Busting Brackets

Gerry McNamara, Siena Basketball are building foundations for a better run in 2024-25

For Siena College, the "off-season" means that new head coach Gerry McNamara has his work cut out for him as he goes through a massive program overhaul after a disappointing 4-28 regular season.
Siena v American University
Siena v American University / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

Let's face the obvious reality that the concept of an "off season" no longer exists in collegiate athletics. The moment one season ends, the next one begins at least in earnest as coaches move around, players enter the transfer portal and incoming freshmen look for college homes to go to school and play basketball.

One of the more recent phenomenons in college sports is the changing role of coaching staffs in regards to team sports such as football and basketball, along with baseball and softball. Coaches are no longer hired simply to lead teams and explain the "X's and O's" part of the game.

In fact, each coach from the head coach on down to even low-level assistants now must be masters of the craft of recruiting. College coaches can now add "salesperson' as a hard skill on their respective resumes since that is exactly what collegiate athletics has become - a hard sell to recruit as much as retain talented student-athletes on team rosters.

When Gerry McNamara took over as the new head coach at Siena College, he certainly had to know that his prior recruiting connections with players and other coaches around college basketball would quickly be utilized if not tested. After all, coming off of a 4-28 regular season means only one thing: time to recruit and rebuild the program or your time on campus will be cut short. Coach McNamara is no doubt a pragmatist and quickly has set out to build the nucleus of a potentially winning roster for next season.

Utilizing talent coming through the NCAA transfer portal, G-Mac was able to pluck talented graduate transfer Myles Wilmouth out of the portal and he'll be doing his graduate work next season as a member of the Siena Saints.

Wilmouth spent three seasons at Butler and last season at Hofstra but due to an injury and subsequent surgery did not actually play last year. Wilmouth is a 6'9", 224-pound forward with two years of eligibility left and had 59 career games while at Butler. Wilmouth brings not only Big East experience with him but his maturity will no doubt be an enormously positive factor while playing for Siena.

Coach McNamara found additional success in the transfer portal by recruiting a familiar face in Peter Carey who follows his former coach from Syracuse over to Siena. Carey is a 6'11" redshirt sophomore from Sunderland, MA and also brings three more years of eligibility to the Saints basketball lineup.

Last season, Carey had nine points and 12 rebounds in 17 games played for the Orange and the former three-star high school recruit looks to elevate his collegiate career under Gerry McNamara's tutelage this coming season.

While the NCAA transfer portal has provided some valuable recruiting for Siena in the off season, Coach McNamara has been astute in targeting incoming high school players as well to help rebuild the Saints basketball program next year.

Leading the way in literal big incoming recruits is 7'1", 215-pound Devin Brafford. Brafford's instant "big man" presence and the fact that he may still grow immediately is a bonus for the Saints and the McDonald's All-American game nominee will no doubt provide instant size out on the court as a physically dominant center. If Brafford can quickly transition to the college game, he may be a force for the Siena program for years to come.

Local Capital City region talent cannot be overlooked in terms of basketball recruiting and Gerry McNamara found another potential diamond in the rough by finding Marcus Jackson in the transfer portal.

Jackson spent the last two seasons at the University at Albany and last season he garnered an average of 5.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.5 steals, along with a 57% field goal shooting percentage including shooting 42% from outside the three-point arc.

Jackson brings a stellar high school pedigree while at the Albany Academy including being a four-time team team captain and winning two state championships at the preps level. With an additional two years of eligibility left, Jackson also looks to be another reliable veteran who can help get things done both on the court and in the locker room.

The addition of these players instantly provides some depth and experience along with high school pedigrees and should pay dividends for the Siena men's basketball program next season.

Although there is a large mountain for the Saints to climb out of the MAAC cellar, the combination of a new coaching staff led by Gerry McNamara, combined with strong recruiting, should help set the Siena Saints on a positive path heading into the 2024-25 campaign.

8 teams that managed to avoid transfer madness. 8 teams that managed to avoid transfer madness. dark. Next