Schedule

3/04@ Loyola (MD)L 60 - 70
3/03@ ManhattanW 84 - 82 OT
2/26vs. CanisiusW 86 - 75
2/23@ MaristL 52 - 61
Full Schedule »

Tournament Central

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Saints Preseason – Montreal Roundup

The Saints traveled to Montreal this summer for a five game stretch to give the newcomers and veterans a chance to gel, and to have a chance for the guys to see a new country, experience some Old World culture in a New World environment, and find out what the team had in the sense of X’s and O’s.  Even more than that, it allowed new head coach Jimmy Patsos the opportunity to see the players play and see what he has getting ready for the regular season.

First and foremost, the Saints went 4-1 during the trip, highlighted by the emergence of freshman Marquis Wright as the starting point guard, and closing with the culmination of a couple of great complete games by Rob Poole, who will enter the season as the leader of the team and who will be expected to assume the mantle of scorer and facilitator.

Credit to Jaden Daly for writing up a great summary of the Saints’ trip up North:

http://dalydoseofhoops.blogspot.com/2013/08/siena-finishes-montreal-trip-4-1.html

Irregardless of the strength or weaknesses of the opposing teams, the result of the trip can only be qualified as a resounding success, with one dire caveat: Junior guard Evan Hymes, who was penciled in as the starting 2 guard and who coach Patsos tabbed as an “Allen Iverson” type broke his hand during the trip, and has been unable to practice with the team since they’ve returned.  All reports are positive, though, as Evan should be healthy and ready to go in time for the first game, and he’ll be needed as he’s averaged double figures in scoring over his first two years in green and gold.

The hiring of Patsos was well received by fans, and he’s brought in players that he recruited at Loyola, as well as local product Javion Ogunyemi and transfer Patrick Cole, to create an immediate sense of excitement and optimism.  The trip north of the border has done nothing to temper that excitement, and has to be viewed as a rousing success as the Saints prepare for the 2013-14 season.

 

 

Mitch Buonaguro Fired

mitch wants travelSiena announced today that they released Mitch Buonaguro, and a national search for his successor is underway. The Saints matched their 2005 total in losses with 24.

Press Release

It’s been quite a long time since we’ve covered the Saints here on Siena Saints Blog, as we’ve moved onto other things. We know you’ve been getting great coverage from our friend Pete Iorizzo and the Times Union Blog along with 4guysinblazers.

Mid-Week Recap

The Siena Saints men’s basketball team played two close games in their opening weekend, losing to the Vermont Catamounts 54-53 at the Times Union Center on Friday night, and beating the Navy Midshipmen 54-49 in overtime at Alumi Hall in Annapolis, MD.

Also on Friday, Troy High senior Javion Ogunyemi officially declared his intention to join the Saints in 2013.

More after the jump…

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Video: Siena 54, Navy 49


Coach B. gets his 100th career victory.

Preview: Vermont at Siena

The Siena Saints kick off their 2012-2013 campaign at home as they welcome the Vermont Catamounts to the Times Union Center.  The men’s team will tip-off after 7pm as the second half of a double header that starts with the Siena women facing Fairleigh Dickinson at 5pm.  The Saints invite all military members to come out and watch the home opener on Military Appreciation night as they will get in free with I.D.

This season begins with great anticipation as the Saints return the bulk of their offense and starters from a decimated team that went 14-17 last year.  Hopes are high as the team welcomes a deep and talented incoming freshman class, as well as having Imoh Silas and Lionel Gomis now eligible after sitting out a year due to eligibility issues from the NCAA and a host of other bodies returning from injuries.

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Siena’s 2012-13 Non-Conference Schedule

The Saints non-conference schedule will feature a large number of return games as well as three games in San Diego as part of a packed November schedule.

After opening at home on November 9th against Vermont, the Saints will take to the road to return their 2011 home opener in a road game at Navy on Veterans Day.

Siena will play seven games in November, highlighted by the 2012 NUCDF Basketball Challenge in San Diego, California. Processed from the tournament will be used to raise awareness and support for the National Urea Cycle Disorders Foundation.

The Saints will play three games from November 16th to 18th against Cal State-Northridge, Northern Kentucky and the host University of San Diego. The Saints first game will be against Cal State-Northridge, a team that went 7-21 last season. Northern Kentucky, in their first season in Division I as part of the Atlantic Sun Conference, will face the Saints on November 17th in their second game. The Norse went 23-7 last year competing in Division II’s Great Lakes Valley Conference. The Saints will wrap up by taking on the host Toreros, a team that went 13-18 last season in the West Coast Conference. It will be Siena’s first meetings with each of their three opponents as part of the NUCDF Basketball Challenge. The only team in the five-team field that the Saints will not play will be Tulsa.

