When it comes to MAAC rookies, none are flashier (or smaller) than Iona’s Schadrac Casimir.
The Stamford, CT native is the definition of the phrase “good things come in small packages.” Casimir is officially listed at 5’10” but in reality is nowhere close. How do I know? Because I myself am 5’10” and standing next to Casimir I feel like Andre the Giant.
Though he has played just 25 games in his short career, Casimir has already shown the potential to be one of the greatest shooters in Iona’s history. That praise isn’t to be taken lightly given the players who have come through New Rochelle since Tim Cluess took over in 2010.
The recently graduated Sean Armand tops the list of Iona 3-point shooters with 348 made. Current junior A.J. English will likely have his name next to Armand’s when all is said and done. However, it is Casimir who Cluess believes may have the ability to surpass them both.
“He’s a really high level shooter,” Cluess said of Casimir. “What he’s shown in practice has been better than anyone we’ve had and we’ve had some really good guys. He and A.J. have some good battles going on. Sean Armand is up there but I don’t think Sean has ever even shot as well as Schadrac has in workouts.”
It didn’t take Casimir long to establish himself as one of the best deep-ball threats in the conference. The night before Thanksgiving, in just his fifth game at the Division I level, Casimir set a new rookie record with eight made 3-pointers in a 126-76 thrashing of Delaware State.
Casimir’s 40 points in that contest broke a 34-year old rookie record for points scored in a single game and still stands as the highest individual output by a Gael this season, while the 126 points set a new program record.
“I always think I’m going to make the next shot,” Casimir said. “When you’re a shooter you’ve got to have short-term memory. I know I’m capable of making shots, so my teammates always tell me to keep shooting.”
Casimir’s outburst against Delaware State was just the start of what has become a remarkable rookie season. He not only matched his rookie record of eight made 3-pointers at Monmouth in December, but tied a Hynes Center record with nine deep balls in an 89-67 win over Marist.
“We know Schadrac can score,” teammate David Laury said of Casimir. “We try to tell him to stay aggressive a lot and sometimes to keep believing in himself and keep shooting. He’s going to make shots. He’s an incredible scorer. He’s just got to keep working and he’s going to be a great player in college next year.”
Over his last three games, Casimir is averaging 24.7 ppg and shooting 50% from behind the arc. With English suspended for the Feb. 6 game against Siena, Casimir had a rare off night from 3-point range. He shot just 2-11 from behind the arc, but guided the Gaels to victory thanks to a perfect 12-12 mark from the charity stripe.
Those jitters freshmen are supposed to have? Absent here. Casimir has not missed a free throw in 2015.
“When he got fouled he was automatic from the foul line,” Cluess said following that win over Siena. “That was huge to be able to put the ball in his hands because normally it’s in A.J.’s hands at that point.”
Casimir has proven himself to be the cream of the rookie crop this year. He has already taken home six Rookie of the Week honors and is running away with the Rookie of the Year award.
Time will tell how great a player Casimir ends up being, but when your rookie year isn’t even over yet and you already shoot like a seasoned veteran, the sky is truly the limit.
For a little more background on Casimir, check out Ray Curren’s piece on Iona’s most recent win over Fairfield
Vincent Simone covers Quinnipiac, the MAAC, and Hofstra for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow him on Twitter @VTSimone.