Once again, The Daily Gazette sports department — with some help from friends — presents a Capital Region-based fantasy draft.
This weekend, we turn our attention to picking up squads made up of the greatest players and coaches from the Siena College men’s basketball program.
Criteria for inclusion was based solely on a figure’s career at Siena, and only players and coaches who spent at least two seasons at Siena during the program’s Division I era were considered. Each selector needed to pick five players and one coach.
Besides sports department staff members Michael Kelly and Mike MacAdam, two guests participated in this draft.
Robert Lee took over as the play-by-play voice of Siena basketball in 2002, and has served in that capacity on radio or television for the past 18 seasons. In that time, he called the Saints’ three NCAA tournament appearances, two NCAA wins, as well as both of the school’s record 24-loss seasons. In addition to his work for Siena, he broadcasts college football and basketball for ESPN networks.
Conner Fenlon is a Tampa, Florida native and a 2012 Siena College graduate. He was a part of two Siena teams that won MAAC championships and played in the NCAA tournament. In 2018, he started calling Siena games as a color analyst on radio and TV.
Introductions out of the way, we start the draft with Lee getting us going.
Lee selects . . . Marc Brown (player, 1987-1991)
Widely acknowledged as the greatest player in Siena history, Brown remains the school’s all-time leading scorer (2,284 points) nearly 30 years after graduating. He is also second all-time in assists, as well as fourth in steals and 3-pointers made (42% career shooter) in a time when the 3 was more novelty than staple.
“Showbiz” lit up crowds with his handle and electric style of play. He and his teammates on the 1988-89 team put Siena on the national map by winning the NAC title and then upsetting third-seeded Stanford in the NCAA tournament, a game in which Brown led the way with 32 points and six assists while knocking down the game-winning free throws.
Everyone knows a great team needs a great point guard, so the General goes with the best floor general in school history.
MacAdam selects . . . Kenny Hasbrouck (player, 2005-2009)
Hasbrouck ranks as the fourth all-time leading scorer at Siena with 1,917 points, but did so much more for the Saints than score.
He was a fierce defender who holds the school record for steals (248) and was also a dangerous 3-point shooter and a pretty good rebounder for a guard.
Hasbrouck was the first, and most important, recruit that Fran McCaffery brought in, not only for his talent, but because his choice of Siena helped convince some other great talents to follow.
Most of all, Hasbrouck was a winner … named to the MAAC all-tournament team in 2007 as a sophomore, MAAC tournament MVP in 2008 and conference player of the year in 2009.
He scored 30 points against Vanderbilt in the first round of the 2008 NCAA tournament, an 83-62 blowout by the No. 13-seeded Saints over the No. 4 Commodores.
Bonus points for some friendly chiding of Barack Obama for picking Vanderbilt to win in his bracket.
Fenlon selects . . . Ryan Rossiter (player, 2007-2011)
I am going with the man in the middle.
It could be debated that Rossiter had the largest developmental transformation from freshman to senior year of any Saints player. He was a part of three straight MAAC Championships and NCAA tournament appearances along with being Siena’s leading rebounder at 1,151 rebounds. He ranks 11th in all-time scoring, and is within the top-five for blocks. His senior year he was awarded the MAAC Player of the Year, even with his team only going 13-18 that season.
What doesn’t show in record books is his hustle to attack every rebound like it is the last, and to help his team in any way possible. He’s played games with many injuries (eyelid flipped inside out, broken nose, ankle sprains, etc.), but no matter what, he never let any of that stop him from giving his all to his teammates on the court.
Kelly selects . . . Doremus Bennerman (player, 1990-1994)
At No. 4, I get the player I would have taken at No. 1.
Bennerman was a MAAC Player of the Year, a two-time MAAC selection as both an all-conference and all-tournament performer, and his name is littered throughout Siena’s program record book. Most notably, statistically, he ranks No. 2 in all-time scoring, and holds a number of single-game and single-season records related to scoring — plus ranks in the top-five for assists.
His senior season is likely the greatest individual campaign produced by a Siena player. Bennerman averaged 26 points, 4.2 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 44% from the field, 41% from 3-point territory and 86.7% from the foul line . . . and that seasons ends with Bennerman dropping a program-record 51 points against Kansas State in the NIT’s third-place game at Madison Square Garden. Bennerman was named the tournament’s MVP after a final game in which he made 27 of 30 foul shots.