The Saints will travel to take on the University of Maine on Sunday November 25th as part of their return game from their 2010 BracketBuster game. Siena beat Maine 71-60 in the home BracketBuster game and hold a 13-4 record all-time against Maine. Following that game they will return a game at home against UMass, a team that made the NIT Semifinals last season.

Siena will host the Albany Cup Game on Saturday December 1st at 7:30pm. The Saints hold a 32-19 advantage in the all-time series.

Following the Albany Cup the Saints will play three straight Atlantic 10 teams. On December 4th the Saints will travel to St. Bonaventure to play the Bonnies for the third straight season for a chance to win the Franciscan Cup. St. Bonaventure has won the last two meetings and owns a 27-6 advantage in the all-time series. Following that game, the Saints will resume non-conference play on December 23rd with a road trip to Fordham, a team that beat Siena 74-59 in their first ever meeting at the Times Union Center last season.

Following a Holiday Break, Siena will host LaSalle in their final non-conference game of the year. The Saints will play the Explorers for the first time since the 1991-92 season when both competed in the MAAC. LaSalle finished 21-13 and appeared in the NIT last season.

The Saints will host a BracketBuster game against a To Be Determined opponent on Sunday February 24th at the Times Union Center. Last year, the Saints traveled to Hofstra and lost 81-69 to the Pride. As part of BracketBusters, teams must return their game in either of the following two seasons after the contest.

Siena is 9-13 combined in their first two seasons of non-conference play under Head Coach Mitch Buonaguro.

2012-13 Non-Conference Schedule
November 9th vs Vermont 7:30pm
November 11th at Navy 2pm
NUCDF Basketball Challenge – San Diego*
November 16th vs Cal State Northridge * TBA
November 17th vs Northern Kentucky * TBA
November 18th vs San Diego * TBA
November 25th at Maine TBA
November 28th vs UMass 7pm
December 1st vs Albany 7:30pm
December 4th at St. Bonaventure 7pm
December 23rd at Fordham 7pm
December 29th vs LaSalle 7pm
February 24th vs BracketBusters TBA 

Q&A with MAAC Commissioner Rich Ensor

We catch up again with MAAC Commissioner Rich Ensor and get his evaluation of the first MAAC Basketball Championships in Springfield, get some insight on what may be a tweaked tournament format in the future, as well as conference realignment thoughts and the MAAC’s expanded commitment with ESPN3 which includes a unique presentation of the preseason awards… Continue Reading »

Anderson an Impact Hire for Saints

Just under one year ago, Siena set out on a search to fill an assistant coach position and the only prerequisite was that the coach needed prior head coaching experience.

“One of the things I identified is I thought we needed a head coach on the staff, a guy who had head coaching experience,” Siena Head Coach Mitch Buonaguro said. “We were very lucky to get him, we put together a good package for him. And obviously [Athletic Director] John D’Argenio recognized the importance of getting a coach of his caliber and we were able to get him here and certainly was a big addition.”

On May 4, 2011 the Saints officially hired Tobin Anderson, who previously was a head coach at Division III’s Hamilton and Clarkson.

Anderson was a player at Five-Star Basketball Camp when he first met Mitch Buonaguro, who was coaching at the clinic. Anderson played at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT where he holds the record for best three point shooting percentage in a season at 48.1 during the 1992-93 season. He currently ranks 10th on the all-time scoring list at Wesleyan with 1,129 points. From there the two established a relationship once Anderson joined the coaching ranks as an assistant at Clarkson in 1996 and continued to work together at Five-Star.

“He’s a great coach and more importantly a great person,” Anderson said of Buonaguro. “We’ve been good friends all through the time I got started in coaching.”

“I’d pick his brain about stuff,” Anderson said when he was coaching with Buonaguro at the Five-Star Basketball Camps in the past. “I’d watch him teach and coach, I was always very impressed.”

Anderson, having compiled a 118-63 record at Hamilton for seven seasons, said he was looking to make a move and step outside his comfort zone to move up to Division I at Siena. However, his comfort with Buonaguro made Siena a challenge he was willing to take on.

