Instead of breaking down the teams that went up and down, we’re going to look at players instead this week.Over the course of the season, we’ve asked some of the MAAC’s players who they think the toughest player is they have had to face in league play. Since we are just about halfway through conference play: here are some answers to who are the toughest players to guard in the MAAC.
Canisius sophomore Phil Valenti on Iona’s David Laury: “He’s so versatile. His ball handling skills, he handles it like a guard, I mean he just poses a mismatch for everybody.”
Siena sophomore Marquis Wright on Iona’s A.J. English: “He can do everything. He could go to the basket and shoot, so its kind of my job to stop my defender, and I mean he put points against us… It’s like, if I help off just a little bit, I feel like the shot is going up.”
Niagara sophomore Ramone Snowden on Iona’s David Laury: “I’m going to go with David Laury. Just a strong body like with him, he just pounds you, pounds you, pounds you and going right every time. You have to be strong enough to hold him.”
Iona senior David Laury on Quinnipiac’s Ousmane Drame: “He’s physical, he’s long, he’s strong. He always is in attack mode from the block and he’s a lefty and lefties are always harder to guard because they’re the minority… He’s a lefty and he’s strong around the basket.”
Siena sophomore Lavon Long on Iona’s David Laury: “I think he can do a lot of things, he can shoot and drive and he’s such a big presence, so its probably the versatility. You have to be cautious of everything, you can’t leave too much room and you can’t get up too close, so its just like a balancing act pretty much the whole game.”
Quote of the Week: “Well you could do two things, you can sit there and whine and cry about it, or you get up and you fight. We’ve chosen to get up and fight.” – Iona head coach Tim Cluess on making up for the absence of Isaiah Williams (foot injury)
Other Notable Quote of the Week: “I never thought it was easy, right, but there’s a difference between being successful and winning… I don’t know what the bar is for us at Marist, since we’ve been in the MAAC. I told our team one of our goals, behind closed doors, was to finish in the top five so we’d have a bye. I don’t think that’s going to happen, but we can still get better as the season progresses, hopefully by playing the right way get a couple of wins so where we can keep our spirit and morale up and go into the MAAC tournament and make things interesting.” – Marist head coach Mike Maker
Other Notable Quote of the Week: “They’ve seen what it takes by how hard our other guys worked before them and that we were able to make a statement in the league in two years. Now, as this is the third year, our guys have gravitated to where I’m coming from and they know I want to win for them. They know I’m about them and we just want to continue to get better. I challenge them, I’m not afraid, I want these guys to be as good as they can be. I don’t want mediocrity from them, so they know that and I challenge them.” – Canisius head coach Jim Baron on if being picked 10th has made them a looser team
Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2014-15 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference and Hofstra for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.