#136 Siena Saints: 2010-11 Basketball Preview
Overall Rank: #136
Conference Rank: #3 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
2009-10: 27-7, 17-1
2009-10 postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mitch Buonaguro (First year at Siena, 72-103 overall)
Siena has dominated the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference for quite a while now. But this is the year for teams like St. Peter’s, Iona and Fairfield to make their move. Not only did the Saints lose their coach, but they also lost their best three players in Alex Franklin, Edwin Ubiles and Ronald Moore. There is certainly a nice core of players for new coach Mitch Buonaguro to work around, but Siena is taking a step back for now.
Key Losses: F Alex Franklin, G Ronald Moore, G Edwin Ubiles
Brandon Walters did not make much of an impact during his two years at Seton Hall, but he is stepping right into a situation where a versatile big man is needed. Walters, a 6-9, 246 pound junior is a good rebounder and defender and has enough agility and strength to score some points as well. If he can get everything in order, Walters should make a big impact on this team, especially on defense and in the rebounding department. The two true freshmen heading into Siena are Rakeem Brookins and Trenity Burdine. Brookins, a 5-10 point guard, will be given every opportunity to start and Siena hopes he can at least provide some help in the unenviable job of trying to replace Moore.
Replacing Moore is one thing, but replacing Ubiles and his 15.3 points per game is another problem. However, the Saints have more options on the wing. Clarence Jackson is ready to become the next in a long line of great guards at Siena. He may not be the most consistent player around, but Jackson can flat out shoot. And, as the lone senior in the backcourt, he will have to play smart and help out the younger players around him. Kyle Downey will likely start at the other wing spot after averaging 15.0 minutes per game last season. Downey’s shooting was streaky at best last year, but he has the skill and experience to be a valuable asset on the perimeter. Other than those two, Siena does not have much returning talent on the wings and depth may be hard to come by.
Jackson should emerge as a star, but Ryan Rossiter already is one. The 6-9 senior forward averaged 13.8 points and 11.1 rebounds last season. He will score in a variety of ways and can even stretch out the defense to nearly the three-point line. But it is his ability to dominate under the basket that will free up Jackson and Downey to knock down some long balls. A few other forwards could earn a starting job on this depleted team. Owen Wignot is a versatile small forward who can do a little bit of everything, but it is O.D. Anosike who is garnering the most attention. Anosike only averaged 12.1 minutes per game as a freshman, but he had some flashes of brilliance. The 6-7 Staten Island, New York product is a superb athlete and fine rebounder. He will not be the next Franklin quite yet, but he could be soon.
Who to Watch:
Does Siena rely on Brookins to run the point? The only other options are little used sophomore Jonathan Breeden and junior Kyle Griffin. Breeden averaged a measly 3.4 minutes in 16 contests as a freshman and certainly did not look ready to take over the team. Griffin has a little more experience, but not much. In the long run Brookins should prove to be the most talented of the three, but right now Siena does not necessarily need the most talented player running the point. They need the player who can keep the turnovers down and find the bevy of scorers that are certain to emerge from the shadows of the three departed seniors.
Assuming the point guard position is in decent enough hands, Siena has the firepower to win the conference yet again. This team will look a lot different, but Rossiter and Jackson are great players to build around. And the talent behind them is not that bad; they just never got the opportunity to shine. Downey, Anosike and Wignot are all capable of turning into big time scorers now that they will get the opportunity. Siena may not go 17-1 in conference play again, but this is not a team that is going to fall off the face of the Earth either.
Projected Post-season Tournament: CBI/CIT
Projected Starting Five:
Kyle Griffin, Junior, Guard, 2.2 ppg
Kyle Downey, Junior, Guard, 5.0 ppg
Clarence Jackson, Senior, Guard, 13.6 ppg
O.D. Anosike, Sophomore, Forward, 2.7 ppg
Ryan Rossiter, Senior, Forward, 13.8 ppg
Next Top 144 Teams