Ismael Massoud: The Academic Scholar from The Bronx Parlays Play On The Court Into Scholarship Offers

Photo courtesy of Jon Lopez Photography.

By David Cordova

The words, student-athlete, is something that should not be taken lightly. Being an athlete is something that many kids aspire to be. The student part is something that they must use to get where to where they want to be. Even though it could be stressful, academics can take you many places.

When you combine both the student & athlete all into one, you get something well-rounded. Ismael Massoud is the epitome of what the modern-day student-athlete is. He is a talented player on the court & a great scholar off the court.

The 6-foot-8 swingman has a very skilled, polished game that allows him to score while also being able to put the ball on the floor to dribble. His talent has earned him plenty of attention around the nation from plenty of colleges.

“It’s just a game I love playing, so if I love playing, I’ve got to work hard at it and just try to be as best I can at it.” said Massoud on his love for the game.

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Massoud pushes the ball up the court at the Frankie Williams Charity Classic. (Photo courtesy of the Frankie Williams Charity Classic)

The Bronx native first started playing basketball competitively at the age of 11, and put in years of hard work to be the player he is today. That shows that even late bloomers can develop into something special if they are willing to put the work in.

But in the Massoud household, the academics always came first. “My mom wouldn’t let me play unless I took my grades serious, and got good grades, so it’s very, very important in my house.”

Massoud first started out at the Berkeley Carroll School, an independent, private school in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn as a freshman, and stood out for the Lions as he led them to a NYSAIS Class C championship. When asked about his time at Berkeley Carroll, he replied, “I mean, that school is probably one of the top academic schools not only in New York, but in the country, so it was just very influential in my academic life.

Then, as a sophomore, he went on to Cardinal Hayes High School in The Bronx, where he was one of the Cardinals’ most dangerous weapons on offense. “Like I said, playing in New York, the biggest and most competitive league in New York, the Catholic AA [was tough]. so I learned a lot.”

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Massoud goes airborne in the layup line. (Photo courtesy of Frankie Williams Charity Classic)

Following his time at the Grand Concourse, Massoud then moved on to another preppy type of environment. This time, it was the confines of the MacDuffie School, a boarding school in Granby, Massachusetts, where he has been playing the last two seasons.

In detailing his prep school experience, he replied, “So, when you’re at prep school, it’s only up to you, how hard you work, how much you want to put into your game, and how much you want to get out of it. How much you get out of it is based on how much you put in.”

In his first season at MacDuffie as a reclassified sophomore, he averaged 15.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 1.8 assists per game. As a junior last season, Massoud averaged 18.3 points, six rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.3 steals for the Mustangs, who play in the NEPSAC, one of the most dominant prep school leagues in the nation.

“We was on a roll in the beginning, we wasn’t losing, then injuries sidelined us. By the time we were able to go and come back together, it was too late,” said Massoud of last season.

For the last couple of summers, he has also been playing for the ProScholars Athletics, a Nike-sponsored AAU program based out of the Bronx that has produced countless players that have gone on to college and the NBA.

“PSA is a great program. It’s the best AAU program in the country, not only because of what they do for you on the court, but off the court as well,” said Massoud of his time with PSA. “They teach you how to be managers and mature, and stuff like that.”

Massoud guards top-10 junior Isaiah Todd at the Pangos All-American Camp. (Photo courtesy of Cassy Athena)

This spring and summer, he averaged 7.7 points and 3.8 rebounds per game for the PSA Cardinals on the EYBL circuit, and was one of the key pieces that led them to the Nike Peach Jam.

“Peach Jam was the most intense environment I’ve ever played basketball in, seeing all the coaches and how everybody wants to win, and how one play dictates whether you make it out of pool [play] or not,” he said.

Also, this summer, Massoud got to showcase his talents at the NBPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, Virginia, on the campus of the University of Virginia, in front of NBA scouts.

“The camp speaks for itself, everybody wants to be in the NBA, but if you get an opportunity like that to play at camp like that, in front of NBA scouts, with NBA players coaching you, it’s nothing like it,” said Massoud of his experience.

Massoud gets up for a jumper at the Pangos All-American Camp. (Photo courtesy of Cassy Athena)

As far as his recruiting, Massoud is now down to five schools, which are Harvard, Georgia Tech, Auburn, Rutgers and Wake Forest. When asked about how being able to be recruited by major schools has impacted him, he replied, “I’m just thankful and blessed, because a couple of years ago, if someone had told me this, I wouldn’t believe them. I’m just humbled and blessed to be recruited by all of these schools.”

Now that high school is almost over, all that is left now for him is his upcoming senior season at MacDuffie, where he plans to lead them to a NEPSAC title and also the opportunity to announce where he will go to college. But the kid from The Bronx continues to strive for excellence no matter where he goes. And whatever college lands him will get a well-rounded student-athlete. But first things first, the final curtain call at MacDuffie awaits.

“My plans is to work hard every day in the preseason, help lead my team and just try and win every game and not lose and win a championship. And in the future, just to be as good of a player and a basketball player that I can be.”

Highlights of Ismael Massoud:

Courtesy of City Outworks.

Courtesy of PSA Cardinals.

Courtesy of City Outworks.

Courtesy of Hoop Major Media.

Courtesy of City Outworks.

Courtesy of City Outworks.

Courtesy of Hany Massoud.

Courtesy of City Outworks.

Courtesy of Bronx Buckets.

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