“I wouldn’t want to go out and work for a guy that I didn’t know. Having a prior relationship with him made me comfortable coming to Siena,” Anderson said. “It’s a great school. There’s a lot of similar values that I’m used to that made me feel comfortable.”

Anderson said the biggest difference between the coaching at Division III and at Division I is the amount of resources committed at Siena.

“At the Division I level, you have the resources and staff that allows you to focus on more of the basketball-side of things,” Anderson said. “As a Division III head coach, you do everything. You book the hotels, you schedule the facilities, you run the study hall. It leaves you with a limited amount of time to focus on what I truly love: basketball, spending time with the players, and recruiting. The staff we have at Siena is excellent and very experienced; Craig [Carter], Ben [Davis], and Tyler [Simms] are fun to be around and we all work well together.”

During his first season as a Division I assistant coach, Anderson said he learned a lot and has become a better assistant coach than when he first started his coaching career as an assistant.

“I’m a much better assistant now than I was 12-15 years ago because I’ve learned what a head coach wants, Anderson said. “What I want to do is help Mitch be the best head coach he can be. The goal as an assistant is to let Coach B do his thing and be the best head coach he can be, make his life easier, make his job easier, take care of the details and let him be the head guy. It worked out well this year and I think it will work out well going forward too.”

Buonaguro said that he likes Anderson’s suggestions for the program from his prior head coaching experience.

“What I really like about him is that he’s very proactive, he’s constantly looking at things from an assistants perspective but also from a head coaches perspective,” Buonaguro said. “The suggestions that he makes are very good. He’s had to deal with these situations himself, so he gives me a real good experienced person who’s been through a lot of stuff you go through as a head coach. I value what he says, I think he gives a lot of input in terms of every aspect of the program.”

The experience of going through a season in which Siena played as few players as they did, being a team that had its starters play 83.3% of its minutes and finished 14-17, Anderson said that he learned that it reinforces building strong team chemistry.

“I think it reinforces to you that if you have guys that work hard and believe in what you’re doing and work together you can be successful no matter what the situation is,” Anderson said. “It reinforces to me, it’s not about the talent, it’s about having guys who are on the same page and who are together and will fight for each other and if they do that we’ll have some success.”

Anderson hit the ground running on the recruiting trail, helping Siena secure their three-man recruiting class. Anderson was able to use work from a strong base of northeast connections which included connecting with Northfield Mount Hermon coach John Carroll to learn about and close in on Siena’s spring signee Ryan Oliver.

“Tobin has a lot of connections with our coaching staff and it was familiar territory for him, I think that helped with Ryan,” Carroll said of Anderson’s recruitment of Oliver.

The key to recruiting this class, Anderson said, was being able to establish personal relationships with the players.

“A lot of guys make phone calls and its all about how’s your team doing, how are you playing, how’s the recruiting process – what’s more important is to get to know them on a personal basis because I think at the end of the day, that is the part that is going to come through,” Anderson said. “A kid makes a decision, they get down to two or three schools, and they have a good relationship on a personal level – that kid is going to feel comfortable to play for your program. I think that’s what we try to do at Siena, we do a good job of selling the personal relationship.”

Oliver said his relationship with Anderson is solid.

“I just kind of felt like he wasn’t trying to say ‘hey go to Siena’ but he kind of guided me, not pressuring me or calling me all the time,” Oliver said. “He give me room.”

Anderson said that his connection with Oliver as well as Buonaguro’s pitch sold the most recent recruit on Siena.

“Knowing that the kids getting probably 10 phone calls a night from coaches from all different levels, it’s important for us to try to be the guy that connects with him,” Anderson said. “Me and Ryan, we had a really good connection which was important and Coach B had a great connection too which really paid off.”

Buonaguro went to California and sold the Oliver family on Siena during a home visit. Siena had four players come for official visits this year, three of them committed.

Not only did Anderson connect with Oliver and helped him commit to Siena, he was able to connect with Brett Bisping. Anderson grew up in the small town of Truro, Iowa and said he was able to use his midwestern roots to connect with Bisping and his family to bring the Illinois recruit to Siena.

“Being from Iowa, I think I have a pretty good feel for those kids and the values that are important to them,” Anderson said. “With Brett, he has a strong bond with his family and his hometown. For him to choose Siena, we had to make him feel comfortable on a personal level with our coaches, players, and the community.”

Buonaguro said that Anderson was very valuable in the recruiting process.

“Everybody did a good job of getting these kids here and certainly Tobin was at the forefront,” Buonaguro said.

