Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sharp, Pheonix Keep Kean Going Strong

Good coaches from the MAAC usually don't struggle to find employment, even after being dismissed by a conference program.

Longtime fans of Manhattan will remember women's coach Michelle Sharp, who coached the Jaspers for six seasons including one in which the program won a conference title (one of four won by the Manhattan women) and advanced to the NCAA tournament.

But after that 1996-97 season's 19-11 record and NCAA berth, Sparp's next two teams were 8-19 and 13-18 and she was dismissed with a six-year record of 66-104.

Manhattan hasn't exactly been a dominant women's team since, with an overall 163-189 record since Sharp's departure.

But, Sharp is doing pretty well not far from her former school. She is entering her 12th season at Kean University, a Division III-level program in Union, N.J., that plays in the competitive New Jersey Athletic Conference.

Sharp has done a nice rebuilding job there for a program that struggled before her arrival. She has a 212-121 record with Kean, taking that program to four Division III NCAA tournaments. Last year's team finished with a school-record 29 victories, getting all 29 in a row after a season-opening loss. Its only other loss was at the Elite Eight level of the NCAA tournament.

Sharp has twice been the NJAC's Coach of the Year.

Sharp isn't the only Manhattan connection at Kean.

Former Jaspers' men's standout Justin Phoenix is one of Sharp's assistant coaches. Phoenix is entering his fourth year in the program.

Phoenix played at Manhattan from 1992-93 through 1995-96. His teams went to two NCAA tournaments (1993, 1995) and one NIT (1994).

After finishing his collegiate career, Phoenix spent several seasons abroad playing in several club teams in Europe from 1996 to 2006. More recently he switched from playing to coaching at several camps and clinics with a stint at Burlington County College as a men's assistant coach for a season before joining the women's staff at Kean.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rossiter Leads Men's All-Star Picks

Here’s the result of the coaches’ preseason picks for all-conference men’s teams:


Ryan Rossiter, 6-9 senior center, Siena; Derek Needham, 5-10 sophomore guard, Fairfield; Scott Machado, 5-11 junior guard, Iona; Wesley Jenkins, 6-2 senior guard, Saint Peter’s; Clarence Jackson, 6-3 senior guard, Siena.


Nick Leon, 5-11 senior guard, Saint Peter’s; Ryan Bacon, 6-7 senior forward, Saint Peter’s; Jamal Barney, 6-3 senior guard, Loyola; Mike Ringold, 6-7 junior forward, Rider; Justin Robinson, 6-0 senior guard, Rider; Julius Coles, 6-5 senior forward, Canisius.


Anthony Nelson, 6-1 senior guard, Niagara; Alejo Rodriguez, 6-8 senior forward, Iona; Yorel Hawkins, 6-5 senior forward, Fairfield; Greg Loggins, 6-7 senior forward, Canisius; Novar Gadson, 6-7 junior forward, Rider.


That honor went to Siena's 6-9 senior center Ryan Rossiter, who had 22 double-doubles last season.

SOME THOUGHTS: Rossiter received seven of the coaches’ votes as the preseason’s top player to three for Needham. Your blogger, in a preview done for The Sporting News, went the other way in naming Needham as the conference’s top player. But, it’s one or the other. If someone wants to argue that Rossiter deserves the preseason honor, I won’t mount much of a debate. Rossiter is clearly the MAAC’s best big man right now, was a double-double machine last season and will likely need to even contribute more this season. Needham, though, is a rare talent the likes of which this conference doesn’t often see. He ranks with the top guards your blogger has seen since the mid-1980s,, in no particular order, Marc Brown, Doremus Bennerman, Randy Woods, Doug Overton, Keydren Clark, Luis Flores, Jerry Jones, and Jared Jordan. That's a small and elite group, and Needham fits right in.

Otherwise, not much to argue, just a couple of nit-picks. Early reports are that Iona’s Dion Glover will have an impact, as will Loyola's Erik Etherly, a transfer from Northeastern.

