A Seat in the Bleachers: Hasbrouck will continue to be Siena’s go-to guy

The lingering image of the Old Spice Classic, so far, is Kenny Hasbrouck in the dungeon at the Milk

The Siena basketball team was supposed to visit the Magic Kingdom and all that on Saturday, the day of rest at the Old Spice Classic.

Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Donald greet you with their big smiles on all the big signs leading into the “World Resort,” as they call it.

Everybody’s helpful and cheerful at DisneyWorld, everything’s colorful. For crying out loud, the people checking credentials at the gate to the Wide World of Sports complex last Wednesday were wearing big fluffy Mickey hands. You know, with the classic cartoon three-finger, one-thumb format. In the men’s room at the basketball arena, it act­ually says, “Cast members must wash hands before returning to work.”

It’s just the damn funnest place on the planet Earth.

When I was a little kid and used to watch the Disney show every Sunday night, Tinker Bell would zoom out in front of Cinderella’s castle and zap her pixie dust at the audience.

As Disney has progressed into high-tech animation and Pixar and all that stuff, the fairy and the castle remain iconic images you associate with everything Disney. Oh, yeah, and the Mouse.

The lingering image of the tournament so far, though, is Kenny Hasbrouck in the dungeon at the Milk House.

After he missed a potential game-tying layup just before the buzzer against Wichita State on Friday, he crouched down on the court with his head down, then spent several minutes by himself in the concrete tunnel under the stands soaking in what just happened, leaning with his head up against a cinderblock wall. I wasn’t sure if he was ever

going to move away from that wall.

At the time, Oklahoma State didn’t know yet that it would be facing Siena Sunday, but if it had known, it still might not have prev­ented two men in bright orange Oklahoma State gear from throwing a little human comfort Hasbrouck’s way as they happened to walk by. “Long year,” one of them said. “You’re all right, my brother.”

As deep and balanced as Siena is, the Saints are going to need their captain to be all right.

Hasbrouck was still in a funk a little while later in the locker room, staring at the floor while the rest of the team quietly shuffled about their postgame routine. No slamming stuff around, just staring at the floor, numb.

This is a proud athlete who wants the mantle of responsibility for winning games for the Saints, so when you fail in that, it’s that much more painful. If Hasbrouck was a goofy freshman with the rest of his

career in front of him, he could have chalked it up to experience. Has­brouck is a senior and the unquestioned leader of this team, though. Time will be running out in February and March, NBA scouts are watching and Siena is going to be on TV a lot this year.

It might be natural to second-guess decision-making by coaches and players after a bitter loss like this, but I expect coach Fran McCaffery to go to Hasbrouck again and again when the Saints get in these situations in the future. This is his guy. And judging from the way they failed to close out Wichita State, a team Siena should beat and has to beat if it wants to be one of the top 40 or 50 teams in the country, and not some Cinderella, it is going to need more late-game her­oics the rest of the way.

As long as Hasbrouck is on this team, that will continue to be his department.

“He’s our captain, he’s our leader,” sophomore Ryan Rossiter said. “It was a good take, and I’m sure if we got in that situation again, we’d run the same play for him, and I’m sure it would fall for him.”

Categories: College Sports

Leave a Reply