In two of the first four games this season, sophomore guard Jalen Pickett has been in early foul trouble. Siena (2-2) lost both of those games. Against Harvard, the MAAC Preseason Player of the Year only played seven minutes in the first half.
The men’s basketball team as a whole is averaging four more fouls per game than it did last year. Pickett explained that the Saints’ defensive approach has changed with this roster under new Head Coach Carmen Maciariello.
“Last year we weren’t the fastest team, so we really focused on popping our hips back and staying like away from people, trying to make people shoot over our size. We were longer. This year, we’re a little quicker so we’re under people, so it’s basically how the refs call it. We’re trying to be a little bit more physical and force people to turn the ball over.”
Even within the confines of the new system, Maciariello believes that Pickett could have avoided some of the early fouls against the Crimson.
“I also want him to be a little more disciplined on that side of the ball,” Maciariello said. “That wasn’t the scouting report. We don’t pick up guys at half court and ride them. We don’t gamble in passing lanes. That’s not our defensive principles.”
Siena will continue take on Yale Wednesday night in the second of a four-game road trip. The Bulldogs are the defending Ivy League champions. The Saints are coming off a 59-56 loss to Ivy League opponent Harvard.