LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — With almost a month to go before the college basketball season tips off, the Siena men’s and women’s basketball programs held their first official practices Monday.

The Siena men are coming off a 15-14 season that ended in the MAAC Quarterfinals with a loss to Quinnipiac. The Saints bring back eight players from last year’s roster. They believe having that core is a huge help heading into the season. “I think the guys know each other a lot more,” said graduate student Andrew Platek. “We’re a much closer knit group this year and we play for each other a lot more. You really want that team spirit, team comradery and I think we have that to a tee this year.”

With that group of returners in place, the Saints believe they’re miles ahead of where they were last season. “It’s just better to have comradery already built,” said graduate student Jackson Stormo. “Last year, this time of the season, we were still in the phase where we’re trying to get to know each other, where as I feel like now we have a huge head-start on that and we can get to putting together the big pieces much sooner.”

The Saints open up their season on the road against Holy Cross on November 7.

Meanwhile, the Siena women will look to bounce back from a 10-19 season in Jim Jabir’s first season at the helm. After starting the season 0-9, the Saints finished strong, going 10-10 in their final 20 games.

The Saints will be young this season with only four returners, but Jabir is excited for what is to come. “I’ve coached I think 37 years and this is my favorite group I’ve ever coached,” said Jabir. “It has been fun coming into work everyday because they’re so coachable and they’re so unselfish and they’re just fun to be around. They’ve really bought in. There’s no drama, no stress like that. They’re all locked in, it’s awesome.”

The Saints tip things off at home against New Hampshire on November 10.