LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10.COM) — Graduate transfer Nick Hopkins had never seen snow on the ground before Thursday, let alone two-plus feet, but the storm didn’t keep the Siena men’s basketball team from the gym. It was the Saints’ third day out of quarantine, and they only have five days left until their season opener.
Since the coronavirus-related pause ended, the team has practiced twice a day — with no contact in the morning session — to get ready for Drexel on Tuesday. By then, the Dragons will have seven games under their belts. Siena will be at a disadvantage coming off back-to-back quarantines that kept them off the court for the better part of a month, but they aren’t thinking about that.
“What we’ve been talking about is we never make excuses for the situation,” said junior guard Jalen Pickett, the preseason MAAC Player of the Year. “We all just want to get out there and play together, and we love the game. So we’re gonna go out there and attack this thing head on. And we’re gonna try to take each game as a lesson and learn from it, and you know, keep growing each day.”
Carmen Maciariello was asked during a media availability over Zoom Thursday afternoon whether he’ll treat the non-conference matchup against Drexel like a scrimmage at all with the unique nature of the preseason and without having played any games yet, but the head coach rejected the idea.
“You know, we play to win. We’ll have our substitution patterns and we have an idea of what guys can do and where they can play, and we’ll go from there. But no, we’re not treating it as a scrimmage by any means.”
Carm said he wants his guys to play “Siena basketball” from the jump, which he defined as playing hard every possession, not taking any plays off, and being disciplined on top of offensive and defensive execution.
Barring any more Covid-related pauses, the season is set to tip off on the road Tuesday at 2 p.m.