Busting Brackets

Gerry McNamara building up Siena Basketball through recruiting relationships

Coaching is certainly not just about conveying the concepts of X's and O's to players but about building lifelong relationships with student athletes. In the current world of collegiate athletics, players and coaches move around in what seems to be an endless cycle of movement from program to program within the NCAA basketball ranks. As the Siena Saints enter a rebuilding mode for next season, new head coach Gerry McNamara has his work cut out for him in order to make this program competitive within the MAAC.
Syracuse v Pittsburgh
Syracuse v Pittsburgh / Rich Barnes/GettyImages

When Gerry McNamara was an assistant coach at Syracuse, he became painfully aware that recruiting is an endless battle in order to build and keep college basketball programs moving forward. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose this battle and McNamara watched as players Andre Jackson Jr. and Reid Ducharme made decisions to look for greener pastures than Syracuse University when they made their commitment choices.

Move forward to April, 2024 and Gerry McNamara is now the new head coach at Siena College. With his new position, McNamara has been able to utilize previous recruiting contacts into transfer commitments with the same players he once pursued while at Syracuse as an assistant coach. Recent University of Albany transfer commitment Marcus Jackson made his decision to come to Siena primarily due to the personal relationship he built with Coach McNamara when his brother Andre was being recruited: "...Throughout that process, I'd play pickup with the guys at times and I ended up getting close to G-Mac. He's someone I gravitated toward."

Gerry McNamara has capitalized on prior recruiting relationships and added guard/forward Reid Ducharme to the Siena roster for next season as well. McNamara also recruited Ducharme but the 6'7" freshman ended up chosing Big East stalwart Xavier as his final college choice. In a twist of fate, Ducharme only played in five games this season as the Musketeers had a less-than-stellar 2023-24 season and when McNamara became the new head coach at Siena, Ducharme popped up on the transfer portal radar screen again. With a change of scenery and a new head coach, Ducharme looks to jump start his collegiate career at Siena.

Within the basketball coaching circles, some coaches naturally gravitate towards the perennial powerhouse programs like Duke, North Carolina, UConn or Gonzaga while other coaches look to march to a different drummer and find career success in turning around downtrodden teams. The Siena Saints fall into the downtrodden category with a 4-28 regular season record but let's be real now - last season is over and done with.

Next. 10 best mid-major hires of 2024 offseason. 10 best mid-major hires of 2024 offseason. dark

If Gerry McNamara can keep working his relationship magic, he may be able to build up the Saints' roster with players who are looking for second chances to show some greatness. New head coach hires always bring an air of optimism and there's no reason to think differently as Gerry McNamara attempts to reverse the Siena men's basketball fortunes during the 2024-25 season.