LOUDONVILLE — He’s confident in the improvements he’s made to his game.
Kyle Young, though, wants to let his actions — on and off the court — do the talking in terms of hyping up the strides he’s made heading into his sophomore season with the Siena men’s basketball program.
“I’m just trying to stay humble,” Young said at last week’s media-day event for the Saints. “I’m trying to do my thing, and just build that trust with the coaches.”
Siena officially started its preseason Monday with its first full practice. While the Saints’ non-conference schedule remains a work in progress, Siena is targeting Nov. 25 for its season-opening game, and Young has a chance to work his way into earning a major role ahead of that.
“I’m trying to do things off the floor that give me that advantage,” the 6-foot-9, 240-pound Young said.
“Being early,” Young said. “Doing extra.”
As a freshman, Young didn’t have many on-court opportunities to shine. Along with Sammy Friday — who transferred in the offseason to Eastern Illinois — Young served as a back-up big man to Elijah Burns, who was a second-team all-MAAC selection in his lone season playing at Siena. In his limited time on the court, Young demonstrated he could become a solid rebounder. He averaged 2.5 rebounds in 7.7 minutes per game, as well as 2.9 points on 43.1% shooting.
Where Young took the most from as a freshman, though, was the practice court.
“When you have a leader like Elijah and a veteran like Sam Friday, there’s a lot to learn. I wish I had taken more advantage of it, actually,” Young said. “I tried to do as much as I could with it, but I wish I’d taken even more advantage of it because Elijah is such a great leader on and off the floor.”
Siena announced last week that forwards Harrison Curry and Jackson Stormo — the former a graduate transfer, the latter a junior — received NCAA waivers allowing them to play right away. The addition of Curry and Stormo adds competition for Young for frontcourt minutes in a rotation that senior Manny Camper headlines, and sophomore Gary Harris and junior Dana Tate are likely to be major factors. Meanwhile, freshmen Colin Golson and Bennett Kwiecinski are also capable of putting themselves into the mix for forward minutes.
Young, though, is more of a pure 5 — a designation that likely only Stormo shares among Siena’s scholarship bigs. In the offseason, Young said he worked to expand his game to add a 3-point shot and gain comfort making plays with the pass or dribble from the foul-line area in an effort to become a more versatile option for the Saints.
“I’d like to say that I’m a completely different player from last year,” said Young, who is one of only five scholarship players from last season’s opening-night roster who are back with the Saints this season.
According to multiple reports Monday, no non-conference events will take place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports property in Florida because of complications and concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Weeks ago, Siena pulled out of the Nov. 26-29 Orlando Invitational set to be played at HP Field House at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. If they had played in that tournament, the Saints were likely going to need to quarantine for two weeks upon returning to New York because of Florida’s inclusion on their home state’s travel advisory list.
In all, eight non-conference tournaments were set to take place in the Orlando area.
Siena is expected to play four games in a bubble-like setting at Mohegan Sun Arena to start its non-conference season.
The MAAC announced Monday its preseason awards show for men’s and women’s basketball will take place on Nov. 5.
Coming off a 20-10 season in which it won the MAAC regular-season championship, the Siena men are expected to be the preseason favorite.
Airing on ESPN3, the show will start at 7 p.m.