Basketball players

With Gaines out for MAAC tournament, Siena’s other men’s basketball players will need to step up – The Daily Gazette

As teammate Anthony Gaines underwent medical tests on Monday that the Siena men’s basketball program confirmed on Tuesday revealed the grad student suffered a season-ending knee injury, freshman Javian McCollum said he knew what the message would be from one of Siena’s co-captains if bad news came through.

“He would always want us to show up,” McCollum said ahead of Monday’s practice.

That practice didn’t include Gaines, who suffered a non-contact injury on Siena’s final offensive possession of the regular season. The school announced on Tuesday that Gaines tore the ACL in his right knee and will miss this week’s MAAC tournament – and any other postseason play for the Saints – as he begins to recover. of his injury.

“This is bad news, but it will be just another hurdle that Anthony overcomes,” Siena head coach Carmen Maciariello said in a statement released by the school’s athletic department. “He is a resilient young man whom I had the honor of coaching. We have work to do in Atlantic City, and I know this team will rise to the challenge.

The challenge is daunting, and not just because of when third-seeded Siena begins play Thursday in the MAAC knockout tournament against No. 11 Quinnipiac at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

A third-team All-MAAC selection, Gaines has provided Saints leadership, along with 10.9 points and 7.1 rebounds per game — and Siena, simply put, doesn’t have many options to replace that production. The Saints are down to just nine scholarship players for the MAAC tournament, and that group includes second Aidan Carpenter who is slated to play in the quarterfinals on Thursday after missing Siena’s final six games of the regular season.

Gaines, however, was also one of only two Saints – forward Michael Baer being the other – to appear in every regular season game for Siena. As Maciariello noted on Monday, the Saints are used to determining lineups and a rotation on the fly.

“That’s kind of what this season has been [because of] number of injuries and guys in and out of the lineup,” Maciariello said.

“Someone will just have to step in and be that leader – and I’m sure everyone is ready to do that,” McCollum said of the Saints’ situation. “We just have to play and give our all on the pitch.”

Without Gaines, Siena is likely to turn more to a smaller roster – and that would mean extra minutes for McCollum, the Saints’ talented 6ft 2in guard who averaged 6.3 points in 17.5 minutes per game.

McCollum has at times dazzled with his playmaking and shooting abilities, which served as the basis for his head coach describing the Florida native’s play as a mix of what former guards Doremus Bennerman and Ronald Moore brought to court for Siena. During the regular season, McCollum – in a limited role – had 39 assists and 25 turnovers, and made 48.9% of his field goal attempts, 42.9% of his 3-point attempts and 86.5 % of his free throws.

Throughout the campaign, defending McCollum has been a work in progress — something he acknowledged Monday with a smile.

“In high school, I really didn’t need to play defense,” McCollum said. “Now you have to play defense to stay on the pitch, so I’ve been working on that – and I’m getting pretty good at it, I would say, I’m improving.”

McCollum said he worked on his defense by going 1-on-1 against classmate Jared Billups. A rookie team selection, Billups became one of Siena’s starters, along with graduate student Nick Hopkins, junior Colby Rogers and senior Jackson Stormo.

Along with Gaines, Rogers and Stormo were Siena’s only double-digit scorers per game during the regular season. Rogers — a second-team All-MAAC selection — is Siena’s leading scorer with 14.1 points per game, while Stormo averaged 11.1.

Although there’s pressure that comes with playing in the MAAC tournament, McCollum said he’s looking forward to playing his first experience in a college conference tournament. He said he would also have additional fans in the stands at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall.

“My parents are coming, and it’s the first time they’ve come here and watched me play. [for Siena]”, said McCollum. “So everything is very exciting.

ANNOUNCED FIELD

The full field for the 2022 ESPN Events Invitational, which will be played Nov. 24-27 at the HP Field House at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., was announced on Tuesday.

With Siena in the field of eight teams are Florida State, Memphis, Ole Miss, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Seton Hall and Stanford.

Each team will play three games in the tournament, with first-round opponents for each schedule to be announced this summer.

Siena has previously competed in the event known as the Old Spice Classic, AdvoCare Invitational and Orlando Invitational twice over the years. In 2008, Siena played Tennessee, Wichita State and Oklahoma State, and the Saints in 2013 played Memphis, Saint Joseph’s and Purdue.

Siena was scheduled to play in the event in 2020, but those games were canceled due to concerns over the novel coronavirus pandemic.

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Categories: Collegiate Sports, Siena College, Sports