Kelly selects . . . Alex Franklin (player, 2006-2010)
I went back and forth here a few times between two players. In the end, had to go with Franklin, a three-time All-MAAC selection — twice on the first team — and a MAAC Player of the Year.
Along with classmates Ronald Moore and Edwin Ubiles, nobody won more games playing at Siena than Franklin with 97. As critical as every piece to the puzzle was during those years when Siena made three consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament, Franklin’s ability to man the 4 at 6-foot-5 is what allowed so much of what the Saints wanted to do to work.
When the Saints beat Ohio State in the 2008-09 NCAA tournament, there were teammates that scored more points, grabbed more rebounds and dished more assists — but Franklin was the only Siena player to play all 50 minutes of the double-overtime thriller. I think that speaks to the degree to which Franklin’s value to those Siena teams went beyond the traditional box score.
Also . . . Franklin stands at No. 5 all-time on the program’s scoring and rebounding lists, which is pretty good.
Fenlon selects . . . Ronald Moore (player, 2006-2010)
For my second selection, it would be hard to pass up the one and only, Ronald Moore.
Ron holds just about every Siena passing record. He holds the record for most assists in a single game (14), most assists in an NCAA game (10) and is No. 1 in Siena history for most career assists. Ron lands in the No. 3 spot for career steals and he is a two-time All-MAAC tournament selection.
Outside of the record books, Ron made arguably two of the most impactful shots in program history. In 2009 at the NCAA tournament, with seconds to go, Ron first knocked down a 3-pointer to send the game into double overtime, then followed with another 3 to win the game.
Saints fans will forever remember the moment as Bill Raftery yelled, “Onions, double order!”
MacAdam selects . . . Edwin Ubiles (player, 2006-2010)
“He’s always open.”
That was head coach Fran McCaffery’s observation after a game once, referring to 6-foot-6 forward Edwin Ubiles, who was known in part for his fun dunks, but was a versatile scorer with a solid mid-range jumper and could knock down a 3.
He finished his career with 1,939 points, No. 3 on the all-time list, and also ranks in the top 25 in total rebounds (560) and assists (273). A MAAC co-rookie of the year who made the first team as a sophomore and junior, and the second team as a senior, Ubiles showed up when the Saints needed him on the biggest stage. He averaged 20.7 ppg in NCAA tournament games against Ohio State, Louisville and Purdue as a junior and senior.
He went on to become the first Siena player to appear in an NBA regular-season game, with the Washington Wizards in 2012, but will best be remembered by Siena fans for a breakaway 360 dunk against Fairfield in 2010.
While Siena was trailing.
In the closing minutes of the MAAC championship game.
McCaffery said afterward he was OK with that.
We chose to believe him.
Lee selects . . . Fran McCaffery (coach, 2005-2010)
The top-seven players picked so far are clear standouts, so I will select the coach who recruited and coached a staggering five of them. By any measure, McCaffery is the most successful coach in school history and his five years in the Capital Region were a glorious stretch that may very well never be repeated.
McCaffery arrived in 2005 to resurrect a program that had just finished 6-24. His first team surprised many by finishing with a winning record. By his second year, he already had the Saints in the MAAC championship game. Often forgotten about that game is that had freshman Alex Franklin not been in terrible foul trouble (27 points, 11 rebounds on 10 of 12 shooting in just 23 minutes), Siena would likely have beaten Niagara and won four straight MAAC titles.
The Saints then embarked on a three-year tear, going 77-26 (55-8 MAAC), winning three MAAC championships and of course, beating both Vanderbilt and Ohio State in memorable fashion in the NCAA tournament.
College sports is all about the coach, and the fiery McCaffery is the ideal man for the job. Besides, I’ve heard he has a couple preferred walk-ons named Connor and Patrick he may be recruiting to my team as well.
Lee selects . . . Marquis Wright (player, 2013-2017)
To me, the top-seven picks were no-brainers. There are a lot of different ways to go from here, and I’ll go with a personal favorite, Marquis Wright. I’ll say it over and over, he is the most underrated and underappreciated Siena player in my 18 years involved with the program.
