June 7, 2011
Head coach Mitch Buonaguro said he wanted to make some changes following the 2010-11 Siena men's basketball season. It's now clear how serious he was. Buonaguro confirmed Tuesday that Evan Hymes, a 5-9 point guard from Durham, N.C., and Marcus Hopper, a 6-8 forward from Queens, have completed admissions paperwork reserving their spot in the incoming Class of 2015.
The commitments complete a wild two months that included three staff changes, the transfer of guards Jonathan Breeden and Kyle Griffin, and three late signings. When the dust settled, Buonaguro and the Saints were left with the largest scholarship class in program history, and a genuine excitement for the future of the program.
"There's a lot of positive energy surrounding the program," Buonaguro said. "I'm excited about the nucleus of young talent we have with the six new recruits, and (sophomores) Rahk (Rakeem Brookins) and Trenity (Burdine)."
Hymes averaged 14 points, five assists and two steals per game this season for Kestrel Heights Charter School in Durham, N.C. He is expected to add much needed depth at the point guard position behind sophomore Rakeem Brookins.
Hymes grew up in the Capital Region, living in Clifton Park for six years before moving to Long Island at the age of 10, and ultimately relocating to North Carolina. He visited the Siena campus last month, and gave a verbal commitment shortly after his stay, but it wasn't until today that his paperwork was received, allowing Buonaguro to comment.
"I'm really excited with Evan's decision to come to Siena," Buoanguro said. "He will be a very good point guard in our program. He can push the ball and run our transition game, which is exactly what we were looking for."
Hymes spoke with Albany Times Union reporter Mark Singelais recently. Here are some quotes from their conversation that were published on the Times Union's College Sports blog:
On His Visit
When I took my official visit, my (future) teammates showed me a lot of love. They embraced me like I was one of them. The coaches, they were really nice. They also told me they had a really good business program, and that's what I want to major in, with a minor in communications.
On the Times Union Center
I love the arena. They showed me around the suites and everything. That's what sold me right there, was the arena.
On Playing with Rakeem Brookins
Maybe bring us in the game at the same time and just push the ball. Just start running and (play) pressure defense because me and (Brookins) are really quick.
On His Speed
Since I've been growing up, people say I'm super fast. I'm really fast, and I can shoot the ball pretty good when I'm open. I'm a leader on the court. I like to communicate with my teammates and makes sure they're in the right place, be a floor general. We'll have some fun this upcoming season.
Hopper averaged 12 points and 8.5 rebounds while shooting 44 percent from 3-point range for Holy Cross High School in Queens as a senior.
"I'm not too far away from home," Hopper said. "(Siena's) a winning program, and everybody wants to play in the NCAA Tournament. (Coach Buonaguro) is going to play to my strengths, and every other coach that recruited me didn't really acknowledge that."
The 265-pound forward arrived at Siena Monday, and after meeting with Siena's coaches, his future teammates and professors, and touring the campus and Times Union Center, gave his commitment. Hopper made it official by signing his paperwork at the College's admissions office this morning.
"Obviously, we're thrilled to get a frontcourt player with the ability to play away from the basket this late in the process," Buonaguro said. "Marcus is a tremendous person who comes from a great high school program."
Hopper and Hymes join late signee DeVonte Beard of Akron, Ohio, along with sharp-shooting Rob Poole, and imposing post men Lionel Gomis and Imoh Silas.