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Mansell to return as staff next year due to injury precluding him from play

Rob Mansell announced Wednesday that he will not play for the Binghamton men’s basketball team next year.

Kendall Loh/Staff Photographer Rob Mansell suffered a pair of severe knee injuries in the last two years. He led Binghamton in scoring as a sophomore.

Instead, the redshirt junior, who has suffered a pair of severe knee injuries, will return to the team as a member of the staff. The official title has not been decided yet, but head coach Tommy Dempsey said Mansell will likely serve as a graduate assistant. Mansell, who has started pursuing a master’s degree in urban planning, will complete his bachelor’s degree in May.

“It sucks that I can’t finish out my career, but I’m just happy to be back with the program,” Mansell said. “Glad I don’t have to watch from the stands, glad I’ll actually be in the action and be able to help in any way that I can.”

Mansell led the Bearcats in scoring as a sophomore in 2011-12, averaging 14 points per game, but tore the ACL, MCL and meniscus in his left knee in the second-to-last game of the year. He missed all of 2012-13 as he regained his strength, quickness and confidence before returning to the lineup this past season.

Mansell’s return to the court did not go as planned. The 6-foot-4 guard shot just 21.9 percent from the field and averaged 2.8 points through eight games. He suffered his season-ending and, ultimately, career-ending knee injury against Mount St. Mary’s on Dec. 4.

So, yes, Mansell has spent plenty of time on the bench.

“It’s something that unfortunately, I’ve gotten used to,” said Mansell, who will remain on scholarship. “It’s definitely going to be rough, probably rougher than before because I’ve got nothing to look forward to — I’m not going to come back. We’re going to make the best of it.”

Dempsey stressed the importance of Mansell completing his master’s degree at Binghamton University.

“I wanted to afford him that opportunity and in return try to get him to stay involved in the program, which was very important to him,” said Dempsey, who coached Mansell’s older brothers Harris and Patrick at Rider. “He felt displaced at times through these last couple of injuries and being away from the program at times … I do think there was a void in a lot of ways that I think this can fill for him.”

Mansell said he looks forward to mentoring the younger players, of which Binghamton has plenty. Dempsey signed a six-man recruiting class a year after routinely playing four freshmen and a sophomore. Other than that, though, Dempsey and Mansell still need to formalize a role for the former player.

“I don’t know what specifically I’ll be doing but just helping out in any way that I can, whether it be with workouts, with film or anything,” Mansell said. “Maybe even to just hang out with the guys. I’m still young enough to do that. I think it’ll be good.”

Mansell said he had never thought about coaching. It didn’t suit his personality, he said.

“That’s why we’re doing this,” Mansell said. “I think it’ll help a hell of a lot with my leadership skills, my communication skills and really connecting with others.”

It’ll also afford Mansell — who said he takes pride in the way he dresses — an opportunity to improve his fashion game.

“Next year I’ll have to wear suits more. I’m not crazy about it. I like suits, but it gets boring after a while,” Mansell said. “Maybe I’ll get another suit or something. Switch up on the ties. Ties will be my next thing.”