Former Masuk player part of NCAA Tournament at Longwood University


Mateo Esmeraldo, a former Masuk High basketball player who graduated with the Class of 2021, is a member of the Longwood University Lancers, of Farmville, Va., and is about to get a taste of the NCAA Tournament as March Madness continues.

Longwood earned a spot in the tourney by winning its league, posting an 85-59 win over UNC Asheville in the Big South Championship game on March 10. Longwood is a No. 16 seed and will face Houston, a No. 1 seed, in the first round on Friday, March 22.

Esmeraldo’s senior year at Masuk was an abbreviated COVID season in which the Panthers played only SWC league games. When he was a junior, Masuk was supposed to play a home State Tournament game when the season was halted because of COVID.

An All State player his senior year, Esmeraldo also had 44 points in a triple overtime win over Bethel in his first game back after being sidelined with COVID.

“Mateo is a tremendous worker and outstanding player,” Masuk Coach Peter Szklarz said. “He has always had an edge and a never-quit attitude, even when he was young and he would come to basketball camp. He was the same way when he played for me at Masuk.”

“I wish he would have had a junior year state tournament and a full senior year to see what he could have really done,” Szklarz added. “I’m very happy for him and can’t wait to see him play in the NCAA Tournament.”

The 6-foot point guard is a kinesiology major and redshirt freshman at Longwood.

Prior to going to Longwood, Esmeraldo attended Bridgton Academy in North Bridgton, Maine, for a year, where he earned First Team All State and First Team All Conference and NEPSAC AAA Honorable Mention honors. He was also an All American nominee in 2021.

During his senior year at Masuk he averaged 19.6 points, 9.6 assists, 8.4 rebounds and 3.7 steals per game.

Esmeraldo has played in 11 games at Longwood, including the conference title game when he registered a steal and an assist.

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