If you’re looking for some players who could easily crack the top three teams for post-season honors, which is really the only balloting that is truly meaningful … if Fairfield’s senior forward Greg Nero is healthy he’s most certainly an all-league performer. If Hawkins, another Fairfield performer, picks up where he left off before a mid-season injury a year ago, he’ll also contend for a higher all-star designation. And, your blogger will agree with the coaches that both Etherly and Glover will emerge as two of the better players in the conference.

Fairfield No. 1 in Men's Preseason Poll

Here’s the men’s predicted order of finish, from a preseason vote of conference coaches. And, remember, these selections were made in late August.

1) Fairfield
2) Siena
3) Saint Peter’s
4) Iona
5) Rider
6) Loyola
7) Canisius
8) Niagara
9) Manhattan
10) Marist

SOME THOUGHTS: Fairfield got six of 10 possible first-place votes, Siena got three and Saint Peter’s one.

Again, remember, these picks were made even before preseason conditioning drills were held, which means before Peacocks’ standout Wesley Jenkins suffered a knee injury. Jenkins' status won't be fully known for at least another two weeks, according to Peacocks' coach John Dunne. At that point, it should be known whether the senior guard can began preparing for a return, probably by early December, or if he'll require surgery and redshirt for the coming season.

There’s no discounting the Stags as the MAAC’s best team, for now, provided it can stay healthy. Fairfield has the best group of perimeter players in a league where that counts for plenty. However, it looks to be a little thin up front, which means it won’t hold the dominant sway over the league that Siena had for the past three seasons.

It means the conference regular-season chase for a championship will be the traditional proverbial dog fight with the likelihood that any of the top four or five teams will be in title contention down the final weekend of play.

It says here that the coaches made a few mistakes. Saint Peter’s, without Jenkins, probably wouldn’t have been picked as high as third. And your blogger picked Siena to finish fourth in a preseason preview done for The Sporting News’ College Basketball Magazine. My revised prediction has Fairfield on top, followed by Iona, Siena and Saint Peter’s. And, look out for Loyola, which could easily creep into the top four. Your blogger also believes that Niagara won’t finish as low as eighth. The only certainties this year appear to be another last-place finish for inexperienced Marist and a ninth-place finish by a Manhattan team hurt by graduations and defections that will rely heavily on a large group of newcomers.

Allenspach Leads Women's All-Star Picks

Here’s who the coaches picked for the women's preseason all-star teams.


Miriam McKenzie, 5-10 junior guard, Loyola; Lindsey Loutsenhizer, 6-0 junior forward, Manhattan; Erica Allenspach, 5-8 senior guard, Marist; Corielle Yarde, 5-8 junior guard, Marist; Serena Moore, 6-2 senior forward, Siena.


Desiree Pina, 5-8 junior guard, Fairfield; Kristina Ford, 6-1 junior forward, Iona; Anda Ivkovic, 6-1 senior forward, Iona; Liz Flooks, 5-10 senior forward, Niagara; Kayla Stroman, 5-5 sophomore guard, Niagara.


Micayla Drysdale, 5-9 senior guard, Canisius; Taryn Johnson, 5-11 junior forward, Fairfield; Katelyn Linney, 5-8 sophomore guard, Fairfield; Suzi Fregosi, 5-6 senior guard, Iona; Katie Sheahin, 5-10 sophomore guard, Loyola; Caitlin Bopp, 6-2 sophomore center, Rider.

SOME THOUGHTS: No argument about the first team for now, although things could easily change over the next four months. Your blogger has two choices to sneak up and on to the first team for the post-season selections. One is Niagara's standout forward Liz Flooks, one of the best long-range shooters in the conference. The other is Iona's swingperson Anda Ivkovic, who is coming back after a knee injury. If she's healthy she could have a big year.


That honor went to Marist’s Allenspach, although she is clearly not the certain choice for the award that teammate Rachele Fitz had been for the past three years. There appear to be six or seven individuals capable of contending for that individual honor, but the most-likely competitor seems to be the only other senior selected to the preseason first team, Siena’s Serena Moore.

