LITTLE ROCK – Jesse Massey, former Little Rock Basketball player, is the subject of the latest Lettermen’s Spotlight. Coached by Ron Kestenbaum, Massey played at Little Rock for two years from 1979-81.
In high school, Massey played for the 1976 Canarsie (N.Y.) team, which he led in scoring, that went 32-0 and was ranked number one in the nation.
Massey started at Niagra University his freshman season before transferring to Garden City Community College in Kansas where he averaged close to 17 points per game.
While at Little Rock, Massey compiled impressive stats. Over his 52 career games played, he averaged 13.5 points per game, 3.87 rebounds per game, 1.56 assist per game, and 1.71 steals per game. It was during his senior season, he ranked 11th in the NCAA in steals averaging 2.64 per game. In his career at Little Rock, he also shot 50% from the floor and just shy of 80% from the free throw line.
Massey used what he learned from Little Rock and still applies them to his life today. Not only does he apply them to his own life, he applies them to other peoples lives through his work. Massey is a social worker, working with at risk youth and young adults.
Why did you choose to come to Little Rock?
“I chose Little Rock for four main reasons. Number one, the southern hospitality drew me in. Number two, I was familiar with the head coach, Ron Kestenbaum, who I played against several times when I was in high school in New York. Number three is because of Richard Turner. When we met he stressed the importance of education and was very adamant about it. He was very serious about players being student-athletes and formed mandatory study hall sessions for all of us with no exceptions. Number four, I strongly felt that the program had a lot of potential to grow and I wanted to be a part of that growth.”
What is your favorite memory from playing at Little Rock?
“My favorite memory would have to be when we played Centenary College on their home court. We defeated them in double overtime. I almost scored 30 points that night but finished with 27 points in that game. That game felt like a conference championship game. We willed ourselves to win and oh what a feeling that was.”
What was it like attending and playing at Little Rock?
“Whenever I think of Little Rock I think of community. When I was there so many people were very supportive and were always reaching out to be there for me. Whether I was feeling home sick or when things weren’t going so good on the basketball court or in the classroom I could always find someone to talk to or vent.”