Lavon Being Lavon At Siena

lavon long

In the first season and seven games under the leadership of head coach Jimmy Patsos, Lavon Long has played the role of a steady, all-purpose type of player for Siena. A starter in 43 out of the first 45  games of his college career, Long has had quite an impact in helping to right the course of the Saints’ program.

“Lavon Long’s one of my favorite players I’ve ever coached,” said Patsos. “He’ll just do anything.”

An All-MAAC Rookie Team selection, Long was one of his team’s most consistent players, averaging 9.4 points and 4.9 rebounds in his freshman season. At 6-7, 222 pounds, Long transformed his body even further this past off season and uses his physical frame and variety of skills to run the fast break, post up down low and everything in between.

“Lavon’s a great player because he is a competitor. He can score inside and out. He’s willing to do what it takes. He’ll defend. He’ll rebound. I think Lavon Long is only going to get better as he goes. I enjoy coaching Lavon.  He makes me happy when we’re around each other.”

Capable of playing more than one position, Long has and will at times continue to fill in at the power forward and center positions when called on. In the absence of Imoh Silas and Brett Bisping due to injuries, the Saints have lost depth at those positions. Sill, Patsos prefers to keep Long as the small forward.

“Lavon can play at the 4, but I like Lavon at the 3. I don’t want Lavon to change too much. I think when Lavon tries to do too much it takes away from his game.  I just want Lavon to be Lavon, because that’s great. He’ll always pick it up in certain areas but I don’t want him to think he has to save us.”

While the Saints are a better team with Long on the court, staying in the game has been a challenge at times for the Maryland native. As a freshman, Long committed the 5th most fouls in the nation, averaging 3.85 fouls per game.

“I don’t want him to do to much. That’s not his game. One of the flaws in his game right now is trying to do too much.”

Although an occasional foul may be just careless in nature, more times than not, Long is whistled as a result of being over-aggressive. While not necessarily the most vocal player on the court, lack of effort and desire is rarely a concern. Whether attacking the basket like a freight train on the fast break, drawing a charge, or leaping over the front row when chasing down a loose ball, evidence of what lies beneath the surface of Long is pretty clear.

“Lavon’s a fiery guy. He doesn’t say much off the court but I’ll tell you what. Be careful of Lavon in our locker room. He’s gonna punch me one of these days,” joked Patsos. “Lavon really cares. Lavon’s an emotional, left-handed, very intelligent guy.”

A mellow, polite and at times quirky kid off the court, Long admits to not watching all that much basketball in his free time. Patsos enjoys the multiple dimensions to his player’s personality.

“He brought his chess board on the (road) trip. That says it all. I really like the kid. And, I really like the way he plays.”

Scoring in double figures 24 times so far in his career, Long has gotten off to another good start this season. He is currently third on the team in scoring averaging 11.0 points per game and leads the team in rebounding pulling down 6.1 boards per game. Capable of stuffing the stat sheet on more than one occasion, Long has done so multiple times this year. He had 12 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists in a road win at St. Bonaventure in the third game of this season. In his last two games, he had 16 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in the most recent game at Rider and in a 21-point win over Quinnipiac, Long tallied 11 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 5 steals in the second half alone.

For a team looking for leadership from within the player ranks after suffering the loss of two upper classmen from the playing rotation, Long also provides motivation, in his own way.

Patsos explains, “If I say something stupid like, ‘You guys aren’t trying’ and they are trying, Lavon’s the first one to say, ‘No we are trying’. If I say, ‘Hey we didn’t dive for that loose ball.’ Lavon also says, ‘Hey guys we should have dove for that loose ball’. I have a lot of respect for Lavon. You don’t get that from me. You earn that. I love coaching the guy. He’s a fun guy to coach.”

Long was recently recognized for his leadership and was added by Patsos to the team captain ranks, joining Rob Poole and Marquis Wright.

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