LOUDONVILLE — As a sixth-year college student, Andrew Platek understands that he’s an elder statesman on the Siena men’s basketball team.
That doesn’t make it any less unnerving for Platek as he realized just how many of his younger teammates watched him play while he was a standout at Guilderland High School — a school he last attended in 2015 — while they’d yet to enter their teenage years.
It made for an interesting point of conversation between Platek and freshman Brendan Coyle
“It is a little weird, because I’m like six years older than Brendan,” Platek said Monday during Siena’s preseason media day. “He said he saw me play my junior year at [MVP Arena]. So, he would’ve been in, like, sixth or seventh grade.
“It’s kind of a ‘makes you feel old’ moment.”
Platek — whose basketball journey took him from Guilderland, to prep school at Northfield Mount Hermon, to the University of North Carolina and then back home to Siena — is one of four players on this year’s Saints roster with Capital Region ties.
The other three are Coyle, fellow freshman Mason Courtney and sophomore Aidan Dagostino. At some point in their high school careers, all four of them played in the Suburban Council.
Throw in head coach Carmen Maciariello, a Shenendehowa High graduate, and that’s enough for a full Suburban Council all-star lineup.
“Who wants to play?” Maciariello said. “We’ve got a starting five.”
Of the four players with area ties, only Courtney came to Siena directly after completing his high school career in the area, graduating from Shenendehowa this past June. Coyle, a Niskayuna native, started his high school career at Colonie High School before moving on to Cushing Academy in Massachusetts, and Dagostino played at both Saratoga Central Catholic and Saratoga Springs High School before playing a post-graduate season at South Kent School in Connecticut.
“Mason’s the only one that stayed, but I think the prep route was good for a lot of people,” Platek said. “And for all of us to come back and have four local kids in one program, we’re very lucky.”
Courtney and Coyle, both of whom joined Siena as preferred walk-ons this season, have vivid memories of watching Platek play in Section II Class AA playoff games at what’s now MVP Arena — the home court all of them will share for Siena this season.
“I definitely saw him a couple times in high school,” Coyle said.
“I remember watching Andrew playing against Shen in sectional final games, and playing at Shen all the time,” Courtney said. “It’s just cool to finally play with him.”
And while this is the first time all three of Siena’s younger Capital Region players will team up, that doesn’t mean they’re strangers on the court.
“I’ve played against Mason and Coyle, and I used to guard Coyle all the time,” Dagostino said. “It’s nice to have everyone back.”
LANE’S PRESENCE A BIG HELP
The old saying about not taking good health for granted is true when it comes to fifth-year center Eduardo Lane.
After two seasons at Marshalltown Community College in Iowa, where he averaged 8 points and 3.6 rebounds while shooting 60 percent from the field, the 6-foot-10, 249-pound Lane went to San Jose State. He started his first seven games in the 2019-20 season, and had an impressive 11-point, six-rebound game against Air Force and an eight-rebound game against UCLA.
But he had been playing with pain in both ankles, and his productivity decreased. He finished the pandemic-shortened season with 3.3 points per game and 2.2 rebounds per game.
“I found out I broke my ankle because I was having pain after the first five games,” Lane said. “We got an MRI and found out that I broke my ankle, and I was compensating on the other ankle. So, basically, in both heels I had surgery for stress injury.”
The surgeries caused Lane to miss two full seasons.
“It was a hard time,” Lane said. “It was two years in the shadows. I’m not going to lie, it was a tough two years. Coming from a starting spot to not playing for two years, I’m glad to be back.”
Lane is not only back, but also providing a valuable service to the Saints in being another big man to help Jackson Stormo, who was second for Siena in scoring last season with 11.1 points per game, and first in rebounding with 6.8 per game.
“His last couple of practices have been the best since he’s been a Saint, and I think you have to credit that to Eduardo Lane, who’s finally healthy coming from San Jose State,” Maciariello said. “Now Jackson gets to go against a bigger body every day in practice and get used to that positional size. We’re going to see that at Georgetown, at Florida State, and we’re going to see that in the MAAC too.”
“I’m slowly getting better. Right now is the best I’ve felt in the last four years,” Lane said.
Stormo acknowledged that having Lane around is a bonus.
“Having Eduardo helps out so much,” Storm said. “His physicality in practice, making sure we can really battle in practice is so helpful this time of the year when you’re trying to ramp up to game shape and really prepare for a long season. He’s also a really great guy in the locker room and I love having him around.”
Lane, who graduated from San Jose State with a degree in communications and is taking American studies courses this year, wants to do the best he can in his one year with the Saints.
“I only have one more year of eligibility,” he said. “I believe I could play two more because I haven’t played the last two years, but this is my sixth year. I started when I was 17 and now I’m 23. I don’t plan on [playing] another year.”
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