Siena Downs Skidmore in Exhibition

In their first public preseason exhibition game since 2008, the Saints easily handled D3 Skidmore College, winning 76-55.

The Saints treated the 1,020 fans in attendance to a taste of things to come this season. To draw full conclusions from a preseason contest would be unfair and inappropriate as different combinations and plays are tried and the full depth of the roster is tested. To equate this game to another sport and time of year, this was the Saint’s Spring Training. However, that does not mean we come away void of knowledge, specifically on an individual player basis. From this perspective, today’s matchup gives us an interesting spectrum of results and insight, here’s what we found.

Rakeem Brookins can play. Not that this is new information, Brookins had a very solid freshman campaign two seasons ago, but after missing all of last season with back injuries, today’s game served as a fantastic reminder of the talent Siena has in its backcourt. Brookins slid over to the play the point today, as Evan Hymes sat out with a sore foot. He quickly demonstrated a keen ability to attack the basket and showed no ill effects from his injury. He possessed good ball control throughout with minimal errors seen at times as a freshman. He finished the day with 18 points, 5 assists, and 4 steals while committing only 2 turnovers in 29 minutes.

OD Anosike started the game a little slow, missing some easy looks from inside, but quickly returned to the form that led him to an outstanding junior season in which he led the nation in rebounding. His footwork and quickness around the basket have risen to another level displaying lightning quick spin moves in the lane. Areas of note from his game included shooting 70% (7-10) from the free throw line, and appearing to have an awareness to kick the ball back outside when drawing extra coverage. He also hit a nice outside jumper with the shot clock winding down during a second half possession. Anosike finished the game with a commanding double-double, 25 points and 14 rebounds to go with 4 steals and 2 assists.

Siena’s freshman corp of Rich Audu, Ryan Oliver, Brett Bisping, and Chris Leppanen all showed promise. Rich Audu showed great ability in getting to the basket, and scored 6 points. Ryan Oliver added 6 points of his own,  while showing a smooth shooting touch. Meanwhile Chris Leppanen looks to have a much higher ability than the typical walk on. He handled the point capably in his 11 minutes, and it would not be a surprise to see him get some minutes throughout the season.

In his first game in front of Siena fans, Imoh Silas saw 8 minutes of action and accumulated 5 fouls in that time. He demonstrated his potential, especially as a shot blocker, but he is still raw. He looked overly aggressive, with fouls occurring away from the ball. This could potentially be a product of seeing live game action for only the second time (closed scrimmage against Cornell being the other) in the past year and a half.

Lionel Gomis, the other Saint who missed last season due to eligibility issues along with Silas, also made his Saints debut. Gomis saw very limited action, only 4 minutes, and had a rough game, committing 3 turnovers and 2 fouls. He showed an ability to run the floor well but looked to struggle with the ball, being knocked off balance at times showing some early season jitters. Like Silas, he is still a raw talent and presently looks like he will be behind Bisping and Silas on the depth chart.

Rob Poole struggled with his shot early on. He ended the game with a healthy, and very typical, 12 point, 5 rebound, 4 assist performance, but all his points came late in the second half. He missed his first 5 free throw and three point attempts, before finding his stroke and finishing strong, hitting his final 3 attempts from both locations.

Davis Martens returned to game action for the first time since the 2010-11 season, and looks to have secured a starting spot to begin the season. He displayed good mobility for his size, which will serve the Saints well on the defensive end. Meanwhile, Trenity Burdine also returned to action from a long layoff and made quite possibly the play of the game cutting down the lane for a tomahawk jam.

Overall it is clear the Saints have a talented roster. They displayed the ability to push the ball up the floor which will only improve with Hymes on the floor. They also showed good motion in the half court offense which will pay dividends with their improved versatility. Sure there are still areas of opportunity. The early non-conference schedule will be critical for this team, with so many new and returning faces, in shaking off the rust and limiting mistakes. Time will tell how long and successful this team will be in finding those results.

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