The record book will never reflect what a tremendous player he was because many of his stats have been vacated. Those who saw him play know. On the court, he finished 10th all-time with 1,546 points despite missing half of his junior season when he was playing like the MAAC Player of the Year before he was injured. It’s reasonable to say he would have finished even higher in all-time scoring had he not gotten hurt that year. He also finished his career third in assists and fifth in steals.
Deceptively strong for his size, Wright was an explosive athlete, often crossing midcourt with a full head of steam and then attacking downhill to feed a teammate or finishing acrobatically at the rim.
It’s a guard-oriented game, and my backcourt of Biz and Quis is the best in this league!
MacAdam selects . . . Mike Deane (coach, 1986-1994)
Lee unleashes a full-court press in the first half with his coaching pick, so I called the quick timeout and made some adjustments.
Deane put Siena on the postseason map in eight seasons from 1986-94, during which his teams were 166-77 (.683). Most notably, Deane’s No. 14-seeded Siena team stunned No. 3 Stanford 80-78 in Greensboro in the first round of the 1989 NCAA tournament, on two free throws by Marc Brown with three seconds left.
Under Deane, Siena also reached the NIT in 1988, and were moments away from the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden in 1991, but Tony Barbee of UMass made a buzzer-beating 3 to send their quarterfinal game to overtime, and the Minutemen prevailed 82-80.
Siena finally did get to the Garden in 1994 behind a transcendent performance from guard Doremus Bennerman. Siena knocked off Georgia Tech and Travis Best and James Forrest in the first round, then defeated Tulane and Bradley before losing to Kerry Kittles-led Villanova in the semis at the Garden. Bennerman dropped 51 on Kansas State as Deane’s team rolled in the third-place game.
Fenlon selects . . . Jalen Pickett (player, 2018-active)
With all these coaches being picked, I need to grab someone who is a coaching nightmare to go up against.
A soon-to-be-Siena legend, Pickett plays with a high basketball IQ, passion for the game, and never gives the defense any easy possessions. He has a team-first mentality, and loves to see his teammates succeed. He has not only been named both MAAC Rookie of the Year and MAAC Player of the Year, but he was also the first player in Siena history to be named the ECAC Rookie of the Year.
Accolades will keep coming in for Jalen, as he thankfully still has two more seasons in the green and gold. He has scored in double figures for 49 of his 60 games at Siena, as well as set Siena freshmen records for both scoring (521) and steals (66), while also achieving the fourth-highest single-season assist total overall (221) in school history. He had the second highest single-game point total in program history (46), as well as 13 assists in that triple-overtime game as a freshman.
Who would want to guard a backcourt of Ronald Moore and Jalen Pickett for 40 minutes a night?
Kelly selects . . . Marcus Faison (player, 1996-2000)
Here is my most underrated player in Siena’s program history.
Faison ends up as the No. 12 pick in this draft, and Faison is the lone Siena player to earn three All-MAAC first-team selections. (Marc Brown, it should be noted, was a two-time All-MAAC first-team selection, plus had a first-team selection in the NAC).
Faison is one of two Saints during the program’s Division I era to lead the team in scoring in three consecutive seasons. Doremus Bennerman — my first pick — is the only other Siena player to earn that distinction. Overall, Faison is the No. 6 all-time leading scorer in program history with 1,697 points.
Kelly selects . . . Paul Hewitt (coach, 1997-2000)
He only spent three seasons in Loudonville, but his uptempo style of play produced the best winning percentage for any coach in Siena’s program history that coached more than 10 games.
Hewitt’s clubs finished 66-27, and made trips to the NCAA tournament and NIT. He inherited a program that had finished 9-18 during the 1996-97 season, and led the Saints to a 17-12 mark in his first season. Two 20-win seasons followed before he left the Saints to head to Georgia Tech, but the foundation Hewitt had built in Loudonville carried over into the 2000-01 season when Siena produced another 20-win season after his departure.
Fenlon selects . . . Dwayne Archbold (player, 1998-2002)
No. 8 on the all-time scoring list and No. 17 in rebounds, Archbold was an explosive offensive player who really liked to mix it up down low for rebounds, and had an excellent long range shot.
