Back in June, HoopDirt.com reported that Jordan Watson would be named as an assistant at Siena, and Ben Asher would be named as the Saints DBO. It has finally been made official by head coach Jimmy Patsos.
“Jordan has a real mix of experience having worked in the NBA, community college level, and most recently in the Ivy League,” Patsos said. “He has great recruiting ties and really understands and supports Siena’s mission. He’s a Cubs fan from the Midwest, so you know he’s committed.”
Watson spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach at Dartmouth. He helped the Big Green to their most victories in 15 years in 2013-14, and improved on that record last season. Dartmouth made its first postseason (CIT) in 56 years in 2014-15 and was the only team in the Ivy League to defeat both Yale and Harvard. Guard Miles Wright was the first Dartmouth player to be named Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 11 seasons.
Watson was heavily involved in recruiting at Dartmouth, targeting the Midwest and Northeast and working closely with the admissions and financial aid offices. He was also in charge of game scheduling. Watson worked as the director of basketball operations at Dartmouth from 2011-13, laying the foundation for the rejuvenation of the program under Paul Cormier.
Prior to Dartmouth, Watson was an assistant coach at Barton (Kan.) Community College for three years, the last of which he spent as the associate head coach. The 2009 Cougar squad went 28-5 under the league’s Coach of the Year, Craig Fletchall, and was ranked as high as seventh in the NJCAA. That team won its first Kansas Jayhawk West Conference Championship in seven years. During Watson’s three years at Barton, the team had a record of 67-28. He assisted in the development of the 2008-09 KJCCC MVP Nyika Williams, who went on to play at the University of the Pacific, and now plays professionally overseas.
A 2005 graduate of Augustana (Ill.) College, Watson began his collegiate career at the University of Evansville, where he led the Purple Aces and the Missouri Valley Conference in three-point shooting as a freshman. He then transferred to Augustana and played for two years before an injury cut short his senior season. He took the injury and turned it into an opportunity, serving as the Vikings student assistant, helping the coaches in practices and during games.
From Augustana, Watson went to Illinois State where he earned his master’s degree in sports management and served as the volunteer graduate assistant for the Redbirds. While working on his degree the following year, he interned with the Memphis Grizzlies as a basketball operations assistant for head coach Mike Fratello. Watson was involved in the daily operations of the team, plus helped the coaching staff with scouting reports and assisted in individual workouts. He also assisted the director of player personnel, vice president of basketball operations, and the video coordinator.
During the summer of 2014, Watson led a team of 10 college players (including John Golden ’15 and four other Ivy Leaguers) on a goodwill tour of Belgium, The Netherlands and England through the Global Sports Academy (GSA). He and the squad spent seven days playing against various club teams, and became the first team from the GSA to post a 7-0 record, while enjoying numerous sight-seeing opportunities in the three countries. He met Siena assistant Greg Manning through his association with GSA.
Asher comes to Siena after spending the last two seasons as a graduate assistant at NC State. In that capacity, he was responsible for a variety of facets within the program including assisting with film exchange, editing game tape, tracking statistics and preparing general recruiting correspondence. With Asher on staff, NC State advanced all the way to the Sweet 16 in 2015, defeating LSU and Villanova in the NCAA Tournament. They reached the semifinals of the ACC Tournament and won an NCAA Tournament game in 2014.
Asher oversaw a seven-man student manager staff and helped track student athletes’ academic progress. Additionally, he assisted with the planning and implementation of the on-campus visits of high school prospects as well as the social media coverage of the basketball program. Asher also worked as co-director of the Mark Gottfried Basketball Camps. Gottfried is the father of Siena’s sophomore guard Cameron Gottfried.
Prior to arriving in Raleigh, Asher worked as the head student manager at West Virginia University. While at WVU, Asher was part of four NCAA Tournament appearances, highlighted by a trip to the 2010 Final Four in Indianapolis, Ind. During his tenure in Morgantown, Asher assisted in the development of future NBA players Da’Sean Butler, Devin Ebanks and Kevin Jones.
Originally from Oyster Bay, N.Y., Asher attended Oyster Bay High School where he was a three-year varsity letterman for the basketball, football and tennis teams. During high school, Asher also spent time coaching at the AAU/Grassroots level with the Long Island Lightning and Team Underrated organizations.
“Ben is a young guy who brings a lot of excitement and energy,” Patsos said. “He’s a native Long Islander and he has great experience working with Bob Huggins and Mark Gottfried.” A 2013 graduate of West Virginia University, Asher holds a Regents Bachelor of Arts degree.