Marist No. 1 in Women's Preseason Poll

College basketball season is almost here, and the MAAC got things rolling with its annual media day Tuesday afternoon at the B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in New York City.

So, without further suspense, we'll pass along preseason polls and all-star teams along with personal observations.

First up, the coaches' poll to predict the order of finish for women. And ... surprise, surprise ... Marist is the unanimous No. 1 pick.

1) Marist
2) Iona
3) Loyola
4) Fairfield
- Manhattan
6) Niagara
7) Canisius
8) Siena
9) Saint Peter’s
10) Rider

SOME THOUGHTS: Despite having lost all-everything forward Rachele Fitz to graduation, Marist is still the clear-cut No. 1, and for good reason. Its backcourt players Erica Allenspach and Corielle Yard are both first-team preseason selections, and Allenspach is the preseason choice as Player of the Year.

Iona is a unanimous choice for second, garnering all 10 second-place votes. After that, there’s a clear delineation in the coaches’ mind. The Gaels got 90 points in voting (9 points for all 10 second-place votes), while third pick Loyola is next with 70 points.

It seems league coaches figure the league is pretty tightly packed from No. 3 to No. 8, whiuch should make for some interesting end-of-season jockeying for position as teams seek to avoid the play-in round of games for those finishing seventh through 10th.

Teams that could surprise? Your blogger’s favorites for programs that could finish higher than predicted are Niagara and Siena.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Thompson, Hasbrouck Are NBA Cuts

The MAAC season isn't far away, but the NBA aspirations of two of the conference's better former players of recent vintage are over for now.

Rider's 6-foot-6 swingman Ryan Thompson and Siena's 6-3 guard Kenny Hasbrouck, were among final cuts by the Utah Jazz and Miami Heat, respectively, this past week.

Thompson played in five preseason games, got one start and averaged 2.6 points and 0.8 rebounds in an average of nine minutes per contest.

The Rider standout, who graduated in 2010, is leaning toward staying with the Jazz organization by playing the its Utah Flash developmental league affiliate, according to a published source.

"I'm used to it out here," Thompson told the Trentonian recently. "I havent' made a final decision, but I talked to my agent. I'm going to stay out here and work out, and we'll go from there."

Thompson was one of four players waived before this past Thursday's practice, reducing the number of players in the Jazz's camp from 17 to the league-mandated 13.

Thompson, a two-time first-team all-MAAC selection who finished fourth on the Broncs' career scoring list, said that he was weighing his options and could end up with another NBA team. But he decided his best option may be with the Utah organization, which could call him up in the event of an injury or another roster move.

Jazz coach Jerry Sloan told the Deseret News earlier Thursday that he had been impressed with Thompson.

"If you'd been here and seen those guys (Thompson, and the three others involved in the team's final cuts0 practice every day and the work that they put in and then you watch them play when they got in the games, they didn't fade away," Sloan said. "They kept playing hard. They kept working hard. Hopefully they get a chance to play again."

Hasbrouck, who was with the Heat for a portion of last season but never appeared in a regular-season game, was cut by the team this past Wednesday.

"I'm not really surprised," Hasbrouck told the Albany Times Union.

Hasbrouck played in five preseason games for the Heat, averaging 4.6 points, 3.0 assists and 1.4 rebounds in 24.1 minutes per contest.

Hasbrouck started one preseason game, playing 41 minutes and shooting 1-for-11 from the field with five turnovers and seven assists in a 90-76 loss to the Hornets.

In the exhibition season, Hasbrouck made just nine of 41 shots from the field, including 1-of-15 from three-point territory.

"You know, of course I was frustrated when I first found out," Hasbrouck said. "There were things that happened in games and practices ... so, I knew it was coming. This is a business and it's all about money."

Hasbrouck said he hasn't given up on the NBA. He said there are teams (although he did not reveal which ones) that have shown some interest. He also said there could be a deal to play overseas.

For the immediate future, though, he said he is coming to the New York's Capital Region.

"Basically, it's my new home," said Hasbrouck. "I've been there so often and I have really gotten accustomed to Albany. I want to see some of my former (Siena) teammates and some old faces."

