ooh. Just craziness. Upsets. Magical runs. Anything can happen. Always something crazy happens during March Madness.”

NCAA Tournament: Interactive bracket & tournament history

Have a high school sports question? Start a new thread in our forums and I’ll do my best to weigh in. (Click on ‘New Topic‘ to start your thread.)

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