Buonaguro, who worked under Rollie Massimino when he came up as an assistant coach, said that he learned that all assistant coaches must be able to do everything.

“When I came up in the business the coach I worked for, Rollie Massimino, always said that the better coaches are the guys who are well rounded,” Buonaguro said. “I don’t want to pigeon hole a coach. He’s got to be able to do everything, and I think Tobin certainly fits that bill.”

Siena Staff on Recruiting Class

Siena has closed in on its recruiting class which appears to be a three man class of Richard Audu, Brett Bisping and Ryan Oliver to create depth on a roster that played as few as six scholarship players late in the season.

Siena Head Coach Mitch Buonaguro said that the top three weaknesses Siena addressed in the offseason were perimeter shooting, mistakes with turnovers and overall depth. Buonaguro said that it was key to address the depth issue in this years recruiting class.

“We need to make sure that we have enough guys that if somebody goes down that we can sustain a good level of play,” Buonaguro said. “I think now we’re now a deep team we have 12 scholarship kids right now and if they all stay healthy I think that’s enough to compete pretty well in the league.”

The additions of Audu, Bisping and Oliver were key to Siena whose roster will be bolstered by returns from injury by Rahkeem Brookins, Trenity Burdine and Davis Martens as well as getting Lionel Gomis and Imoh Silas eligible to play this coming season.

Another priority Siena worked to fill in recruiting was their weakness in perimeter shooting. Siena shot 31.2% from three point range in conference play, ranking last in the MAAC last season.

“They’re all guys that can make shots that definitely fills a hole we’ve had the last two years, we haven’t been a great three-point shooting team,” Buonaguro said. “That was one of the things we wanted to address.”

Siena assistant coach Tobin Anderson said that the class of incoming Saints will help shore up the roster.

“They’re definitely going to fill some holes and what we’re looking for from a basketball standpoint,” Anderson said. “All three guys can shoot and know how to play with high basketball IQs.”

Buonaguro said that he expects Oliver to get a lot of open looks when he plays with the combination of Evan Hymes and Brookins at the point and shooting guard spots, respectively.

“He’s not really a guy that’s going to blow by you on the dribble but I think he knows how to play, get shots, get open and with the two guards that we have he’s a valuable player because I think he’s going to get some open looks with Rahk and Evan penetrating,” Buonaguro said. “What I really like about him is his ability to make threes.”

Anderson said that Bisping will have the opportunity to take pressure off of likely MAAC Player of the Year candidate O.D. Anosike with his versatile play.

“I think Brett’s really going to help from the standpoint of taking pressure off of O.D. because he can really shoot the ball and he knows how to play,” Anderson said. “With him you have to guard him out on the perimeter a little bit which is going to help open the floor up for us.”

Buonaguro said that, with the current constructed roster, Siena’s starting five would consist of Evan Hymes, Rahkeem Brookins, Rob Poole, Imoh Silas and O.D. Anosike. Buonaguro said they key roster battle will be for the starting small forward spot in the fall.

“Evan and Rahk at the one and two, and at the three I’d have to say Rob Poole because he’s coming off a year where he played a lot of minutes but we’ve got a lot of depth at that position,” Buonaguro said. “I’d say off the top of my head: Hymes-Brookins-Poole-Silas and Anosike.”

Buonaguro said he thinks a combination of Hymes and Brookins, at the point and shooting guard spots respectively, will work very well.

“People have said well defensively we’re going to be small but you also have to look at the problems they’re going to create, guarding them,” Buonaguro said. “Both of them can go off the dribble, score and make threes. They can be a nightmare for teams guarding them also, and our other three guys are pretty big. I think they’re going to work well together.”

Brookins played the shooting guard spot in high school when he was teammates with point guard Maalik Wayns who now plays at Villanova.

Buonaguro and Anderson both said that fans will be watching a team that plays at a significantly faster pace than last year’s team.

“The backcourt will be fun with Rahk and Evan playing together,” Anderson said. “We’ll be a unique team from the standpoint of having two really really good post players and two really quick penetrating guards and a bunch of guys on the wings, like Rob Poole and Trenity and the guys that are coming in that could make plays.”

Siena has one scholarship available, which Buonaguro said they are considering using it if the fit is right.

Buonaguro said the Saints roster, which will have have 7 players in their sophomore season during the 2012-13 school year, would be a factor in any other players they are considering adding to the team via transfer or later in the recruiting season.

