Siena joins Duke, Wisconsin in 2K Classic

One of these college basketball teams seems a little out of place.
Siena coach Jimmy Patsos.
Siena coach Jimmy Patsos.

One of these college basketball teams seems a little out of place.

National champion Duke, national runner-up Wisconsin, NCAA participant Georgetown, NCAA participant VCU and Siena College.

The first four combined for a 119-29 record this past season and have made 104 NCAA tournament appearances, including 25 Final Fours. Siena lost 20 games.

But Siena, which traditionally features a challenging schedule, will be one of eight programs included in a stacked 21st annual 2K Classic next November. The 2K Classic benefits the Wounded Warrior Project.

Also selected to participate in the tournament will be Bryant, Prairie View and Radford. There will be subregional double-headers, regional rounds, as well as the championship rounds, which will be played at Madison Square Garden.

Siena returns three starters from the 2014-15 season, but one, Brett Bisping, played in only six games. Also back will be point guard Marquis Wright (12.5 ppg) and Lavon Long (10.4 ppg, team-high 4.9 rpg). Both will be juniors.

“This is great,” said Jimmy Patsos. “We are very excited. The Wounded Warriors is a great cause, too. This is a great tournament and a great cause.”

Rumors spread toward the end of the season that the Saints would be playing in a tournament involving Georgetown, but the fact that Duke, Wisconsin and VCU are also in the field is special for the Saints.

“We’re going to be in the group with Georgetown and VCU, it appears,” said Patsos. “The other two games could be at Bryant, and that would be great for our fans to get to.

“We will be tested early, but that’s OK,” said Patsos. “That’s why we like playing in those tournaments. It’s good for the school, and it’s good for the pgoram. We’re excited about it. Playing in those biggies is fun. They will be tough games to win, but they get you ready. Good things are going on with our schedule this year, and we’ll have more later on.”

Rowley honored

Sam Rowley always played and acted like the consummate professional.

Yet the University at Albany senior won’t be taking his game to that next level, and instead will begin a finance career in New York City after he graduates next month.

Rowley capped his extremely successful athletic and academic career when he was named the America East Conference Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Rowley will graduate with a dual degree in mathematics and business administration. The 6-foot-6 Australian owns a cumulative 3.60 GPA, and is a three-time America East All-Academic selection.

He was a vital cog in the Great Danes’ three consecutive America East Conference championships. The America East first-team all-star and NABC District I second-team selection was third in the league in rebounding (7.6 rpg) and free-throw shooting (.820). He was also fourth in scoring with a team-best 13.9 ppg.

He finished his UAlbany career fifth on the team’s all-time career rebounding list with 756, but in the Division I era, he is the all-time leader in virtually every career, season and game rebounding mark.

He became the eighth Division I UAlbany player to score 1,000 career points on Jan. 28, against Vermont.

“I’m very proud of being part of the team these last four years,” Rowley said. “I guess the thing I always prided myself on was being level-headed. I understand the value of having guys who are up and down, but you need some guys to be foundation, level-headed guys, and I think I was one of them.”

After toying with the idea of going overseas to play pro ball, Rowley, typically the realist, changed his mind.

“I’m looking to join the real world,” he said with a laugh. “It was a dream of mind to go pro at one point, and sometimes, while I was growing up, I thought about it. I was tempted, but when reality came through, I decided that I didn’t want to be a pro for 10 years. I didn’t want to make that kind of sacrifice. Playing pro ball now didn’t align with my career goals. I want to work in America, and it would be very difficult for me to play overseas and then come back here and get another visa. I don’t want to pass up the opportunity to get a good job here. Plus, I have a girlfriend who lives here.

“Playing basketball and traveling might have been nice for a while, but I don’t have that drive to keep playing right now.”

This is the second consecutive year that a UAlbany player has received the league’s basketball scholar-athlete award. Peter Hooley won the award last season.

Categories: College Sports

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