Monday, November 22, 2010

Siena's figuring out the point (guard)

LOUDONVILLE - Siena coach Mitch Buonaguro met with junior Kyle Griffin for an hour on Friday night at the team's hotel in Boston.

Buonaguro explained to him that he would be starting freshman Rakeem Brookins at point guard, the next day and that Griffin still had an important role with the team.

The Saints went on to demolish a good Northeastern team on Saturday, so the move seemingly paid off.

"I made the decision based on, we weren't running that well," said Buonaguro at his weekly meeting with the media on Monday afternoon. "It was nothing against Kyle Griffin. Kyle Griffin actually has pretty good stats."

Brookins played 27 minutes against the Huskies and although he didn't make a field goal, he finished with five assists and four points.

"I thought Rahk added some running to our offense," Buonaguro said. "We run the ball better when he's in there."

Brookins will remain the starter when Siena takes on Butler Tuesday night in downtown Albany. The game can be seen locally on Time Warner-3.

"I think he played well (against Northeastern)," Buonaguro said. "He ran the team well."

Griffin came off the bench for the first time this season and played 18 minutes, scoring four points and dishing out four assists.

"I was happy he bought into the role and responded," Buonaguro said.

Coach B said it was a little easier of a move, knowing that Griffin is a mature player, who will do anything for the team to succeed.

"When you have character people like Kyle Griffin, they understand when a coach makes a decision, you have to buy into it," Buonaguro said. "He understands, still, that he's a key player."

Griffin is averaging 3.0 points per game and leads the team with 13 assists on the year.

Buonaguro also addressed why he put sophomore Jonathan Breeden into the game as his first substitue at the point guard position.

"I wanted to get a look at Jon," Buonaguro said. "I played him a little at the point. He came in and I just had a hunch that it wasn't his day."

The victory over Northeastern was Buonaguro's first head coaching victory at Siena and his first head coaching win in 20 years.

"Beating a really good, quality opponent on the road is always a great feeling," he said. "To get my first win, was obviously a great moment for me."

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