The Siena Saints haven’t had much success since the 2009-10 season when they ripped through the MAAC regular season with a 17-1 record and a trip to the NCAA Tournament as a 13-seed. Forward O.D. Anosike was only a bit player then as a freshman from Staten Island. What a difference four years makes.
Back in 2009, Siena was finishing up their run as MAAC dynasty, winning their third consecutive MAAC Tournament championship and third straight appearance in the Field of 64. Anosike was averaging only 12 minutes and 3.4 rebounds per game.
Fast-forward to 2012-13.
Siena’s program is in shambles. They’re 2-7 in conference and have won a league-low four games overall. They’re 330th in points per game with 58.4 and 330th in field goal percentage (38.9%). There are 345 teams in men’s basketball programs in Division I. Their .200 winning percentage (4-16 record) also ranks them 330th in the country. To call this season a wash would be an understatement.
But night after night if you check the box scores, you’ll see one positive buried in a sea of negatives–O.D. Anosike. The 6-foot-8, 241 pound senior initially broke onto the national scene last season when he led the nation in rebounding with 12.5 per game. This season his rebounding numbers are down slightly, 11.6 per game, but he’s still second in the country. He’s also pouring in 12.8 points per game for the lowly Saints.
Winning the MAAC Championship during his freshman year in 2009 might seem like a distant memory, but it’s something Anosike will surely cherish when he looks back at his time in Loudonville. He is the only one on this current Saints roster to have experienced postseason play beyond the MAAC Tournament–and everyone makes the conference tournament.
He’s proven over the past few seasons that despite being undersized he’s got big game. He’s comparable to another dominant rebounder from the MAAC–Jason Thompson of Rider, who’s currently playing for the Sacramento Kings. Though Thompson is 6-foot-11 and scored at will while at Rider, the one striking similarity between the two is their ability to rebound the basketball.
Anosike isn’t likely to be a 1st-round pick a la Thompson, but he’ll certainly garner some looks come draft day–at least he should. Just because he’s at the lower end of the height range for an NBA power forward (6-foot-8 to 7-foot) doesn’t mean a thing–just ask Charles Barkley, who at 6-foot-6, is considered one of the top rebounding power forward in NBA history.
Despite a lost season at Siena, O.D. Anosike has his sights set on his next season–hopefully in the NBA.