Before leaving the Heat practice facility, Hasbrouck said he was given encouragement by the coaching staff and the Heat players.

"He (Heat coach Eric Spoelstra) said I have the capabilities to play in the NBA," Hasbrouck said. "He thanked me for the time I gave him. Everyone told me to keep my head up and that's what I am going to do."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thompsons, Hasbrouck in NBA Preseason

Two of the MAAC's most-prominent players of recent vintage are currently on NBA rosters for preseason games.

Rider's Ryan Thompson, a 6-foot-6 swingman who graduated in 2010; and Siena's Kenny Hasbrouck, a 6-3 guard who graduated in 2009, have been active in the preseason.

Thus far Thompson, playing for the Utah Jazz, has appeared in two games for a total of 32 minutes of court time. He is 0-for-4 from the field and 2-2 from the foul line. He has three rebounds, two assists, a steal and two turnovers.

Hasbrouck, with the star-studded Miami Heat, has played in four games. He is averaging 5.8 points, 3.5 assists and 1.8 rebounds. However, he is just 9-for-238 from the field (26.8 percent).

They're not the only two former conference players competing in preseason games. There's also Thompson's older brother, the 6-foot-11 forward Jason Thompson who already has played two full NBA regular-seasons.

The elder Thompson averaged 11.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 0.8 blocks per game through two seasons thus far with the Sacramento Kings. This preseason he is averaging 9.4 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists through five games.

It is believed to be the only time three former MAAC players have appeared in NBA preseason games in the same season.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Women Begin, Giorgis Likes What He Sees

The best time of the year is officially here. College basketball teams have started preseason practices.

While men's team can't get on the court for official workouts until October 15, women's teams are already in full swing in terms of practicing.

Due to new NCAA legislation women's teams could begin practicing 40 days before their first game, but can only be on the court 30 of those 40 days.

It meant that women's teams were eligible to tip it off on the practice courts this past Monday (Oct. 4). Some MAAC programs were on the court that day, others waited a day or two so that there would be fewer days off during the preseason.

We asked Brian Giorgis, whose Marist team has dominated the MAAC in recent seasons, for his impressions of the early start of practices.

"For us we're still doing things in a sense of half practicing and half preseason (conditioning) drills," said Giorgis. "The way we look at it is that starting on Oct. 15 has always been good to us. But this (the early start) basically gives us time to go at things more slowly on the court.

"Right now we're spending a lot more time in the class room. On the floor we're going over things trying to get the kids to understand the nuances of our base offense and man defense. And, we still have conditioning drills."

Giorgis, for the first time, said he has incorporated pens and pencils as part of his players' required workout apparatus.

"I've never given written tests before, but we're doing that now," he said. "I'm not concerned about whether they pass or fail. The goal isn't to find out what they know but to find out what the kids aren't understanding and, then, to make sure they do understand what we're doing. A lot of it is them understanding the terminology and understanding why we do things at certain times. So, part of helping them understand is classroom stuff, and part of it is a lot more time with film."

Marist goes into the season without 6-foot-0 forward Rachele Fitz, arguably the MAAC's most-dominant player in the league's history, who was the conference's Rookie of the Year as a freshman and its Player of the Year for the last three seasons.

But, in case you were wondering, the Red Foxes aren't likely to fall from its traditional perch atop the conference standings. Rest assured that they'll be the preseason pick to win the league title again this year when the coaches' preseason poll is revealed at the MAAC's media day on Oct. 26.

And, why not? Marist returns senior guard Erica Allenspach and junior guard Corielle Yarde, and both are expected to contend for the conference's Player of the Year honors.

And while the program lost Fitz, it didn't lose much else.

"What I have I have a lot of," said Giorgis, who clearly was referring to having arguably the best group of perimeter performers in the conference. "The biggest challenge owill be to have the right people play at the right times in the right situations. We'll have a lot of different kids who bring different things to the table. And, probably for the first time I really don't have a kid I'd be afraid to have in there with two minutes left to go with the game on the line."