“Right now we’re a little unbalanced,” Buonaguro said of a group that will include 10 players in their freshman or sophomore year next season. “Maybe a transfer in that senior class but I don’t want to burden that one class with eight kids, I want to be careful.”

“We’re evaluating,” Buonaguro said. “I think we’re considering using it.”

Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog.com has linked Pitt transfer Isaiah Epps and Hawaii transfer Shaquille Stokes as potential transfers that have interest in Siena.

“If he’s going to transfer to Siena he better be pretty good and he better be able to help the team and be productive,” Buonaguro said about the prospect of taking on a transfer with Siena’s final scholarship.

The Siena staff said that with such a young roster and so few scholarships to give out next season, the Saints will be able to be selective in who they bring in for the recruiting class of 2013.

Siena’s Future: Ryan Oliver

After playing a prep season to prove he’s healthy and ready, Oliver committed to the Siena Saints on April 10th with a verbal commitment; choosing Siena over 17 other offers.

The journey for Oliver, who committed to the Saints by signing a National Letter of Intent on April 12th, almost ended in an AAU game the summer entering his senior year.

“I heard the pop in my leg and I just fell to the ground. I was grabbing my knee screaming in pain,” Oliver said. “It was horrible, I thought that was it.”

Oliver went on to find out that the injury he sustained during that AAU game was a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. The injury, which required reconstruction of the ACL using a graft taken from his patella tendon, cost Oliver his entire senior season at Loyola High School in Los Angeles, California.

Being unable to play with his teammates, Oliver found a way to help out when his coach asked him to stay as a part of the team during practice and at games.

“He wanted me to still sit on the bench at games and travel but also stay with the coaching staff before a game and we’re watching film and scouting he wanted me to be a part of that,” Oliver said. “I learned a lot from the coaching staff.”

After his senior year Oliver went for a prep year at Northfield Mount Hermon in Massachusetts. Oliver said he felt fully healthy one year after his surgery and went to Northfield Mount Hermon to prove his health. When Oliver reached Northfield Mount Hermon, head coach John Carroll and his coaching staff put him on a program to gradually ramp up his practice time. Oliver eased into practicing and did not miss a game until the end of the season.

“He was great, he was healthy and he looked phenomenal,” Carroll said of Oliver’s season. “He’s a very, very fluid player.”

According to MaxPreps.com, Oliver averaged 13.9 points per game and shot 42.2% from three point range during the season.

“He can score in bunches,” Carroll said. “He makes big time plays. So I think [Siena fans] can expect a lot of really good things from him next year.”

Siena’s staff closed in on Oliver throughout the season. Carroll said that Assistant Coach Tobin Anderson established a great connection with Oliver.

“Tobin has a lot of connections with our coaching staff and it was familiar territory for him, I think that helped with Ryan.” Carroll said. “He’s seen a bunch of his games, had a lot of good conversations [with Ryan] and developed a relationship that was obviously impossible to beat.”

Siena was watching Oliver early and often at Northfield Mount Hermon during the season. Oliver said the key to his commitment was establishing a relationship with Anderson.

“Tobin is just a really good guy,” Oliver said. “When we had conversations, it wasn’t always about Siena basketball. I just kind of felt really comfortable with him.”

Carroll said he remembered a game where Oliver helped lead Northfield Mount Hermon to a win over South Kent (CT) which featured Ricardo Ledo, a Providence commit and the #21 prospect on the ESPNU 100 prospect list, as one of his best performances of the season.

“Ricky [Ledo] is considered probably the best offensive player in the country,” Carroll said. “He wasn’t that night – that night it was Ryan.”

“[That game] was probably a turning point for our season where we started knocking off anyone who beat us, we beat them the next time we played them,” Carroll said. “I think that was due to the kind of confidence Ryan brought to us that day.”

Carroll said that Oliver will be an impact player for Siena right away.

“He has real poise with the ball in his hands,” Carroll said. “He really believes in himself as a scorer and as a teammate and I think he’ll contribute with an outside presence immediately.”

Oliver said he plans to major in marketing at Siena and said he looks forward to having an impact in the community.

“I met a lot of people during my visit,” Oliver said. “they’re all good people so just meeting more people and getting to work with the team and start achieving our goal.”

Oliver is the first Siena player in their Division I history to come from California. Oliver’s brother, Vince Oliver, played for UC-Davis and finished as the third leading scorer in school history with 1,523 points. Oliver holds the scoring record in UC-Davis’ Division I history. UC-Davis was certified as a Division I member in July 2007.

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