Coach: Fran McCaffery (85-44 at Siena, 224-171 overall)
Coach Fran McCaffery has done great things with Siena. Two years ago it was Vanderbilt who felt the wrath of the Saints and last year it was Ohio State, in Ohio. This is a team that knows how to win in the NCAA Tournament and a team that should have little trouble getting there. The 2009-2010 version of the Saints might be the strongest yet and that means it is already time to make a note that this is a team that will win a game or two in March.
Key Losses for the Saints: G Kenny Hasbrouck
Siena will certainly miss Kenny Hasbrouck, but it is not like this team does not have other scorers on the perimeter. Wing Edwin Ubiles led the team with 15.0 points per game and added 4.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.0 blocks. If there is anything the Saints need done, Ubiles can do it. Ronald Moore will once again be the distributor. Moore did a superb job last season finding the scorers on the team by dishing out 6.4 assists and only turning the ball over 2.2 times per contest. Moore is even a capable scorer who can keep the defense honest with his outside shooting ability. This might be Ubiles’ team, but Moore, now a senior, is the leader on the floor.
Like the backcourt, the frontcourt returns two experienced and productive starters. Alex Franklin has emerged as a solid power forward and ranked third on the team with 13.6 points per game during the 2008-2009 campaign. Franklin’s range is pretty limited, but unlike fellow forward Ryan Rossiter, he can handle the ball outside of the paint on occasion. Rossiter is the team’s leading rebounder and shot blocker and has become a menace to opposing forwards in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Association on both sides of the floor. After averaging 10.0 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per contest a season ago, big things are expected for Rossiter’s junior campaign. However, thanks to the newly found depth, do not be surprised if Franklin and Rossiter’s numbers suffer a little bit now that they will not be forced to play 30 minutes per game.
Who’s In for Siena:
Siena does not need much depth, but they could certainly use some under the basket. The addition of O.D. Anosike and Davis Martens will provide that. Anosike needs to add more strength before he will be a dominating force in the paint, but he can at least provide a body off the bench. Martens, at 6-9 and 220 pounds, is capable of competing right away, but he will not be eligible until late December. Add point guard Jonathan Breeden, combo guard Denzel Yard and La Salle transfer Kyle Griffin, who are all capable of contributing this year, and the future looks as promising as the present.
Can Clarence Jackson replace Hasbrouck? Given the opportunity Jackson should be a fine outside shooter and give this team its main long range threat, but Jackson will not get to the basket as effectively as Hasbrouck did during his career at Siena. If Jackson, a 6-3 junior, can become more aggressive, he could be a consistent double digit scorer. The other players to keep an eye on are a couple of sophomores who showed a little potential last season. Guard Kyle Downey and small forward Owen Wignot both averaged about ten minutes per game as freshmen and they both need to provide Siena with some depth.
Final 2009-2010 Siena Projection:
If Downey or Wignot can turn into the offensive spark off the bench that Jackson provided last year, the backcourt will be in great shape even without Hasbrouck. And the frontcourt will be even better this time around and they have already proven that they can compete with just about anybody in the nation. The MAAC has some other good teams, but Siena should once again dominate the league and maybe even be favored to win a game in the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA
2009-2010 Siena Basketball Projected Starting Five:
Ronald Moore, Senior, Guard, 8.7 points per game
Clarence Jackson, Junior, Guard, 8.3 points per game
Edwin Ubiles, Senior, Guard, 15.0 points per game
Alex Franklin, Senior, Forward, 13.6 points per game
Ryan Rossiter, Junior, Forward, 10.0 points per game
By Joel Welser
CollegeSports-fans.com Senior Basketball Writer