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Siena men's basketball moves forward after Seymour's departure

Siena men's basketball moves forward after Seymour's departure

'Guys are understanding the pace we want to play with'
Siena men's basketball moves forward after Seymour's departure
Carmen Maciariello is shown during a game last season.
Photographer: Erica Miller

LOUDONVILLE — It was a loss, and a significant one.

It was one, too, that offered more clarity as to how the Siena College men’s basketball program will play during the 2019-20 season.

“The best teams in our league have three guys on the floor that get to the rim,” Siena head coach Carmen Maciariello said Monday, a few days after sophomore forward Sloan Seymour announced his decision to transfer from the program. “Some have four.”

Siena wants to be one of those teams with three or four playmakers on the floor at all times. While Siena was already headed toward more of a positionless offensive system focused around featuring multiple playmakers, Seymour’s departure seemingly will accelerate that change. Seymour started 32 games last season, and provided points and spacing for the Saints with his shooting touch from 3-point range. The Shaker High School product made 37.3% of his 252 3-point attempts and averaged 9.1 points per game on his way to becoming a MAAC All-Rookie selection during Jamion Christian’s one season leading the Saints.

But how well Seymour was going to fit in with the Maciariello-led Saints had been a question since Siena promoted Maciariello in March from his position as an assistant coach following Christian’s move to George Washington. Siena played a half-court style last season conducive to Seymour’s strengths as a stretch 4, and Maciariello has been vocal about wanting next season’s Saints to play faster and with a greater emphasis on attacking the rim.

As a freshman, the 6-foot-9 Seymour only took 18 shots from 2-point range and three free throws. Maciariello and Seymour — who didn’t respond Monday to a request for comment — both previously acknowledged that the player needed to diversify his game this offseason, and Seymour took steps to add weight to his frame and become a more active rebounder.

The fourth week of the Saints’ formal summer workouts, though, ended with Seymour meeting with Maciariello to inform the coach he was leaving the program. Maciariello said Seymour was active with the Saints through last Thursday, a day before Seymour tweeted that he intended to transfer.

“He and his family thought it was best if they went in a different direction. . . . I wish Sloan the best,” Maciariello said. “He comes from a great family, and I wish him all the best.”

Without Seymour, Siena has two open scholarships for next season — and how the Saints appear to want to use one of those scholarships further illustrates how Siena wants to play during the Maciariello era. With guards Donald Carey and Jalen Pickett already projected to play major minutes next season, Siena is reportedly interested in Cleveland State transfer Rasheem Dunn. ESPN’s Jeff Borzello tweeted Monday that Dunn — a 6-foot-2 guard who is widely expected to be immediately eligible to play — will visit Siena on Tuesday, but also plans to visit Arkansas, New Mexico and St. John’s. Before sitting out last season at Cleveland State, Dunn averaged 15.4 points per game as a sophomore at St. Francis Brooklyn.

Regardless of how Dunn’s recruitment finishes, Siena becomes a team more likely to feature guard-heavy, athletic lineups with the loss of Seymour. On Siena’s current roster, 10 of the team’s 15 players are listed as either a guard or a guard/forward.

Last season, Seymour and then-redshirt senior Kevin Degnan regularly manned Siena's 3 and 4 offensive spots, which were positions that called for strong spot-up shooters. Next season, Maciariello mentioned players such as 6-foot-6 freshman Gary Harris and 6-foot-7 junior Manny Camper as “big guards” that will be encouraged to push the ball themselves after collecting defensive rebounds when seeing time at those 3 and 4 positions.

“Guys are understanding the pace we want to play with. Guys are understanding that our communication needs to be at a high level,” Maciariello said. “It’s more about spacing the floor and reading the ball.”

Maciariello expressed confidence in the way the Saints have grown this offseason.

“We have a great group of guys working toward playing hard-nosed, tough, positionless basketball,” Maciariello said.

Reach Michael Kelly at [email protected] or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter.

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