Former Siena basketball players get world view of coronavirus

Posted on 08.24.2020 |

Anosike, Moore, Rossiter all overseas when pandemic struck.

They played together on the last Siena men’s basketball team to participate in the NCAA Tournament in 2009-10.

A decade later, O.D. Anosike, Ronald Moore and Ryan Rossiter have shared an entirely different experience — being overseas in the middle of a global pandemic.

Anosike plays professionally in South Korea and Rossiter is on a franchise in Japan. Moore returned from France last weekend, leaving his team earlier than planned because of the coronavirus threat.

“It’s worrisome to be away and now that flights are canceling and airports are closing it’s becoming more difficult to focus on basketball,” said Rossiter, a Staten Island native.  “But a lot of other players with families and young children have more to worry about so I’m more concerned with my teammates. I check in with my family daily and everyone at home is doing well and trying to isolate as much as possible.”

Japan’s B.League suspended play in February before briefly resuming with no fans. It halted again after two instances in which players or officials developed fevers. Rossiter and his teammates continue to practice while waiting on a decision to resume the season.

“Japan has not issued any sort of quarantine or self-isolation to the general public, but our trainers and staff try to keep us outside of crowds and restaurants,’’ said Rossiter, Siena’s career rebounding leader with 1,151.

Anosike said he’s actually happy to still be in South Korea, though he plans on coming home in a week or so because his league canceled its season this week.

“Just seeing how the numbers are relatively stable here, compared to the U.S., I’m in no rush to get home,’’ said Anosike, also from Staten Island.

Anosiike has been in South Korea since Feb. 20. He played only one game before the season was suspended and then called off.

Anosike, second only to Rossiter at Siena with 1,076 career rebounds, tested negative for coronavirus after developing a sore throat.

“It’s much different than probably what you guys are experiencing in the U.S.,’’ Anosike said. “There’s very little fear and trepidation and very little hysteria. I think the cultural difference between the U.S. and Korea is mainly the South Koreans listen. You don’t have to tell them something over and over for them to get it. They understood the seriousness of the virus from day one and that’s one of the reasons they’ve been able to get their numbers under control relatively quick.”

Moore was in agreement, taking to his Facebook page to chastise Americans who are still gathering in public places against the advice of the authorities.

But he was still eager to get back to the United States with his wife and son after the U.S. State Department urged Americans to avoid all international travel.

He left his team in the city of Pau, located in the south of France on the northern edge of the Pyrenees. The country is on lockdown and Moore said he needed a document to venture outside of his house, and then only for essentials such as heading to work, buying food or seeking medical care.

“It was a pretty strange time, really, seeing some of these people in the airport, everybody with masks on,’’ Moore said. “People keeping their distance and people that were actually crying.”

Siena’s Ryan Rossiter (22), center, shoots for the hoop as Manhattan’s Kidani Brutus (50), left and Michael Alvarado (31) defend during their basketball game at the MAAC Championships on Friday, March 4, 2011, at Webster Band Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Conn. (Cindy Schultz / Times Union)

His thoughts were also with Italy, the country where he played for five seasons before moving to France. Italy has been hit especially hard by COVID-19 with 6,820 deaths through Tuesday, according to the World Health Organization.

Former Siena guard Kenny Hasbrouck, a Moore teammate from 2006 to 2009, is playing in Italy for Tezenis Scaligera Verona.

“It’s crazy how this thing is peaking so fast and how it’s affecting so many lives,’’ Moore said. “I couldn’t imagine being there (in Italy) in that situation.”

Moore is back with his family in his hometown of Conshohocken, Pa., Siena’s career assist leader (823) is doing work around the house and trying to stay in shape without being able to go to the gym. There are no NCAA Tournament games for him to watch. Moore’s signature moments at Siena were a pair of 3-pointers he made to help beat Ohio State in double overtime in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.

His alma mater was the MAAC favorite to return to this year’s NCAA Tournament before everything was called off.

“I definitely feel devastated for those players, not only seniors, from the high-school level to the college level, not being able to experience March Madness,’’ he said. “The one moment of my career that stands out happened in March Madness and any player able to experience something like that is getting robbed of that experience.”