Official Practices Underway at Siena

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Siena men’s basketball kicked off its official practices this week and on Thursday, head coach Jimmy Patsos spoke a bit about what the team has worked on so far.

“It’s early,” said Patsos. “We’ve gone for two days. We did some offensive stuff the first two days.”

Patsos is utilizing his resources as the Saints prepare for the rapidly approaching season. Former college coach and basketball analyst Pete Gillen was in town to lend a hand and Patsos also mentioned a recent guest who also contributed to the team’s plan for this year.

“Fran McCaffery came to town and we had a great (Coaches vs. Cancer) event,” Patsos said of the former Siena coach and current Iowa head. “But he came here the next day. We talked about some things that made him successful here. They were always an offensive team. He gave us some offensive stuff to work on. When Fran comes in and takes a lot of time to talk to me and the staff about, these are some things we did to be successful here, you’re gonna put them in.”

As for Thursday’s practice plan, Patsos planned to work a bit more on the other side of the ball, a key for the upcoming year.

“Today, we’ll do a little more defense to switch gears. I think we can be a better defensive team,” explained Patsos. “Defense leads to scores. We’ve got to get stops and then go down and score. I don’t care about our offensive numbers last year. We were not a good defensive team. We can’t foul as much. That’s bad defense. And, we can’t give up as many threes.”

While this time of year, rotations and starting line ups are always popular topics of discussion, Patsos discussed that a lot is yet to be determined with the return of Brett Bisping and Imoh Silas from injury and the addition of four talented freshmen.

“We have a lot of things to work on,” said Patsos. “I don’t know who’s starting right now. Marquis and Brett are starting. That’s about all I know. By next week I will be interested to see where they go.”

As far as the returners go, Patsos welcomes back those with experience.

“Brett takes charges, Brett blocks shots, Brett gets rebounds. Imoh’s coming along but he’s just been cleared. He gives you defense, rebounding and shot-blocking. Lavon’s been very steady. Hopefully that continues. Javion we don’t know about (eligibility). We’re still waiting. Ryan Oliver, we’re waiting to see whether he will start or be better coming off the bench. Willem and Jimmy Paige, we’re gonna see what position they play. Cam Gottfied had a really good practice.”

Now in his third season at the helm in Loudonville, Patsos is also encouraged on his freshmen class.

“I’m really pleased with the four new guys,” Patsos said. “Evan Fisher could be the surprise. Nico Clareth and Kenny Wormley are definitely good defensive players. Watch out for Kinnon LaRose. He looks good. He’s moving up. He reminds me of Poole, he’s tough. They have that thing, that tough gritty, I’m not afraid, I can make shots but I’ll rebound.”

In addition to the upcoming weeks of practice, the Saints  will play a closed scrimmage against Columbia and an exhibition against Indiana University of PA. That along with games against Duke and Wisconsin to start the season will give the team plenty of experiences to build on.

“IUP’s a big game. They were in the final of Division II. Columbia’s coming here to scrimmage. They were a really good Ivy League team last year. Then you’ve got Duke and Wisconsin. That’s a great trip to get better. That’s four games in six weeks to try to get better.”

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