Men’s basketball head coaches Will Brown and Jimmy Patsos each hit the radio airwaves Monday morning on the stations that broadcast their respective program’s games to try to ease tensions ahead of this Sunday’s showdown.
Were they successful? Well, maybe — but there’s still several days to go before the latest installment of the Albany Cup.
“I like Jimmy. He’s a good dude,” UAlbany’s Brown said during an appearance on ESPN Radio 104.5 The Team’s “Big Board Sports” show. “But you need to be careful with what you say.”
Meanwhile, Siena’s Patsos seemed to suggest during his appearance on Talk 1300 AM on The Paul Vandenburgh Show that his comments in recent weeks related to UAlbany and the future of the Albany Cup series had been taken too seriously — in particular his remarks about Siena’s first-ever trip to SEFCU Arena doubling as its last.
“I actually think it’s kind of cool to go over there, but I don’t set policy,” Patsos said. “Do you understand that? In other words, they’re acting like I set [policy]. I’m the basketball coach at Siena. I’m not the president of Siena. I’m not the athletic director. . . . And in all seriousness, and [Brown] can say what he wants to . . . [but] there’s a lot more serious issues in life going on out there.”
Patsos later added his preference is for the Albany Cup to continue to be played beyond next season’s game, when the current three-year deal between the schools concludes.
“I don’t want to see it go away,” he said.
But Brown has taken issue in the past couple weeks with comments Patsos made besides the ones about this season’s Albany Cup game moving for the first time to SEFCU Arena before returning to Times Union Center next season. Brown neither liked the digs at UAlbany playing a Division III school last week nor a perceived slight from when Patsos commented about the makeup of the Great Danes’ roster including several junior college transfers.
“If you want to do comedy, we’ve got some great spots in the Albany area — the Palace Theatre, Proctors, all that stuff. Go do it,” Brown said. “Like I said, if he wants to poke fun at me a little bit and all that stuff for whatever reason, that’s good.”
He later added: “I just don’t like the smart remarks. If I had his team, all I would do is talk about his team because he has a tremendous, tremendous team. That team should be favored in every game this year, minus the Kansas game. That’s how good I think they are.”
The two coaches are both scheduled to appear today at Stuyvesant Plaza as part of the shopping center’s annual holiday tree lighting ceremony.
“So [that] should be interesting, but, from my end, I like Jimmy and I don’t want anybody to think otherwise,” said Brown, a sentiment Patsos also shared about Brown.
But between the men’s basketball coaches and programs at UAlbany and Siena, there’s always going to be at least some competitive tension. That’s natural for any set of rivals within a geographic proximity to one another.
“You know, I’ve said this before: We’re the Yankees and they’re the Mets,” Patsos said. “I didn’t make that up, that’s just kind of how it goes.”