2008-2009 Record: 27-8, 16-2 MAAC (1st)
Key Losses: Kenny Hasbrouck (14.6 PPG, 3.5 RPG)
Key Returners: Edwin Ubiles (15.0 PPG, 4.9 RPG), Alex Franklin (13.6 PPG, 7.5 RPG), Ryan Rossiter (10.0 PPG, 7.9 RPG), Ronald Moore (8.7 PPG, 6.4 APG)
Newcomers: O.D. Anosike, Jonathon Breeden, Davis Martens, Denzel Yard
The Siena men's basketball team is in the midst of the best run in the history of its program. And despite losing guard Kenny Hasbrouck, the 2009 MAAC player of the year, that run should continue during the 2009-2010 season.
The biggest reason for that is small forward Edwin Ubiles. Ubiles, who has made two straight All MAAC first teams, is probably the best returning player in the conference.
Standing 6'6", Ubiles is widely considered the most athletic player in the MAAC. While his game is centered on his aggressiveness attacking the rim and defending, Ubiles has shown the ability to knock down perimeter shots (although, his 3PT% dropped from 42% to 31% last year).
But Ubiles will be far from the only weapon on the Saints roster. Joining him up front is Alex Franklin and Ryan Rossiter.
Franklin is a muscle-bound 6'5" senior that plays a good three inches taller than his actual height. An excellent rebounder for his size, Franklin has a knack for being able to score down low against much taller players. Rossiter had an excellent sophomore campaign, averaging 10 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. He is a good complement to Franklin along the front line, as has a bit more of a face-up game than Franklin.
Two freshmen should also contribute up front. Davis Martens, who will have to sit out the first 12 games of the season after playing with professionals in his native Germany, is a 6'9", 220 lb center with range out to the three-point line. He is strong down low, but still needs to develop more of a back to the basket game. O.D. Anosike, a 6'7" freshman from Staten Island, is the only other player on the roster over 6'5".
The Saints backcourt is where a lot of the question marks come into play.
They return tournament hero Ronald Moore, a senior point guard who has started all four years with the Saints. He is not a great scorer (averaging right around 8 PPG for his entire career), but Moore is an excellent creator and doesn't make bad decisions with the ball.
The issue in the backcourt is where the Saints will make up the shooting and scoring they lose with Hasbrouck. The first option will probably be junior Clarence Jackson.
Jackson has shown flashes of being a big time scorer (he averaged 8.7 PPPG in just 14.3 MPG last season), including a 28-point outburst against St. Joe's.
But he is considered a shooter (142 three-point attempts in 514 minutes), and has yet to hit even a third of his three point attempts for a season. If he can get more consistent from deep (which should happen with the more consistent minutes he will receive this year), it's not a stretch to think that Jackson could become a dangerous weapon on the perimeter.
Sophomores Kyle Downey and Owen Wignot will be the Saints first two options off the bench in their backcourt this season.
Wignot has the potential to be quite a player at this level. At an athletic 6'5" (he was a high and long jump champion in high school), Wignot also possess range beyond the three point line. But until he adds something to his game besides hops and a jumper, he won't be much more than a role player.
Downey is ready to play. He's not going to blow you away with quickness, athleticism, or scoring ability, but he is a smart kid that knows how to play and won't make many mistakes.
Also keep an eye on freshman Jonathon Breeden, a quick 5'11" point guard that can make plays in the lane. With the talent the Saints have along their front line, a point guard that can get in the lane and find people is a valuable asset.
Outlook: You know what you're going to get with this Saints team. It is strong inside and loaded with experience. The biggest question mark is going to be where it replaces the scoring ability it lost on the perimeter with Hasbrouck's graduation. If guys like Jackson and Wignot can fill the void, this is a team that could make some noise in the NCAA Tournament.
The Saints won't play as tough of a non-conference schedule this season (Temple, St. Joe's, Northern Iowa, Georgia Tech, St. John's, BracketBusters Tournament), so unless they sweep those six games, this group is probably going to have to win the MAAC to earn a bid. That will be easier said than done, as Niagara will also be very good this year.