Senior spotlights: Men’s basketball seniors and grads built winning culture


Graduate center Jarred Houston drives to the rim against Coast Guard.

By Jordan Pagkalinawan, Kasteel Well Bureau Chief

Following a historic season that saw a program-record 11 NEWMAC victories, the Emerson men’s basketball team fell to Babson in the conference championship semifinals. Still, the players have many great memories to hang their hats on. None of them are more important, however, than the ones the five seniors and three graduate students brought while impacting the program in a myriad of ways.

Jarred Houston – Center

A graduate center who dominated on both ends, Houston wrapped up his time as a Lion with 1,636 career points, 1,158 rebounds, and 297 blocks, recently earning the NEWMAC Athlete and Defensive Athlete of the Year awards. His final season saw him boast a career-high average of 19.4 points, 13 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and four blocks per game.

First-year guard Jacob Armant remembered Houston’s role in his first game as a Lion.

“I told Jarred, ‘I love free assists, I love throwing the ball to you,’ because he just catches it and puts it in,“ said Armant. “My first ever assist was to Jarred Houston.”

Beyond his prodigious output on the court, Houston has also been a key figure in maintaining the team’s spirit. For junior guard Trevor Arico, some of the best memories came from his first year at the college, when Houston was his Resident Assistant in Little Building.

“I didn’t really get to see a lot of my teammates because of COVID policies, so Jarred was one of the only teammates I could spend time with,” Arico said. “He was always going out of his way to make sure I and [teammate Declan Bretz] felt comfortable.”

Nate Martin – Guard

A graduate guard from Washington, D.C., Martin wrapped up his illustrious Emerson career with 1,055 points. He finished his fifth year averaging nearly 15 points per game while shooting 41.6 percent from the three-point line, which ranked him sixth in the conference. Aside from his historic individual season—which included notching 1,000 points on Senior Day—he also made team history, burying a midrange jumper with six seconds left against Wheaton to give the Lions their 11th NEWMAC victory.

Head Coach Bill Curley fondly recalled when Martin and his family first came to visit Emerson on a recruiting trip.

“[Associate coach Jack] Barrett was bringing them down to meet with me in the Skybox, and the elevator got stuck,” Curley said. “They were stuck in there for 45 minutes. So I thought, ‘This is going to be a hard one to sell Nate on.’”

Luckily, elevator trouble wasn’t enough to deter Martin from signing with the Lions, where he’s flourished as a player and a teammate, sophomore guard Lucas Brenner said.

“Nate has definitely been on my side throughout,” said Brenner. “I haven’t really played a lot, and he has definitely been there to give me confidence [when I’m] not being one of the rotation guys.”

Sean Coman – Guard

Coman came to Boston after a four-year undergraduate career at Hendrix College and  impacted the Lions through his leadership and three-point shooting. He had a season-high 15 points in back-to-back games against Brandeis and Plymouth State, shooting 10-15 from deep in that span. He also notched his 1,000th career point against Clark on Jan. 11—fittingly on a three-pointer.

Coman and Armant both hail from Dallas, and Armant recalled when NBA Point Guard Kyrie Irving was traded to their hometown Mavericks.

“I saw him that next day and we were both just jumping around, celebrating,” he said.

“Sean was a tremendous addition to this team,” Curley said. “You don’t score 1,000 points if you don’t put time in, and for him to get it here this year, these guys see he came in and worked. He earned his minutes and complemented these guys very nicely.”

James Beckwith – Guard

One of the team’s veteran captains and an energetic presence on and off the court, senior James Beckwith—who Curley calls “The Toothless Assassin”—averaged 9.3 points per game this season while shooting 31 percent from deep and 90 percent from the free-throw line. 

Brenner recalled an off-the-court moment with Beckwith last year that highlighted the senior’s intensity on the floor. After their fall workout last season, Beckwith and Houston debated whether or not then-New York Knicks point guard Kemba Walker was still in the top 15 at his position in the NBA.

“It got a little heated, and James ended up throwing a chair—which speaks to his intensity and how he works, prepares, and plays in the games,” Brenner said.

“His work ethic, his enthusiasm, and love for playing and shooting—it’s been tremendous,” Curley added.

Max Davis – Guard

An electric scorer, senior Max Davis averaged 14.6 points per game while leading the conference with his 46.4 three-point percentage this season. He showcased his ability to score at all three levels throughout the year, dropping 31 points twice in the Lions’ victories over Clark and WPI.

Armant has learned plenty from Davis, taking inspiration from his work ethic and play style.

“Max has taught me [about] how to be a dawg,” he said. “That’s how he plays. He makes things happen.”

Arico noted Davis’s intensity in practices and his ability to switch from foe to friend.

