The best way to find Marquis Wright is to see who is on the floor for Siena, because chances are he’s one of the first you’ll notice.
The 6′ junior point guard was on the floor for the Saints for all but 111 minutes of play last season and all but 222 minutes in his first season. No player in the entire Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference spent more time on the floor as a percentage of his team’s minutes than Wright last season.
It could hardly be a surprise that when it was time to pick captains for the 2015-16 season, that Wright’s name would be there.
“What I like about Marquis is he’s what we want here, that’s who represents our team and school,” head coach Jimmy Patsos said. “He plays hard, he’s a good person, he does well in school, he competes and when the game is over he goes back to being a good person. That’s what I want out of our players, that balance, he’s been great.”
He was given the ball from day one on their Canadian foreign trip and has had it practically every minute since then. This season he and redshirt junior Brett Bisping will be the Saints’ captains.
“It means a lot,” Wright said. “I’m one of the older guys now, it’s funny to say that, but I just got to take responsibility and take control of this team even more.”
Wright made plenty of steps forward in his second season as a Saint, increasing his scoring output from 8.7 ppg to 12.5 ppg, but more importantly cutting down on his turnovers. After recording a 1.71 assist to turnover rate as a freshman, he produced a better than 2:1 rate as a sophomore.
“I’m going to be in a tough position because a lot of it is on my back,” Wright said. “I just got to do it, communicate more, be more vocal on and off the court and just help my team as much as possible.”
Patsos said at times last season the team needed to rely too much on the point guard, as they struggled through injuries in the front court, which forced Wright to take some bad shots. The type of team that the Saints will be this coming season will be younger, but will have more depth. Rob Poole and Evan Hymes graduated, but Bisping and senior Imoh Silas return, and Siena adds four freshmen to hope to turn around an eighth-place finish in MAAC play last season.
“In practice it’s more competitive,” Wright said. “I feel like the whole team now wants to win and don’t want to lose. Last year it was, it wasn’t really competing in practice it was just going with the flow, but now everybody is competitive and I think hungry to want to win.”
Wright regularly goes up against Richmond transfer Kadeem Smithen, who will have to sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules, as well as freshman Kenny Wormley. He also finds himself regularly working on his chemistry with freshman shooting guard Nico Clareth.
“He always asks me what is he doing wrong or if he’s not doing right, I would just tell him slow down, get under control,” Wright said. “I feel good in this position that I’m in of being one of the veterans to the young people.”
Most of all, the Maryland native just wants to get on the court with this young iteration of the Saints to see how they play and react. It is something Wright has been accustomed to, being on the floor for so long at Siena, to see a newer group try to reverse their record from last season in the MAAC.
“I just want to experience on the court with this team,” Wright said. “I feel like this is a younger team and a couple of older people, so I just feel like it’s going to be a new fun season this 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.