In addition to Yard and Allenspach, Marist also returns guards 5-4 junior Kristine Best and 5-5 senior Elise Caron, and both have been key performers over the past two years. Up front key returnees include 6-4 sophomore center Kate Oliver and 6-2 junior forward Brandy Gang.

And, if that's not enough Giorgis also believes he has an emerging sophomore standout in guard Kelsey Beynnon and a strong trio of freshmen.

"Kelsey reminds me a lot of Corielle Yarde from a year ago in terms that Corielle really didn't get it as a freshman but things clicked and she had a terrific sophomore season," said Giorgis. "Kelsey, who is a legitimate 6-2 guard, could pose a lot of problems for our opponents."

Giorgis is also effusive in his praise for 5-10 freshman guards Casey Dulin and Leanne Ockenden and 6-0 freshman forward Emma O'Connor.

"Casey is real athletic with a lot of ability, Emma is one of the most-athletic players we've ever had ... a poor man's Fifi Camera (a former Marist standout and the MAAC's 2005-06 Player of the Year) and Leanne might be the best shooter we have in the program.

"Honestly, you never know, though."

Still, Giorgis and his coaching peers around the league, seems to appreciate getting an earlier than usual look at their respective teams. It's just that Giorgis, as usual, probably likes what he sees more than anyone else.

Bob Leckie Takes Key Position at FDU

In case you missed it, former Saint Peter's men's head coach Saint Peter's, who spoke about the desire for more time to run his business interests when he resigned from that position after the 2005-06 season, is back in the profession on a full-time basis.

Leckie recently was named associate head coach at Fairleigh Dickinson University under head coach Greg Vetrone.

Leckie was the head man at Saint Peter's for six years (2000-01 through 2005-06), during which time his teams compiled a 67-107 record. But, his final three Peacock teams were 49-40 overall with the 49 victories accounting for the highest three-year total in the program's 29 seasons in the MAAC.

Leckie's 2003-04 team finished 12-6 in conference play, accounting for the highest number of league wins over its 29 MAAC seasons.

Leckie's greatest recruiting success was bringing in 5-foot-8 guard Keydren Clark, all but overlooked as a high school player, who became one of the most-dynamic performers in conference history. Clark led the nation in scoring as a sophomore and a junior and his career 25.9 points-per-game average is the highest in MAAC history.

Clark's last season was 2005-06, and Leckie left the school mere days after Clark's final game.

Leckie made a somewhat surprising return to the MAAC sidelines last season when he was the director of basketball operations, the lowest position on any program's staff, at Manhattan College.

Prior to taking over at Saint Peter's he was a highly successful high school coach at Bishop Loughlin Memorial in Brooklyn from 1980-99. His 1991-92 squad won the New York City and New York Sate Federation titles.

Leckie was also an Assistant Basketball Coach for the Swedish National Team in 1980. Prior to that, Leckie was the Head Basketball Coach in the European Professional League from 1977-78.

"Bob is a very valuable asset to our team," said Vetrone, in a press release issued by FDU. "He will be a great bench coach. He is a Hall of Fame Coach in New York and with all of his many years of both High School coaching and Division I head coaching experience, he can only improve this program. His experience and knowledge of the game will be a big help. Having a coach of this caliber on staff is an exceptional advantage for our team."

Friday, October 8, 2010

Peacocks' Luck Wrong Kind Luck For Now

The news coming out of Saint Peter's isn't all bad. Then again, it could be better.

"We had a turbulent fall ... a lot of injuries, unfortunately," said Peacocks' coach John Dunne, whose team appeared poised to seriously contend for a conference regular-season title.

It still might, but Saint Peter's might need some quick healing, and a dose of good luck to do it.

The most-serious, both in terms of severity and quality of player, is to 6-2 senior guard Wesley Jenkins, clearly one of the MAAC's better guards.

Jenkins suffered a knee injury recently, but the situation might not quite be as bad as originally expected.

