By Jason Rich ’98
“Last year, we played pretty much six guys,” head coach Mitch Buonaguro said. “From a personnel and tactical standpoint, everybody knew what to expect. Given the circumstance, our seniors kept things together really well and we enjoyed more success than people predicted. This year we have a much deeper roster. We have the opportunity to try more things and hopefully develop more as the season advances.”
O.D. Anosike ’13, Evan Hymes ’15 and Rob Poole ’15 are the only returnees to have logged more than four minutes per game last season. Anosike is the face of the program and an All-American candidate. He led the nation in rebounding last season, and is the likely Preseason Player of the Year in the MAAC. The trio of Hymes, Poole and Anosike provides a solid foundation, but it’s the players who weren’t on the floor who may have the most to say about how far this year’s team goes.
Last year’s roster was decimated by an unprecedented run of misfortune: promising post presence Davis Martens ’14 missed the season following hip surgery; swingman Trenity Burdine ’15 sat out with a foot injury; projected starting point guard Rakeem Brookins’ 15 was a last-minute medical redshirt after being diagnosed with herniated and bulging disks in his back; the NCAA ruled that Lionel Gomis ’15 and Imoh Silas ’15 would have to serve an academic year in residence due to reclassification issues and freshman Davonte Beard transferred 10 games into the season.
The fact that the Saints won more games last year than they did the year before was no small accomplishment. With Martens, Burdine, Brookins, Gomis and Silas returning to the active roster is cause for cautious optimism.
“We’re a young team, but we do have experience in key spots,” Buonaguro said. “I think it’s a team people will enjoy watching and one that will improve as the year goes on. There’s no question we’re headed in the right direction.”
Twelve of the 14 home games on Siena’s schedule will be played on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, making it the most fan-friendly schedule in the 72-year history of the program.
“There’s been great energy surrounding this team all summer, and with so many weekend games, I expect Capital Region fans to really come out and support this team,” Buonaguro said. “There’s a lot to look forward to.”
The Opening Week men’s/women’ doubleheader on Friday, November 9 at 5 p.m. is the first of seven home Friday night games on Sienas’ schedule, meaning half the Saints home games fall on Friday.
The annual clash with UAlbany returns to its traditional date, the first Saturday in December. This year, both the men’s and women’s programs will meet that day with the women tipping things off at 5 p.m.
This year’s MAAC Championship returns to the Birthplace of Basketball – Springfield, Mass. The 10 MAAC teams will battle for the league’s automatic NCAA bid on March 7-11, 2013 at the MassMutual Center, just a couple miles from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.