There will be some great basketball players on the court Saturday night when Siena plays the University at Albany at Times Union Center.
Now imagine if those team’s all-time best gathered at center court for the opening tip.
With the annual Albany Cup game just days away, how about a fantasy game between the historical greats from the Capital Region’s two Division I hoops programs?
Who do ya got?
The annual heated matchup between the teams goes back to Jan. 5, 1940. The Saints lead 33-22, but the series was dormant for a while, when Siena upgraded to Division I in 1976-77. The area bragging rights clash returned in 2001-02 with a 60-48 Siena victory. The Great Danes have won the last three games, including 77-68 last year.
Siena has been at the Division I level for much longer, and its historical advantage in talent depth is huge. All-timers such as Gary Holle, Ronald Moore, Fred Shear (he of the Times Union Center banner), Jeff Robinson, Marcus Faison, Michael Haddix, Rob Poole and many others could be starting for their crosstown rivals in this mythical game, but aren’t even on the Saints’ bench.
Keep in mind that the emphasis with these rosters is on Division I players, although there are Division III players included. Siena has been to the NCAA tournament six times; the Great Danes have made five trips.
The current Saints and Great Danes square off at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Times Union Center. We’ll see how the real game plays out.
How would a hypothetical one go? Here are your rosters:
Guard — Marc Brown, 1991. The program’s all-time leading scorer (2,284) and second-leading playmaker (796 assists), “Showbiz” led team to it’s first NCAA tournament appearance.
Guard — Kenny Hasbrouck, 2009. Fourth all-time in scoring (1,917) and first in steals (248), Hasbrouck was the transcendent leader who sparked the revitalization of the program in the 2000s.
Forward — Alex Franklin, 2010. An undersized force in the paint, Franklin is Siena’s fifth all-time leading scorer (1,730) who also grabbed 730 rebounds.
Forward — Edwin Ubiles, 2010. The silky swingman is the program’s third all-time leading scorer (1,939), and the first Siena player to play in a regular-season NBA game.
Center — Ryan Rossiter, 2011. Rossiter transformed himself from a skinny freshman into an indomitable terror as a senior, finishing as Siena’s 11th all-time leading scorer (1,457) and No. 1 rebounder (1,151).
Bench — Doremus Bennerman: Second all-time leading scorer with 2,109 points; Billy Harrell: At 6-foot-1, one of the greatest rebounders in team history. He also played Major League Baseball; O.D. Anosike: Two-time NCAA rebounding leader.
Coaching staff — Head coach: Fran McCaffery, 2010. Now at Iowa, McCaffery built Siena into a mid-major power, posting a 112-51 record and three straight NCAA tournament appearances. Assistants: Mike Deane, 1994. Deane posted a 166-77 record, and led Siena to its first NCAA tournament berth; Bill Kirsch, 1982. Coached 10 seasons in Loudonville, compiling a 142-111 record.
Guard — Jamar Wilson, 2007. The most electric player ever to wear purple and gold, he is the program’s all-time leading scorer (2,164) and is second in assists (488).
Guard — Mike Black, 2013. Another backcourt blur, Black finished fifth all-time in scoring (1,542) and sixth in assists (383).
Forward — Brent Wilson, 2008. A post player who could pop, Wilson is third all-time in three-pointers made (229).
Forward — Peter Hooley, 2016. Hooley is the two-time MVP of America East Conference tournament, a three-time captain and the author of one of the most famous plays in Capital Region sports history: his 3-pointer at the buzzer to win the America East last season.
Center — Sam Rowley, 2015. A significant factor inside, Rowley finished sixth all-time in program history in rebounding (756), and 10th in steals (127).
Bench — Jason Siggers, 2007: Siggers was one of top shooters in team’s Division I history despite playing only two seasons; Gary Holway, 1959: The lone Division III representative, Holway is second all-time in scoring (1,851 points) and rebounding (1,225); Todd Cetnar, 2000: The local product (Amsterdam) was UA’s first great Division I player, and remains second in steals (188), seventh in assists (367) and fourth in free-throw shooting (.816).
Coaching staff — Head coach: Richard “Doc” Sauers (1997). With a 702-330 record in 41 seasons, Sauers was the face of UAlbany hoops throughout the D-III years. Assistant: Will Brown, current. In 15 seasons uptown, Brown is 221-218 with five NCAA tournament appearances.
Siena jumps out early and runs out to a 40-28 lead at the half. The Great Danes climb back behind Jamar Wilson’s 31 points, but the Saints’ dominating rebounding takes its toll on UAlbany.
“Showbiz” Brown pops in 26 points, Bennerman drains four 3-pointers, while Rossiter and Anosike grab 13 and 11 rebounds, respectively for Siena.
Let’s call this one for the Saints, 82-71. Maybe the Great Danes will steal the rematch next year at SEFCU Arena.