Okay...so to say the Siena men's basketball team
needed a couple of hours so the media could meet with them is probably far-fetched.
After a terrific season last year, the public knows a lot about this team and so do we.
Still though, there we were, one day before practice was to begin and we did actually learn some things (believe it or not).
First things first, a little baseball.Junior point guard Ronald Moore
(a native of Conshohocken, Pa.) was very happy with the Philadelphia Phillies taking down the Dodgers on Wednesday night and advancing to their first World Series since 1993.
“Unfortunately, I probably won’t be able to make a game,” Moore said. “I’m definitely watching and tuned in and having a lot of fun with these New York Yankees and New York Mets fans.”Head coach Fran McCaffery
, himself a native of the Philadelphia area, said he couldn't be happier with the Phils.
“I am fired up about the Phillies,” said McCaffery, who added that he went to games when they played at Connie Mack Stadium when he was little. “This team I really enjoy, in particular.”
McCaffery said with the timing of the college basketball season, he can't really follow a NFL or NBA team, so baseball is what keeps his rooting interests. He takes his kids to games and they are big Phillies fans.
“How could you not love this team the way they play?” McCaffery said.
McCaffery said he is going to try to lock up World Series tickets
, but he wasn't sure if he could get any.
I was told that Moore and junior Alex Franklin
(a native of Reading, Pa.) are the lone Phillies fans on the team.Back to basketball....While practice begins in 21 hours
as I write this, some of the Siena players are dinged up. Franklin
spent time at home with an illness (keep reading), senior co-captain Kenny Hasbrouck
is having some back problems, co-captain Josh Duell
is still recovering from a groin pull that occurred before the Italy trip and junior Edwin Ubiles
has been out for a week and a half with a pulled muscule in his back, but they will all be ready to go tomorrow night.
“It’s bothering me a little bit still, but I’m pretty healthy,” Duell said. “Ever since we’ve got back (from Italy), I’ve been going fine.”
“I should be ready for tomorrow,” Ubiles added.
The story with Franklin is a little more complicated.
Franklin went home for two weeks, earlier this year, after catching a bad case of strep throat
. It was the first time he's had it and he lost almost 15 pounds.
"The main thing I was worried about was my endurance and I'm getting it back by conditioning," Franklin said. "I think it's all coming back to me. I'm getting my strength back. I'm in good shape right now."
Still, his teammates were ready to give it to Franklin when he returned to campus.
"They call me Mr. Slim," Franklin said with a smile. "As soon as I walked in, they asked what size shirts I wear, extra small or medium. The jokes have been coming, but they see I'm working hard in the weight room and getting it back."
It continued on Thursday when McCaffery said Franklin might be playing shooting guard this season because of the lost weight.
Franklin said he'll be ready for the first practice.
"I'm always ready," said Franklin, who's already gained back six pounds. "I'm going to be ready to go."
I also asked Alex about his back, which sidelined him for a couple games, including the Memphis game last year.
"The back was the least of my worries," Franklin said.The biggest negative in the Saints game
last season was rebounding. McCaffery thought that was solved when he signed 6-foot-9 Wolfgang Geiler from Germany, but he left Siena, deciding to try his hand at a professional career instead.
So, who steps up for the Saints this season after they were -4.3 rebounds per game, a year ago.
“If he does what he did in Italy, he would be the guy,” said McCaffery of sophomore Ryan Rossiter
. “He was a rebounding machine over there. I think he really focused on that taking care of that part of what was problematic for us last year.”
McCaffery will also be looking for others to step up in that role.Josh Duell's career will come full-circle in a way on Jan. 6
when Siena takes on defending national champion Kansas.
Duell's first game of his college career was at Allen Fieldhouse, when he suited up for the University of Vermont.
Looking up the box score, Duell played 22 minutes, scored six points and grabbed five rebounds.
Oh, and the Catamounts had a 58-56 lead over the No. 1 Jayhawks with three minutes to go, but fell 68-61.
“It was one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been too,” Duell said. “It’ll be nice to get back there again, being one of the senior guys, who say don’t worry about this arena.”
I'll end this enormously long blog entry about a newcomer, freshman Kyle Downey.
I've heard now on two accounts that Downey is a very hard worker, first from Kenny Hasbrouck at the Sneak Preview and Thursday, McCaffery said it again when introducing the team.
In fact, McCaffery went as far as saying he's the hardest working kid that he has ever met.
Big words indeed.
“He works out three times a day,” McCaffery said. “You can’t get him out of the gym.”
That's a good sign.I'll be making stops at both UAlbany and Siena practice tomorrow
as college hoops heat up as the temperature goes down in the Capital District.
Labels: Alex Franklin, College Basketball, Edwin Ubiles, Fran McCaffery, Josh Duell, Kenny Hasbrouck, Kyle Downey, Philadelphia Phillies, Ronald Moore, Ryan Rossiter, Siena