Aside from wanting to make the NCAA Tournament and win every game he plays for Manhattan College, George Beamon said there isn't much more he could ask for.
The Roslyn product, a two-time All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference selection, says he "is in the right place" mentally.
His career hasn't been without a few obstacles, though. He suffered a sprained ankle days before the Jaspers' season-opening loss to Louisville last season. He returned after missing two games and scored 29 points in a win over Hofstra, but he reinjured the ankle three games later and was lost for the season.
"What was going to happen to the team without me and my future was on my mind a lot last year," said the fifth-year senior, once Newsday's Nassau player of the year. "I didn't know if I would get a . . . I didn't know what was going to happen.''
Beamon, 22, eventually received the redshirt and returned to the court. He hasn't lost a step and is leading the Jaspers (13-4, 6-2 MAAC) in scoring (20.1 points per game) and rebounding (6.6).
He attributed his play this season, in part, to the moral support he received from his family and friends while he sat out last season. Beamon's older brother Shanod Burton, who played professional basketball in Puerto Rico and Panama and later starred on the And1 Mixtape Tour, was a big influence. "He told me don't worry about the NCAA," Beamon said. "Just do what you have to do so you can get back and play ball . . . Stay focused."
Said coach Steve Masiello: "I think last year was the first time he got hurt in his life as far as sports is concerned. It was a first for me, too. We both have handled this one differently."
Beamon's mental fortitude was tested again when he suffered a right shoulder sprain against Quinnipiac on Jan. 9. Although Beamon considered it a minor injury, Masiello wasn't taking any chances and Beamon has been out of the lineup the past three games, including Saturday's 71-67 loss at Fairfield.
"If it was up to him, he would've played [the next game] against Marist," Masiello said. "I'm going to be extremely cautious."
The 6-4 swingman's growth mentally has coincided with his growth as a player. Beamon -- who scored 56 points in a game for Roslyn and had 786 points in his senior season, the second-highest single-season output in Nassau history behind Wally Szczerbiak (805) -- had a reputation in some circles as a ball hog.
"This kid defends, he rebounds and he hits his free throws," Masiello said, refuting that notion. "And he guards the other team's best player."
Said Beamon: "I've grown here. I'm not trying to force things. I do anything I have to do . . . block a shot, grab a rebound . . . It's all about winning."