Most Siena fans will remember his tremendous senior year when he was an All-MAAC first-team selection, and put on a show in the 2002 MAAC tournament in erupting for the tournament scoring record of 111 points in four games, as the tournament MVP led the seventh-seeded Saints to a championship.
MacAdam selects . . . Jeff Robinson (player, 1986-1990)
Talk about versatility: Robinson ranked second on the team in rebounding average and total assists all four years at Siena except one, his senior season in 1989-90, when he was second in assists and third in rebounding.
And, yes, of course the La Salle Institute graduate from Troy could score. He checks in at No. 7 all-time, with 1,657 points, averaging 19.8 ppg as a junior to lead the team during that glorious 1988-89 season, when he was named North Atlantic Conference Player of the Year.
He had 20 points in the upset of Stanford in the NCAA tournament and 23 more in the subsequent loss to Minnesota, hitting six 3-pointers in each game. His 3-point percentage in those two games (48%, on 12-for-25) was actually slightly higher than his ridiculous 47.1% (73-for-155) for the entire season.
Lee selects . . . Scott Knapp (player, 1997-2001)
The modern game is all about the 3-point shot and who better to add to my squad than Siena’s undisputed greatest 3-point shooter ever.
Despite the explosion in shots attempted from distance since his graduation in 2001, Knapp remains the runaway leader in made 3s with 293 (second is Tay Fisher with 229). He made better than 40% of his shots for his career from beyond the arc.
In addition, Knapp ranks 15th overall in scoring and eighth in assists. With playmakers like Brown and Wright setting him up for open looks, “tees for threes” will be raining into the crowd courtesy of “Shot” Knapp.
Lee selects . . . Michael Haddix (player, 2002-2007)
I need a man in the middle for my team of guards. We’ll go with a consistent post presence in Haddix, who averaged at least 13 points per game all four years he played and ranks ninth all-time with 1,594 points despite missing 18 games his junior year. Haddix and Alex Franklin are the only two players in school history in the top 10 in points and rebounds.
In his three healthy seasons, he was named MAAC All-Rookie, a second-team selection and a first-team selection. The lefty had a soft touch around the rim and utilized great footwork for a player his size.
With the best player, best coach, best shooter and now bulk inside, I can’t wait to see which one of you guys finishes second!
MacAdam selects . . . Matt Brady (player, 1983-1987)
Robert’s team also has the best premature self-congratulation in the draft, which … is saying something.
I needed a point guard, so why not the fourth all-time leader in total assists who is also tied for third-best in assists per game. Brady is also a 1,000-point scorer who will knock down a free throw (78.6%).
Bonus: I get a coach on the floor, which will really come in handy when Mike Deane’s seatbelt breaks and he gets tossed by the refs.
Fenlon selects . . . O.D. Anosike (2009-2013)
When you have the all-time leading rebounder in Ryan Rossiter already on your team, and you have the chance to get the guy who sits one spot behind him, you do it.
Anosike is a guy with a great basketball IQ and really knows how to use his offensive moves to his advantage in the low post. O.D. finished his time in the green and gold as the 25th all-time scorer while leading the team in points and rebounds his junior and senior seasons. He achieved a lot of accolades, such as being the back-to-back NCAA rebounding leader, holding two of the top six rebounding averages for a single season at Siena and being named to the All-MAAC first team among other distinctions. He once recorded 17 straight double-doubles, which still sits as a Siena record.
My guard-filled lineup will love playing with Siena’s best-ever rebounders, and won’t have to worry about following their own shot on this team.
Kelly selects . . . Lee Matthews (player, 1989-1993)
Tremendous value here in the fifth round, taking with the round’s final pick one of Siena’s few players to record 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds during his career.
Matthews led Siena in rebounding during each of his four seasons. A 6-foot-7 forward, Matthews produced one of the best individual seasons in program history as a senior when he averaged 16.6 points, 10.8 rebounds per game, 1.3 blocks and one steal per game, and made 60.9% of his shots.
Matthews was an All-MAAC first-team selection as a senior after earning second-team status as a junior.
