Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Point Guard's Statistics Belie His Need for Glasses

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Point Guard's Statistics Belie His Need for Glasses

Article excerpt

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- He first noticed the headaches, some worse than others, after film sessions in darkened rooms during a season- opening basketball tournament in Puerto Rico. Then they came while he was driving. Scott Machado, Iona College's star point guard, found he was unable to read road signs his mother could see perfectly.

In December, dealing with dizziness, Machado went to see a neurologist and an ophthalmologist, both on the same day. To his relief, nothing appeared on the neurologist's magnetic resonance imaging scan. But the eye doctor prescribed something new: glasses.

Machado is mildly myopic. In order words, Machado, whose court vision has helped him become the nation's leader with 10.0 assists a game, recently discovered he is nearsighted.

"Wow, that's actually pretty funny," Manhattan College coach Steve Masiello said. "The best point guard in the country couldn't see. He sure doesn't show it."

This much is clear: Machado has led Iona (19-5, 11-2) to a tie for first in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference standings and into position to challenge for its first NCAA tournament berth since 2006. He is averaging 10.0 assists a game, and if he finishes the season with a double-digit average, he will be only the fifth Division I player to have done so since the NCAA began recording assists. (The last was Baylor's Nelson Haggerty in 1995.)

The distribution ability, combined with his scoring (13.6 points a game) and rebounding (5.2 a game), have made Machado, a 6-foot-1 senior, of interest to NBA scouts who have been crowding into Iona's Hynes Athletics Center to watch him do what once seemed unnatural: pass.

Growing up in the New York borough of Queens, Machado obeyed the unwritten rule of New York City basketball: Points come first.

"To get notoriety growing up, you have to score," Machado said. "Passing wasn't really going to get you anywhere. I did like passing. But it was the young mentality -- you've got to score to get noticed."

Machado's ability began to draw attention when, in 2004, he started attending St. Mary's High School in Manhasset, N.Y., a Roman Catholic school and a budding basketball powerhouse that was a 25- minute drive in his mother's 1991 Toyota Previa from their home. …

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