Siena appeared to have everything clicking finally in December against Quinnipiac when they lost a player they could ill afford to lose.
Brett Bisping went down toward the opposing hoop and his right toe injury would rule him out for the remainder of what would have been his junior season.
“We were starting to get going and that just that kind of killed it,” Bisping said. “I think if any player goes down it’s tough to get used to switching up, filling the spot and switching up the rotation, so I think it took them a little bit to get the momentum back.”
The 6’8″ junior who became a lynchpin in Jimmy Patsos’ first season success at Siena saw his chances to help last season end prematurely.
“It was real hard especially at first when I went home, I was having to watch everything on TV and just seeing even when I was hurt other people were hurt,” Bisping said. “Not being able to do anything to help is the worst part.”
Bisping pushed on through rehab hoping to recover in time to play in the season’s final month, but was officially ruled out for the season in early February.
“By the end I could move, but not near as good as I could if I hadn’t been through the injury,” Bisping said. “I just don’t think I would have been effective and I don’t even throwing me back into the loop that late in the year, after they had gotten used to playing without me, I don’t think it would have been good.”
The 6’8″ forward received a medical redshirt season for last year and now enters his final two seasons in a leadership role, being named co-captain of the Saints with junior Marquis Wright.
“I’m excited about it and to be a captain you have to take on a lot of responsibilities and I feel somewhat responsible for how this team performs,” Bisping said. “I’m sure Marquis feels the same way. I’m going to take on the role as best I can, try to get us playing as good as we can, bring some energy to the team.”
Entering his fourth season and third under Patsos, Bisping appears to understand the underlying motivation behind his head coach’s energy.
“The energy he brings every single day is unmatched by anyone I’ve ever seen,” Bisping said. “I try to do that while I’m on the court for my teammates and just be a leader in that sense, like by example.”
Bisping said that Patsos brings the energy when he and his teammates don’t, which he hopes he can help reverse as well as lead the younger players. He likes what he has seen from Evan Fisher and he said he thinks Nico Clareth could be a great player by the time he is done.
“The trick for all freshman year is to learn that when Jimmy’s yelling at you he’s not he’s not trying to degrade you,” Bisping said. “You have to take it and find he’s using it as motivation, you need to feed off of that. The sooner they figure that out the better off they’ll be.”
In Bisping’s third full playing season he will see a drastically different team than he has seen on the court. Gone are Rob Poole and Evan Hymes to graduation and the Saints welcome four freshmen and one transfer to the roster.
“I’ve had a lot of restarts kind of in the program, I guess what I’ve learned from that is you can’t expect too much too soon and you just have to slowly build throughout the year,” Bisping said. “We got a lot of size and we’ve also got some pretty athletic guards and we’re young. I think we’ll make some young mistakes, but I think we’ll just keep getting better each day and progress throughout the year.”
Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2015-16 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference among others for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.