- Jackie Benitez Leaving Siena
- Siena Beats Monmouth: What Happened At Half Time?
- Postgame Comments Following Siena Semifinal Win Over Monmouth
- Siena Marches Into MAAC Semifinal With Win Over Fairfield
- Postgame Comments Following Siena Win Over Fairfield
- MAAC Tourney Preview: #4 Siena vs. #5 Fairfield
- MAAC Tourney Preview: #4 Siena Women vs. #5 Iona
- All MAAC Teams Announced
- Men’s and Women’s MAAC Championship Brackets
- Siena Tops Marist On Senior Day
Steven Cruz To Get The Call On Senior Day
- Updated: March 1, 2014
He may be the smallest player in Siena basketball history, but Steven Cruz has a big smile and an even bigger heart. Perhaps it is fitting that he stands alone as the only senior player on this year’s roster as this one of kind Saint will be honored Sunday on Senior Day as Siena closes out its regular season against Monmouth at the Times Union Center.
Following a pregame ceremony, Cruz’s name will be called out as the four-year walk-on is announced as part of the starting lineup for the first time in his career. He says he doesn’t think he will be overly nervous, but acknowledges a little pressure to match the performance put on by former teammate and fellow walk-on Conner Fenlon who nailed a three-pointer on his Senior Day two years ago.
When asked if he plans on launching a three of his own, Cruz said, “If I’m open. Since I’m starting I’m gonna try to get the offense going, try to get us the lead.”
One can’t help but wonder if perhaps he may look to outdo Fenlon’s three with something more dramatic like an alley-oop, Cruz responds without hesitation.
“On the 2 play yes. Maybe do a reverse lob. We gotta set some good screens but I’ll get up there.”
Despite the excitement of being honored in front of what is sure to be a big crowd of well over 7,000 people, Cruz describes that as his career is winding down, the thoughts of it being over soon are starting to sink in.
“It’s starting to be very depressing,” said Cruz. “Some of these guys joke around, toasting to me, with water and talking about all the funny moments. It’s kinda depressing but I think it’s time.”
In a season where expectations were low for a team picked to finish 10th, Cruz talks with pride about what his team has done this season and is encouraged by how far they have come.
“I see so much improvement,” Cruz said. “From the beginning of the year, just how everyone was talking about how it’s gonna be a rebuilding year and here we are in 5th place. It’s something not a lot of people believed, but we believed it.”
For Cruz, being able to be a part of this team has meant everything, and despite a lifetime of memories throughout his time at Siena, he is thankful to have been around for this season to be a part of restoring pride in the program.
“Pride, that’s exactly what I feel. I feel like everybody’s more competitive. Everyone’s really into the program, trying to invest themselves into getting better day in and day out. All the credit goes to Jimmy.”
Although for only one season, Cruz could not be happier for having the opportunity to play for coach Jimmy Patsos and his staff who have pushed him, challenged him, and yes had a lot of fun with him.
“It’s the best experience. I’m kinda jealous. I wish I was a freshman just starting to play for him. I’m more involved in practice, really having a bigger role. That’s one of the best things. It’s one of my favorite coaching staffs I’ve had. I will always come and visit them.”
Steven Cruz, fan favorite, excellent teammate, and all-around good guy, will surely always be welcome.
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