Siena’s 2012 men’s basketball season kicked off with two opening wins over Navy and Mount St. Mary’s College. Since then the season has been anything but predictable. From O.D. Anosike’s school record of 11 consecutive double-doubles to Iona’s 90-59 drubbing of Siena at Madison Square Garden, the perennial MAAC contending Siena Saint’s season has had moments of greatness, mired with inconsistency.
However one aspect of the season that has remained constant is Coach Mitch Bonaguoro’s message to his players: school comes first. During practice following the Saints 72-60 victory over Niagara on January 8th, Coach Bonaguoro chose to use the first ten minutes, not to discuss the Saints impressive win, but rather to berate his players over their grades. “It can’t just be Anosike. Everyone needs to get on track and pick up their grades or you simply won’t play” a red-faced Bonaguoro said in regards to the release of first semester grades.
Amidst a season of ups and downs, junior forward O.D. Anosike has remained a rock for the Saints leading the team in scoring, rebounds and steals, while providing much needed leadership and a positive example on and off the court. Anosike boasts a 3.75 grade point average to go along with a stellar 2011-2012-basketball season. Anosike admirably fills the void in the front court left by former MAAC player of the year Ryan Rossiter. Upon being asked how the Saints have dealt with the loss of Rossiter, senior forward Owen Wignot responded “It’s been difficult, but O.D.’s really stepped up his game and has done a great job filling that role.”
The Saints shook off a 5 game losing streak early in the season and responded with a three game winning streak and wins in 5 of 6 games from December 22nd to January 12th. When asked if the Saints have done anything different to turn around their season, freshman point guard Evan Hymes responded “We’re just more focused and hungry than before, guys are paying more attention to the scouting reports and the team has responded positively since dropping those early games.” When asked which team he was looking forward to playing the most, Hymes responded without hesitation “Iona.” A similar question posed to Wignot came back with the same answer, “Iona, they beat us pretty good and we’re looking for revenge.” The Saints got their revenge Monday with shocking 65-62 win over division leading Iona and another home win against Marist this past Friday. A loss to Ryder on Sunday dropped the Saints to 10-11 overall and 5-6 in their conference.
Time will only tell if Siena can make another run for the MAAC title and earn an automatic bid for the NCAA Division 1 tournament. Until then sit back and enjoy the craziness that is the Saints 2011-2012 basketball season.