"At first we thought he would be done for the year," said Dunne. "But he had an MRI on Tuesday (Oct. 5) and it's not a full ACL tear, just a partial one. We've got him in a brace and he'll rehab . We'll take another look in four weeks. If it looks good in four weeks, then he can start doing some things. There's a chance he could be back on the court for us by the opening MAAC weekend (the first weekend in December).

"For sure we'll be able to make a judgment by then. If the knee hasn't responded, then we'd probably be able to decide to let him sit out and take a redshirt season."

Jenkins is a likely first-team preseason all-star selection who averaged 13.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game last season. Without him, the Peacocks lose arguably their best player, but from the one position they appear to have depth.

Appear to, though, is the operative description as two other expected members of the backcourt playing group are also battling preseason injury situations.

Junior Blaise Ffrench, a transfer from UTEP who is eligible to play this season, is also battling knee woes, although not as serious as Jenkins'.

"Blaise is a pretty good player and would be a nice compliment to Wes and Nick (Leon, another senior guard)," said Dunne. "He can play off the dribble and he's strong and can score in the point. We haven't had that type of third option from the perimeter in recent years, and he's capable of giving us that.

"His knee is still a little delicate at this point, but it's a minor thing."

Ffrench is expected to be on the court when men's practice begin on Oct. 15.

And, then, there's Chris Burke, a 6-4 freshman guard and the program's only incoming freshman.

"He's good enough to be on the court for us this year," said Dunne.

Except that Burke's not on the court right now, recovering from a slight patella tendon tear, according to Dunne.

"It looks like another four more weeks with him, if not more, before he can get on the court," added the Saint Peter's coach.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Look at Manhattan's Non-League Slate

Here's another installment in the series looking at the non-conference schedules of MAAC men's teams.

Up now, Manhattan:

The Jaspers play away games on Nov. 13 (at NJIT), Nov. 25 (vs. Wisconsin in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla.), Nov. 26 and 28 (Old Spice Classic games), Dec. 8 (at Fordham0, Dec. 22 (at Bowling Green) and Dec. 30 (at Florida Atlantic). They will also play a road BracketBusters game on Feb. 19 against an opponent to be determined.

Manhattan plays home games on Nov. 17 (Penn), Nov. 20 (Long Island University), Dec. 11 (Binghamton), Dec. 18 (Hofstra).

Here's a game-by-game breakdown of Manhattan's non-conference schedule:

- NJIT: Picked to finish 4th in the 7-team Great West Conference, now in its second season of existence. Finished 10-20 last season after winning just one game in the 2008-09 season. Best player: Senior guard Jheryl Wilson (14.2 points, 5.2 rebounds).

- Penn: Picked for 5th in the 8-team Ivy League. Finished 6-22 last season, including a victorty over Cornell. Best player: Best player: 6-1 junior point guard Zack Rosen (17.7, 4.4 assists).

- LIU: Picked to finish 2nd in the 12-team Northeast Conference. Finished 14-17 last season. Has four returning starters. Best Player: Senior guard Kyle Johnson (11.5 ppg.) and forward Kenny Onyechi (league-best 2.1 blocks per game).

- Wisconsin: Picked to finish 5th in the 11-team Big Ten Conference. Finished 24-9 last season. Best player: 6-10 senior forward Jon Leuer (15.4 points, 5.8 rebounds).

- Fordham: Picked for 13th in the 14-team Atlantic 10 Conferendce. Finished 2-26 last season. Fordham has a new coach in former Hofstra head man Tom Pecora. Best player: 6-7 sohphomore forward Chris Gatson (18.0 points, 11.4 rebounds), the A-10's Rookie of the Year last season.

- Binghamton: Picked for 6th in the 9-team America East conference. Finished 11-17 last season. Best player: 6-7 senior forward Greer Wright (15.6 points, 6.0 rebounds).

- Hofstra: Picked to finish 7th in the 12-team Colonial Athletic Association. Finished 19-15 last season. Best Player: Senior guard Charles Jenkins (20.6 points), the CAA's Player of the Year last season.

