Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hewitt remembers Siena well

It wasn't long after Georgia Tech wrapped up their 67-54 victory over Richmond on Saturday that coach Paul Hewitt was instructing his players to keep their focus in front of them.

That's because he knows all about the Siena program, which he was at the head of from 1997-2000.

“You really learn how to run a basketball program being at Siena,” Hewitt said. “Because you deal with so many entities that are really important to your success. It’s a great program.”

Hewitt told his players that Siena wouldn't be in awe of a bigger school coming into town and that the crowd will be raucous at what he still calls the Knickerbocker Arena.

He remembered a game in particular that he credited the win to the huge crowd Siena routinely draws.

The team was playing in the last MAAC Tournament game of the night, in Albany and down five to Canisius.

They rallied to send the game to overtime and then advance to the championship game, against Iona.

"We don't do that unless the crowd is behind us," Hewitt said.

Hewitt said he was usually the last one to leave the arena and he remembers the feelings after big victories.

When I talked to Hewitt on Monday, he didn't have to be reminded about Siena's personnel.

He said he watched the Minnesota game where Clarence Jackson scored a game-high 29 points.

"If we don't do a good enough job on him, he'll make you pay," Hewitt said.

Hewitt also said that after last year's game, he told Siena Athletic Director John D'Argenio that he thought Ryan Rossiter could play at any level of college ball, which is also the same way he felt about Ronald Moore.

"I don't know if (Rossiter) could do it when he first stepped on campus, but certainly he's developed into one of the elite players in college basketball."

Note: Both Rossiter and Jackson are questionable for Wednesday's game. Rossiter is dealing with a sinus infection and Jackson tweaked his ankle during Monday's practice.

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