Siena Takes On Iona At Madison Square Garden
Brandon Walters remembers the first time he played at Madison Square Garden.
Although he was just a freshman at Abraham Lincoln High School, in Brooklyn, he can recall the memory like it was yesterday.
“I was blown away,” he said Monday morning, before the team departed for New York City. “I didn’t really get that much of a chance to play, but looking everywhere and the atmosphere, it’s almost euphoric.”
Walters will get his seventh chance to play at arguably the world’s most famous sports arena, when Siena takes on Iona, Tuesday evening.
“It never gets old,” Walters said. “It’s a great place to play.”
The Saints and Gaels will hit the floor following St. John’s game against Louisville, at approximately 9 p.m.
Siena coach Mitch Buonaguro has coached at The Garden before, as an assistant for Villanova and as a head coach for Fairfield.
“For me, it’s a great experience because I”m from New York City,” he said. “I used to go to games at The Garden and was a big (New York) Knicks fan growing up. To be able to coach there is a big thrill for me.”
The Saints (0-2, 5-7) have won two games in a row, matching their longest win streak of the season.
“Both games were very similar,” Buonaguro said. “They were close coming down the stretch and we made the plays.”
Siena junior O.D. Anosike will be celebrating his 21st birthday on Tuesday evening and the Staten Island native expects at least 50 friends and family in the stands.
Coming into action on Monday, Anosike ranked fourth in the country, averaging 12.0 rebounds per game.
“I have to give credit to my teammates for putting pressure on the perimeter guys, so they have to take tough shots and I’m there to corral the rebound,” he said.
All of the Saints realize this is a terrific chance to play in an arena with so much history and tradition.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Walters said.
You can also follow me on twitter @AndrewSantillo