Patsos Looks For Bench To Play Key Roles

jimmy bench

Entering into this season, the strength of Siena appeared to be their tremendous depth. However after just seven games, the Saints find themselves in a position to replace two of their most depended on front court players due to serious injury. Center Imoh Silas was lost for the season due to an ACL injury and it was announced today that junior Brett Bisping will be out at least until early February following foot surgery.

“We lost two guys that started, but most importantly high-character, dirty work, screening, rebounding and emotional players,” said Siena coach Jimmy Patsos.

With somewhat of an up-and-down pattern in terms of all-out effort from game to game, the Saints will have to dig even deeper to find a source for success. While sophomore Javion Ogunyemi and freshman Willem Brandwijk are the clear choices to fill in the void, minutes-wise in the front court, Patsos sees the importance of having experienced bench players make up for the toughness and emotional leadership that Silas and Bisping have provided.

“The thing about Brett (missing) is, this is a great opportunity for a lot of guys,” Patsos said. Evan Hymes, Maurice White and Patrick Cole all have college basketball experience. They can really help us. I hope they do.”

Cole, who sat out last season after transferring from Coppin State, has been a versatile contributor so far this season averaging 7.5 points and 2.7 rebounds in just over 16 minutes per game. Hymes, a 1,000+ point scorer has averaged 5.2 points in 10.7 minutes of playing time. White, who missed time early in the season after having a cyst removed, has seen limited time (5.8 mpg.) after playing 12.6 minutes per game and scoring 4.6 points per game as a freshman last season.

“Patrick, Maurice White and Evan Hymes are in that little box where they have to decide to do the little things to help,” Patsos explains. “They have to decide to play defense. We have to replace Brett’s hustle stats. This is a great test for us.”

White who has not appeared at all in the last two games, started off his career scoring 17 points in the season-opener last season against UAlbany. Seen as a solid, aggressive defender, he certainly has the potential to fill the toughness void left by the losses of Silas and Bisping.

“He’s gotta start with the team first,” Patsos said. “I like Maurice White a lot. I brought Maurice White here from Baltimore. I’ve known him a long time. He’s a warrior, our type player. I was quite frankly disappointed in his effort at Fordham and I can’t reward someone that the first thing they do off the bench is come in and fire a bad shot , not cover the best player on the other team.  I’m not criticizing Maurice but we all have to know our roles.”

Patsos continued, “Im gonna teach lessons once in awhile and if you think you’re gonna come in and not play defense and rebound, you’re wrong on this team.”

Patsos spent some time on Sunday discussing the need for players to know their role, relating to a TV show that his players said they were familiar with, The Fresh Prince of Bel-air starring Will Smith. The always colorful coach described that the  characters on the show each had their role.

“Will Smith’s the star,” Patsos declared. “The father is the second star. The Butler is the third star. Carlton’s the fourth star. You have your role. Everybody has to understand their role.”

Those roles are likely to defined over the upcoming games for the Saints.

“There’s some guys who want to be a leader of this team that haven’t earned it yet,” explains Patsos. “I really like Maurice. I hope he stays here. I hope he plays well. I hope he grows up and decides what’s important is to be a hard-working player that he was before, and I think he will.”

While Patsos says that freshman Jimmy Paige will also see increased playing time, adding a physical presence in the front court, he has issued a challenge to those with more experience that he sees as being able to help the Saints succeed in the near future.

“Can Maurice, Patrick Cole and Evan get it together off the bench and commit to doing the little things to have us win?,” Patsos asks. “I’m not saying they didn’t. I’m just saying those three guys have experience playing college basketball. Can they step up? I’m asking them now and it’s time to do it.”



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