Siena returns two rising stars in the league in junior Kenny Hasbrouck and sophomore Ronald Moore. Hasbrouck was a second-team all-MAAC selection last season after averaging 16 points per game. If he continues to develop, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound Hasbrouck could become a conference player of the year candidate.
Junior Kenny Hasbrouck averaged 16 points per game to lead Siena last season.
As a true freshman point guard, Moore (5-11, 148) was second in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.26) while being an excellent late-game player. He and Hasbrouck combined for 103 steals last year, helping Siena finish second in the MAAC in that category. Senior Tay Fisher provides experience and 3-point shooting off the bench.
Siena will have to replace two starters in its frontcourt. The Saints lost their best low-post player from a year ago, Michael Haddix. He will be replaced by Vermont transfer Josh Duell or perhaps one of the incoming freshmen.
Edwin Ubiles (6-7, 192) shared MAAC rookie of the year honors after averaging 11.8 points per game and shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor. Sixth man Alex Franklin will take over a starting role following the departure of senior David Ryan. Forward Cory Magee improved as the year went along and provided Siena with some size of the bench.
Siena runs a motion offense with only a few set plays. There will likely be less scripting this season because the Saints won't have Haddix in the low post. Last year, Siena led the MAAC in scoring (76.2 ppg), field goal percentage (.475) and turnover margin (plus-1.28 per game).
The Saints primarily play man-to-man defense. Because of added depth this season, Siena will have more flexibility to utilize full-court pressure. While the offense carried Siena, the Saints look to improve on defense. They allowed opponents to average 71.3 points per game during the 2006-07 season.
Outlook with postseason forecast
McCaffery has turned around the Siena program. The Saints went 6-24 prior to his arrival. In two seasons, he has compiled a 35-25 record and a 22-14 mark in the MAAC. Siena hopes to build on a third-place finish last year – including two wins over MAAC champion Niagara. If Siena's defense catches up to its offense, the Saints should contend for a MAAC title. They should also be a threat in the conference tournament. If Siena earns the automatic berth, it would the its first appearance in the Big Dance since 2001-02.
Shoes to Fill
Despite missing a year an a half because of a broken leg, Haddix reached the 1,000-point milestone prior to his senior season. Once he returned from injury he was one of the most productive players in the MAAC. Haddix averaged 16.3 points per game and 7.5 rebounds. Duell, a transfer from Vermont, is eligible and could take his spot in the frontcourt. Duell (6-7, 254) is a former America East All-Rookie selection, and he reached the NCAA Tournament with the Catamounts. Center James Carr, the tallest player on the roster at 6-10, played sparingly as a freshman last year.
Must Step Up
Coach Fran McCaffery is counting on Hasbrouck to take over as his leader and top playmaker. He's a former MAAC Rookie of the Year, but is now being counted on to be the focal point for Siena. He's a solid all-around player who added 84 assists and 50 steals as a sophomore.
Even though Hasbrouck and Moore seem to be entrenched at the guard spots, true freshman Clarence Jackson could grab some playing time. At 6-4, Jackson is an outside shooter who also has the ability to play around the basket. The rest of the incoming class, including guard Chris de la Rosa and forwards Ryan Rossiter and Steven-Ryan Priestley, could also play as true freshmen.
David Fox is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.Rivals.com is counting down our Preseason Top 64. Coming tomorrow: No. 56.