Kelly selects . . . Manny Camper (player, 2017-active)
Considered, oh, seven players at this spot, and realize we’re going to be able to put together a squad capable of winning a MAAC championship from the players not selected in our draft.
I’m comfortable with picking Camper based on his current credentials, but this pick is also about trying to steal some future value. Assuming Camper plays his senior season at Siena — he’s currently testing the NBA draft waters — he has a chance to join a small group of Siena players that averaged both 10 points and 10 rebounds per game in multiple seasons. Currently, that lists reads as only including O.D. Anosike, Lee Matthews, Nelson Richardson and Ryan Rossiter.
Camper was an All-MAAC first-team selection as a junior. If he repeats earning that honor as a senior, he’ll become the eighth Siena player to achieve multiple All-MAAC first-team selections.
Fenlon selects . . . Carmen Maciariello (coach, 2019-active)
For my coaching pick, I will go with the newest guy on the block . . . Carmen Maciariello (Note: Read this with Scott Noel’s voice and emphasis playing in your head).
Carm looks for his teams to give 40 minutes of the heart and passion he exudes from the sidelines. He just completed his first season at the helm, and led the Saints to a MAAC regular-season championship and a 14-0 home record. He had his team at peak performance at just the right time, closing out the season with a 10-game winning streak. He was recently named as one of the top 12 most successful hires of the 2019 season by CBS Sports, and I think most Saints fans would agree with this honor.
Carm always preaches how grateful he is to be back at his alma mater, and I know that my team will be grateful to have him as their coach.
Worst case? If my three-guard lineup doesn’t work out, he can sub in from the sidelines at any time.
MacAdam selects . . . Steve McCoy (player, 1985-1989)
I need a big man who can rebound, so the Michelin Man (Mike Deane’s nickname for him) is my fifth wheel, a 1,334-point scorer who is No. 5 all-time in rebounding and led Siena in that category in all four of his seasons.
McCoy is also responsible for the Siena moment that most closely resembles the Lorenzo Charles-Dereck Whittenburg buzzer-beater that gave N.C. State the 1983 national championship over Houston’s Phi Slama Jama. It came under bizarre, no-spectator circumstances that everyone can appreciate these days, the 10th straight game Siena played with no fans because of an on-campus measles quarantine in 1989.
Tom Huerter missed a potential game-winning jumper, but McCoy was there to inhale the rebound and put it back in at the buzzer to give Siena a 68-67 victory over Boston University in the North Atlantic Conference tournament championship game at the Hartford Civic Center. The game was broadcast on ESPN, and sent Siena to its legendary NCAA tournament game against Stanford.
Fun Fact: Not long after that season was over, the graduated McCoy was picked in the CBA draft by the Albany Patroons in the ninth round. I called him up for reaction, which was something to the effect of, “Well, that’s flattering, but I’m not playing in the CBA. I’ve got a good job in Boston.”
Lee selects . . . Brett Bisping (player, 2012-2017)
Traditionally, the last pick is Mr. Irrelevant, but Bisping is anything but that. What he is, though, is a steal with the final pick.
Do you know how many Siena players have scored 1,500 points and grabbed 1,000 rebounds? One. Brett Bisping.
He ranked 10th all-time in scoring and fourth in rebounding before some of his stats were vacated. The Illinois native led the team in rebounding in three seasons, and was a first-team all-conference selection as a junior and a second-team selection as a senior.
My team’s games, of course, will be called by myself and Tom Huerter, class of 1991 — a duo that is still one of the top-11 broadcast teams in the MAAC!
— — —
Team Fenlon: O.D. Anosike, Dwayne Archbold, Ronald Moore, Jalen Pickett, Ryan Rossiter and coach Carmen Maciariello
Team Kelly: Doremus Bennerman, Manny Camper, Marcus Faison, Alex Franklin, Lee Matthews and coach Paul Hewitt
Team Lee: Brett Bisping, Marc Brown, Michael Haddix, Scott Knapp, Marquis Wright, and coach Fran McCaffery
Team MacAdam: Matt Brady, Kenny Hasbrouck, Steve McCoy, Jeff Robinson, Edwin Ubiles and coach Mike Deane