LOUDONVILLE — Prior to the last two games, his first game for the Siena men’s basketball program, Jordan Kellier said he hasn’t finished 5th since he started playing basketball in his native Jamaica.
And, he admitted, his initial reaction to the idea of playing the position in spurts for the Saints was “I really don’t want to be 5.”
Otherwise too . , ,
Kellier — who stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 226 pounds — has warmed to the idea, which is a good thing because Sienna’s short-ball lineup was playing 5 with Kellier with great success against Cena, Which is not going away any time. A day after the Saints’ 16-point victory against Senna, Siena’s head coach Carmen Maciarillo said on Wednesday that such a lineup is “something we will continue to see” and the team’s long term for the season. were part of the plan. , A variety of injuries – including Kellier, who missed the team’s first five games – delayed the Saints’ significant use of the small-ball lineup in the off-season, preseason and the first weeks of the 2021–22 season, but the Saints are now are “as healthy as we’re going to be” after a win in which every scholarship player except freshman Taihland Owens (knee) was available to play.
“We’ve always wanted to play small because I think it gives us a different look,” Macciarillo said.
Sienna scored a season-high 83 points against Cena, and 55 of those points came after halftime. A transfer from Utah, who traditionally played as a wing player, Kellier played six minutes in his debut against Bucknell on Sunday, then played 15 minutes – all as a short ball 5 – against Cena. , and offered six points and six rebounds.
A junior, Kellier’s own stats were modest.
But, in those 15 minutes, the Saints led Senna 37-27 as he took advantage of the driving lane, allowing for better spacing.
More minutes in 5 were available due to a foul for Jackson Stormo, who entered a season-less 17 minutes against Cena. Stormo only scored four points and three rebounds, but Sienna played well too when the 6-foot-9 senior was on the court. The Saints overtook Senna by 16 points during Stormo’s play time.
The significance of Tuesday’s development, however, was that Sienna found a way to play winning basketball, when Stormo – the team’s second leading scorer and top rebounder – was at the head of the bench, and demonstrated that it was a different game at a higher level. style can play. When Stormo is on court, Siena’s estate often includes a traditional post touch; With Kellier in 5th place, Siena’s offense forces resisted the defense to cover more ground. This gives the Saints options—and forces incoming opponents, such as Manhattan on Friday—to need to plan to defend both looks.
At times, Sienna has tried to play small this season prior to their most recent games. Michael Beyer has played some short deliveries in the 5th minute, but success didn’t come as easily with those lineups as on Tuesday with Kelier in 5th.
Against Cena, a lineup of Aidan Carpenter, Nick Hopkins—who produced a game-high, plus-26 in his 25 minutes—was the most effective group of Jared Billups, Anthony Gaines, and the Kellier Saints. With those five players—all of whom stand 6-foot-6 or less—on the court, Siena led Cena 14-3 in 2:48 action.
While Kellier’s ability to play 5 makes such a lineup possible, Maciarillo described the Gaines’ shift from 3 to 4 as equally important for the Saints. Since the start of his Sienna career, during which he often played 3s due to Sienna’s injury issues, the Gaines – a graduate transfer from Northwestern of the Big Ten Conference – have put together solid back-to-back games that are mostly 4Ks. play as. Gaines scored 16 points in Sienna’s win against Cena, a performance that followed Gaines’ career-high 20 points in an overtime loss to the Saints at Bucknell. The 36 points Gaines scored in those two matches went past Siena’s scoring output of 27 in the first five games.
“Anthony’s best position for us is at 4,” said Maciarillo, who added the 6-foot-5 Gaines, “starting to play how we know he can play.”
Sienna have a lot of different pieces in their roster, and the Saints only played one game during their 2-5 start to the season with all the players they were hoping to count this season. Despite being very encouraging in the second half during Tuesday’s win, the Saints know they haven’t figured it all out yet. In all likelihood, there are more obstacles in the way for the Saints—but, now, they have even more ways to try to navigate their past.
“It’s a process,” Macciarillo said. “This team has to learn how to win and I think we’re making strides in that regard – and it’s going to be another tough test for us on Friday night against Manhattan.”
Kellier said he has no problem continuing with his new position — or any other.
“I’m a basketball player,” Kellier said. “I don’t really see it as playing 5.”
“He wants to play,” said Maciarillo. “I don’t need to sell him on anything. He wants to get on the court.”
Kellier said he wanted to “win at all costs”. While Kendra “is not a role that many people my size want to play,” Kellier said he differs.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about shutting down and realizing that you’re doing something much, much bigger than yourself,” Kellier said.
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