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Siena men's basketball picked 6th in MAAC

Siena men's basketball picked 6th in MAAC

Pickett named preseason player of the year
Siena men's basketball picked 6th in MAAC
Jalen Pickett takes a shot during a recent practice.
Photographer: Erica Miller

​When the men’s basketball coaches’ poll was revealed Tuesday night as part of the MAAC Basketball Preseason Awards Show, Siena found itself predicted to finish right in the middle of the conference.

That ranking of sixth came as somewhat of a surprise. The Saints finished last regular season as part of a four-way tie for second place, then advanced to the MAAC semifinals, and are generally viewed as bringing a stronger team into the 2019-20 season.

“It doesn't matter to me. I don't worry about it,” Siena head coach Carmen Maciariello said in a phone interview. “We haven't done anything yet, so sixth is fine."

As expected, four-time defending league champion Iona was picked to finish in first place. Meanwhile, Siena sophomore Jalen Pickett — on his 20th birthday — was recognized as the conference’s preseason player of the year and a preseason first-team all-conference pick.

“It’s a great individual honor,” Maciariello said. “I know Jalen, though, would rather win a MAAC championship than be preseason player of the year, or even regular-season player of the year.”

As a freshman, Pickett averaged 15.8 points, 6.7 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game on his way to earning MAAC Rookie of the Year and a first-team all-conference spot. Pickett set program records for freshman scoring (521) and steals (66).

Pickett was the lone Siena player selected to one of the league’s preseason all-conference teams. Joining Pickett on the first team were Iona’s E.J. Crawford and Tajuan Agee, Rider’s Stevie Jordan and Quinnipiac’s Rich Kelly.

Crawford, though, was the lone unanimous first-team selection. At least one MAAC coach did not include Pickett on the first team.

"That's comical," Maciariello tweeted in response to Pickett not earning a first-team vote from each possible MAAC coach.

In between Iona and Siena in the preseason poll, in order, were Rider, Quinnipiac, Monmouth and Manhattan. Following Siena, in order, were Canisius, Marist, Saint Peter’s, Niagara and Fairfield.

Maciariello said he wouldn’t expect to use the preseason poll’s results as motivation for his team.

“None of this means anything,” Maciariello said.

The first-year head coach who was an assistant coach for last year’s 17-16 team said he understood why other coaches might pick Siena to finish in the middle of the conference.

“Obviously,” Maciariello said, “there’s a lot of unproven things with us and I’m an unproven head coach.”

Last season, Siena was picked to finish last in the MAAC preseason poll.

Siena’s 2019-20 season opens Nov. 5 vs. American.

SIENA WOMEN PICKED 10TH

The Siena women were picked to finish in 10th in the MAAC preseason coaches’ poll.

Marist, last season’s runner-up, was picked to win the MAAC, while three-time defending champion Quinnipiac was selected to take second place.

No Siena players were selected to any of the women’s all-conference teams, while Rider’s Stella Johnson was named the league’s preseason player of the year.

Siena’s season opens Nov. 5 vs. Binghamton.

MAAC MEN’S BASKETBALL PRESEASON COACHES’ POLL

(In parentheses are first-place votes.)

1 - Iona, 119 (10)

2 - Rider, 109 (1)​​

3 - Quinnipiac, 86

4 - Monmouth, 81

5- Manhattan, 79

6- Siena, 78

7- Canisius, 52

8 - Marist, 44

9 - Saint Peter’s, 34

10 - Niagara, 26

11 - Fairfield, 18

MAAC WOMEN’S BASKETBALL PRESEASON COACHES’ POLL

(In parentheses are first-place votes.)

1 - Marist, 119 (9)

2 - Quinnipiac, 104 (2)

3 - Rider, 103

4 - Manhattan, 85

5 - Monmouth, 74

6 - Fairfield, 60

7- Niagara, 53

8 - Canisius, 47

9 - Iona, 35

10- Siena, 33

11 - Saint Peter​'s, 13​​

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