Jared Billups, known as the heart and soul of McDonogh’s boys basketball team, plans to bring that same energy to Siena after committing on Monday.
The rising senior forward is excited to head to Albany, New York, to add to Siena’s strong 2019-20 club. The Saints went 20-10 (15-5 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play) and were set to make a run in the NCAA tournament before COVID-19 closed the doors in March.
“I love the coaching staff,” Billups said. “They have a great relationship with me along with my coaches at McDonogh and we play a similar style. I know coach Carmen [Maciariello] being a first-year coach, they were projected to be sixth and they ended up winning the league. That’s just dedication to how he coaches. Also, they’re an extremely basketball-oriented school. Everything in that area is surrounded by Siena basketball.”
Evan Fisher, a former Siena player, also played basketball for McDonogh. His knowledge of Siena’s program became an important source in Billups’s decision, according the Times Union.
Billups, who plans to major in economics, has a 3.6 GPA at McDonogh and wants to become a sports agent “once the ball stops rolling.”
Billups averaged 15.5 points and eight rebounds per game last season. He was the leading scorer for McDonogh, which went 15-17 and had a 6-6 record in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference.
When the coronavirus pandemic first began, Billups couldn’t find anywhere to shoot around or craft his skill. Two weeks into McDonogh’s closure, Billups began to practice at his friend’s house. Then, he ramped up things by going to a strength-performance coach and has worked out every day since.