- Bowling Green: Picked for 5th in the 6-team East Division of the Mid-American Conference. Finished 14-16 last season. Best Player: 6-7 junior forward Scott Thomas (13.2 points, 6.3 rebounds).

- Florida Atlantic: Picked for 3rd in the 6-team East Division of the Sun Belt Conference. Finished 14-16 last season. Best player: Freshman guard Greg Gantt (15.6, 2.4). The team's head coach is Mike Jarvis who previously coached at Boston University, George Washington University and St. John's.

Saint Peter's Jenkins Suffers Knee Inury

There doesn't appear to be good news coming out of the Saint Peter's men's basketball program these days.

According to Jersey Journal's on-line sports blog sources at Saint Peter's have confirmed that standout senior guard Wesley Jenkins has suffered a serious knee injury.

The unnamed sources indicate that Jenkins suffered damage to his ACL in a recent on-campus pick-up game, although the injury does not appear to be as serious as originally feared.

According to the report Jenkins does not need surgery, but still might sit out the upcoming season, although no decision has been made about whether the guard will take a medical redshirt this year.

Jenkins, one of the league's best perimeter shooters, averaged 13.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game last season and was expected to be a key figure in the Peacocks' hopes to contend for a regular-seaso conference title during the upcoming season.

Instead, his absence not only will mean the team loses arguably its best player but will likely have depth issues off its bench as well.

Saint Peter's coach John Dunne did not return a call for comment on Wednesday night.

Marist Grad Mahoney a "Key" President

We who write about college basketball, or follow it, tend to concentrate mostly on the present and almost exclusively on the "athlete" portion of "student-athlete."

But mid-major level leagues like the MAAC are the opposite when it comes to the student-athlete equation. The student portion is the side that's the most-important.

So, it's always rewarding to learn of one of the member school's individual success stories, and Ruth Mahoney's is a good one.

Mahoney, a 1991 graduate of Marist College, was recently named as president of Key Bank's Hudson Valley/Metro N.Y. Division.

That information was passed along by a long-time follower of Siena's program, Jim Campbell, a retired Key Bank administrator who served as Mahoney's mentor for a time early in her business career.

Those of you who follow Marist women's basketball will remember her as Ruth Halley during her playing days. She was an effective 6-foot-3 center came to the Red Foxes' program from Dundale, Ireland.

At Marist she was primarily a defensive presence and a strong rebounder. After being used lightly during her first two seasons she averaged 3.8 points and 6.4 rebounds as a junior and 3.6 points and 5.8 rebounds as a senior.

Mahoney leaves little doubt that her basketball career had a positive impact on her life after college.

"First of all being a scholarship athlete at Marist afforded me the opportunity to attend a great college, earn a college degree and play basketball at the college level," said Mahoney, in a recent e-mail. "It was a wonderful opportunity that I will always be appreciative of.

"Playing basketball helped me with my leadership skills which have truly benefited me in my management and leadership roles to date in my career. Being a member of a team and understanding how important everyone's role is to the team, how everyone's strengths and weaknesses combined can result in a strong team are all valuable concepts that have helped me build and coach strong and effective teams in a professional environment.

"Effective coaching is a valuable skill to have in todays business environment and college basketball was a great way to learn about different coaching techniques and styles.And importantly, being a student athlete and balancing the demands of school work and basketball taught me incredibly valuable time management and prioritization skills which help me every day to juggle the demands of being a senior executive, Mother, wife, community volunteer etc every day."

Mahoney has spent the past three years as senior vice president and market manager for Key Private Bank in the Capital Region and Hudson Valley Districts. Although was based in Albany, she spent much of her time in the Hudson Valley.

Mahoney is also extremely active in the community and currently serves on the steering committee of the Women’s Fund of the Capital District. She is also vice-chair and on the board of the United Way of the Greater Capital Region and a board member at St. Pius X School in Loudonville, N.Y. . She is a former board member of the Albany Institute of History and Art and the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce's Finance & Audit Committee.

It's quite an impressive resume for an impressive former women's basketball player from a MAAC member.