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Men’s basketball looking to stay healthy in preseason

By: Aidan Joly

Staying healthy has been the name of the game for Canisius men’s basketball as it prepares to begin the season in a few weeks.

The Griffs, who did not have a normal season last year with one of the longest COVID-19 pauses in the country, finished 7–6 in what amounted to less than half of a normal regular season in terms of number of games played. Now, they are preparing for a normal non-conference and MAAC schedule.

The team has dealt with some injuries in practice this fall, but that has allowed many different players to step up in practice and that is something they must hope translates to gameplay.

“Seemingly, it’s been a different guy here or there. Some of that’s because we’ve had maybe almost everybody out at one point,” head coach Reggie Witherspoon said during Thursday morning’s MAAC coaches Zoom call. “A number of guys really had a good summer in terms of weight training and conditioning and meeting their goals for where we wanted them to be.”

As a result of that, Witherspoon will be trying to play as many players as he can during the team’s exhibition game on Sunday afternoon against Division II Wheeling. The team will definitely be without freshman Tahj Staveskie, who recently announced that he is out for the season after having surgery to repair a broken foot. Armon Harried has dealt with his own foot injury for most of the offseason, but he was working to get back into practice throughout the week and his status for Sunday’s game is still unclear.

“We’re hopeful that we can get everybody some minutes, everybody that’s healthy enough to get some minutes,” Witherspoon said. “All of these things add up to an opportunity for us to go into the locker room as we used to, because we didn’t do that last year; it’s an opportunity to go through the whole gameday experience.”

In addition to that, Witherspoon revealed that Malek Green had knee surgery during last season but did not miss any time due to the team’s COVID stoppages. He has been working to rehab his knee in the offseason and should be back to real game shape soon. On Tuesday, Green was named to the preseason all-MAAC third team, the only Griff to receive the honor. The Griffs were picked last in the preseason poll.

Overall, the team is getting ready to get back on the floor on a regular basis and get in some games.

Coach Witherspoon said, “I just think that overall, we made some strides last year and we need to continue to do that.”

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