Platek to make home debut Monday for Siena men’s basketball against Harvard

Andrew Platek, right, made his Siena debut last Friday at Georgetown. (Chris Bernacchi/Siena Athletics)

Andrew Platek, right, made his Siena debut last Friday at Georgetown. (Chris Bernacchi/Siena Athletics)

In his debut performance, Andrew Platek demonstrated what he’s able to add to the Siena men’s basketball program.

A 6-foot-4 perimeter player, Platek — after playing the last four seasons at North Carolina — gives the Saints a strong defensive player with a well-rounded offensive game, someone capable of playing 30-plus minutes, perhaps as soon as in Monday’s 7 p.m. home game in Albany against Harvard. 

Adding a player like that to Siena’s roster — which the Saints officially did a few hours before Friday’s game — gives head coach Carmen Maciariello’s team a much-needed boost as it tries to recover from its 0-4 start to the season.

“I think we’re going to be deep. I think we’re going to be able to pressure the ball,” Maciariello said after the Saints’ loss Friday at Georgetown, a game that saw Platek — a former Guilderland High School star — score a dozen points in 24 minutes. “I think we’re going to be able to defend, rebound and run — and I’m really excited for the progress that we can continue to show.”

Siena certainly needed help after three consecutive losses by 20-or-more points to start its season. While Platek was a modest contributor previously in his college career, that was when playing for an ACC program — and, even against a Big East opponent last Friday, the fifth-year player showed how his game could expand playing for a MAAC squad.

Platek is a strong on-ball defender, and his smarts and savvy make him a valuable team defender. Offensively, Platek showed Friday that he’s capable of creating off the dribble and able to get his own shot; he teamed with Siena center Jackson Stormo in a solid-looking pick-and-roll combination several times against Georgetown, and Platek took a career-high 15 field-goal attempts after only attempting double-digit shots in two games during his Tar Heels career.

Steve Dagostino, the former Guilderland and Saint Rose star who now trains basketball players of all levels in the Capital Region, has worked with Platek for several years. While it’ll likely take Platek some time to play up to his full potential at Siena, Dagostino said he has no doubts that Platek will be an “impact player” for the Saints this season. Dagostino sees Platek’s defensive ability translating immediately for the Saints, but that the player’s offensive output will increase as he gains more familiarity within Siena’s system and with his new teammates.

“He’s going to be able to score and make shots. He’s going to draw attention from opposing defenses,” Dagostino said. “He’s going to draw multiple defenders . . . and he’s going to get other people touches.”

Above how his offensive skills translate to the mid-major level, Dagostino said what should help Platek the most in his transition to his new team — which he started practicing with on Oct. 27 — is that he’s someone “who is super-competitive, who loves to win and got on the floor at Carolina because he could guard people.”

Maciariello said that the pride Platek plays with on the court, and his familiarity with the Siena program, made him an ideal roster addition for the Saints.

“He understands that there is pressure to win and there is pressure to produce,” Maciariello said, “but, in the same vein, that it’s a privilege.”

ON THE GLASS

Stormo had a career-best game with 25 points and 11 rebounds against Georgetown, but his effort wasn’t the only thing that went well for the Saints in close to the basket.

Against Georgetown, a team with more height and athleticism than the Saints, Siena out-rebounded its first opponent of the season — a welcome sight for a team that was largely out-hustled in its opening three games. Siena had 35 rebounds to Georgetown’s 29.

“We emphasized five people on the glass on defense and three on offense,” Stormo said, “and I think we did our best job so far of handling that part of the game.”

Besides Stormo’s 11 rebounds, Siena received three-plus rebounds from four other players. While Siena did a solid job on its defensive glass, securing 80% of such rebounds, the Saints also were great on the offensive glass. Siena secured 38.5% of rebounds on Georgetown’s defensive end.

SCOUTING HARVARD

Harvard is 3-1 on the season, but two of its wins this season have come against non-Division I opponents. Harvard’s only win against a Division I opponent this season was last week at UAlbany, while the Crimson lost a few days before that in overtime at Iona.

Two players have carried Harvard so far this season. Noah Kirkwood has averaged 18.5 points and 5.8 rebounds this season, while Chris Ledlum has averaged 18.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.

INJURY UPDATE

Maciariello said this weekend that the Saints could be without several players against Harvard.

Taihland Owens and Jordan Kellier are not expected to make their season debuts against the Crimson, while Jared Billups and Aidan Carpenter are day-to-day after sustaining injuries last week.

Carpenter hurt his groin during Siena’s loss to Yale, then didn’t play against Georgetown. Billups hurt his hip late in the game against Georgetown and missed the final several minutes of action.

Categories: College Sports, Sports

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