“We were kind of going back and forth, talking a bit of trash, trying to win the game,” he said. “Immediately after the practice, he was like, ‘Arico, have you seen this movie?’ It was like nothing happened. Max is always so competitive on the court, but off the court, we’re friends again.”

Steven Fabrizio – Forward

Fabrizio, a 6-foot-6 senior forward from Duxbury, Mass., had the tall order of backing up Houston throughout his career. Despite limited opportunities his senior year, he was more than ready when his number was called on senior day—his birthday. He scored five points and grabbed five rebounds in 20 minutes, but the highlight came when he dunked on his defender with two minutes left in the game.

“I was just so hyped for him, because he works so hard every day,” Armant said. “I was happy to see him just get up and shine like that.”

Curley touched on Fabrizio’s willingness to step up in the first round of last year’s NCAA tournament.

“COVID happens, guys get hurt, and, all of a sudden, he plays 30 minutes in the tournament,” he said. “It wasn’t even a question [because of his work ethic].”

Curley has known Fabrizio “since he was born, basically,” with both of them being from Duxbury and attending the same high school. He marveled at Fabrizio’s growth to become a well-rounded college basketball player.

“You look at the percentage of people from high school that go on to [play in] college, it’s miniscule,” he said. “When guys come from our hometown to watch him, they just can’t get over what he’s doing physically—with dunking and the way he’s shooting. They’re just blown away.”

Ben Allen – Forward

Senior forward Ben Allen played all five positions throughout his career—a true “jack of all trades,” according to Curley. He has also remained a mentor and steady presence for the underclassmen of the team.

Armant recalled his first time meeting the men’s basketball team and how Allen made him feel comfortable right away.

“Ben was one of the first people I talked to,” Armant said. “Meeting him for the first time, [seeing that] good people like Ben are there to support me, that still resonates with me to this day. That first conversation I had with Ben really opened my eyes to what the Emerson basketball program was going to be.”

Bryan Lupianez – Forward

Despite appearing in only five games this season, senior guard Bryan Lupianez made sure to make the most of his opportunities. That was most apparent during his Senior Day start, where he dropped a career-high 14 points.

Arico mentioned a visit to Lupianez’s family in Orlando, where the team spent part of their winter break for the Steve Moore Sunshine Shootout.

“His family came to say hi to the team and eat with us when we were down there for our games,” he said. “I just got to see how amazing and kind his parents were. It goes to show the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.”

Reflections on the 2022–23 Men’s Basketball Class

Reflecting on this special group of seniors and graduate students, Curley singled out the duo of Houston and Martin. The two have been with the program since 2018, and helped the team improve after a measly 4-10 record in conference play during the 2017-18 season.

“We were so lucky and fortunate to have that class that came in,” Curley said. “We had a couple really good upperclassmen that they meshed well with, but [Houston and Martin] just brought so much from the get-go in the way they played.”

Curley believes that by winning the NEWMAC title when Houston and Martin were freshmen, it gave them high expectations going forward, making them work tirelessly to get to that point once again.

“That’s probably why it’s so hard when you don’t finish it off,” he admitted. “Realistically, winning is hard, and winning championships is harder. For these guys to make two NCAA tournaments, make the semifinals three out of their four years, it shows that they’re trying to win.”

“They set the whole tone, and gave everybody that championship DNA,” he added. “You can skin a cat a million different ways, but there’s one way to go about [winning]: to get your butt in the gym, get your butt in the classroom, and take care of business.”

Curley noted how far the veterans have come since being recruited to don the purple and gold.

“Watching these guys mature into fine young men, it’s been fun,” he said. “We’re only going to be as good as our players. These guys have taken that responsibility, and they’ve put the time in to make this a great program.”

Brenner mentioned various traditions pioneered by the class of 2023, including post-practice meals, improvements in work ethic, and player-led film sessions.

“The captains and Sean [Coman] ended up doing a player-led film session [after a loss to Babson],” he said. “The level of dedication—from when the grads and seniors weren’t here to when they were here—it went through the roof.”

Overall, what many teammates will miss most about the group is the people they were.

“It’s going to be very unique, because I’ve been with them for three years,” Arico said. “So it’s going to be different, but these young guys are pretty cool, too. I’m excited to keep it going with them as well.”

Curley hopes the seniors and graduate students learned what it means to be part of a team and, more importantly, part of a family.

“They’ve killed it in the classroom, they’ve killed it on the court, and they’ve got great friends for life,” Curley added. “They’re part of a family, a team, and [they’re] carrying on the Emerson tradition. When you put your head down at night, you can sleep well knowing you’ve put in an honest day’s work.”