Jimmy Patsos

Javion Ogunyemi,Alex Davis
Associated Press

Siena forward Javion Ogunyemi immediate eligibility

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After averaging 9.3 points and 4.8 rebounds in 31 games a season ago, Siena forward Javion Ogunyemi made the decision to transfer from the MAAC program. The Troy, New York native would eventually choose Boston University, but the tragic death of his cousin led to Ogunyemi’s decision to return to Siena after six weeks of summer school.

The question basketball-wise was whether or not Ogunyemi would have to miss any time, and Friday the school announced that the 6-foot-8 junior is immediately eligible for competition.

That’s big news for Siena, which now has another proven player in its front court to play alongside the likes of Brett Bisping and Imoh Silas. And with both of those players coming off of injuries that either cut their season short (Bisping) or ended it before it even began (Silas), having Ogunyemi available from the start is an important development for a team that aims to contend in the MAAC.

Siena, which now returns five of its top six scorers from a season ago, was picked to finish fifth in the MAAC preseason coaches poll earlier this month.

Siena applies for waiver on behalf of Javion Ogunyemi

Jimmy Patsos
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Javion Ogunyemi is back with the Saints and Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos hopes he’ll be eligible to play at the start of the 2015-16 season.

Siena has applied for a waiver from the NCAA to allow Ogunyemi to play immediately, according to a report on Monday afternoon from Mike Singelais of the Times-Union.

Ogunyemi averaged 9.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game as a sophomore for the Saints in 2014-15. Following the season, he decided to transfer, eventually enrolling at Boston University. Ogunyemi returned to Siena after a summer of taking courses at BU. The change of heart was sparked by a family tragedy, his cousin murdered in May in nearby Troy, New York.

“He’d like to play very badly and we’d like him to play very badly,” Patsos told the Times-Union. “It’s one of those situations where he’s coming back and there’s good reasons why. If you’re going to give a waiver, these are ones the NCAA should be proud of.”

Ogunyemi must apply for a waiver after taking classes at BU this summer. Per NCAA rules, he would have to sit out the 2015-16 season.

With Lavon Long, Brett Bisping and Imoh Silas, the Saints aren’t lacking any size on the inside. But the addition of Ogunyemi would be a boost for a team looking to make the jump and contend in the MAAC.

Siena opens the season on Nov. 13 against reigning national champion, Duke.

Junior forward returning to Siena after brief stint at Boston University

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Shortly after the end of the 2014-15 season, forward Javion Ogunyemi announced that he would be transferring from Siena. The Troy, New York native was a productive front court option for the Saints last season, averaging 9.3 points and 4.8 rebounds in just over 26 minutes of action per contest. Ogunyemi settled on Boston University, where he would have had two seasons of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2015-16 campaign, even enrolling in summer school.

However, a family tragedy has reportedly led to a change of heart and Ogunyemi will return to Siena. News of Ogunyemi’s decision was first reported by ESPN.com, with The Saratogian speaking with his high school coach about the situation that led to his return to Jimmy Patsos’ program.

For Ogunyemi, the move had to do with missing his family in Troy, especially after the recent murder of his cousin in Troy, Hurley said.

“He finished out school and tried to fight through it and he really wanted to stay,” Hurley said. “At the end of the six-week period there he realized that he just needed to be home. Nothing wrong with BU, nothing wrong with the program. He left with great things to say about coach (Joe) Jones and he feels bad, but it was just the best thing to be back with his family and that’s where he wanted to be.”

It’s likely that Ogunyemi would need a waiver from the NCAA to be eligible to compete in 2015-16, along the lines of Jerome Seagears’ experience when he decided to transfer from Rutgers to Auburn only to change his mind a few months later. Seagears received the waiver, playing for then first-year head coach Eddie Jordan in 2013-14 before deciding to transfer to UNLV where he’ll play in 2015-16.

What makes Ogunyemi’s situation even more complicated is the fact that Siena’s accounted for all 13 of its scholarships in 2015-16. The Saints, who are expected to be a contender in the MAAC this upcoming season, added two spring signees in Kinnon LaRose and Nico Clareth and also picked up former Richmond guard Kadeem Smithen in late-June.

In the front court Siena welcomes back leading rebounder Lavon Long, and they’ll also have two veterans in Brett Bisping and Imoh Silas who were largely unavailable in 2014-15 (Bisping played in six games) due to injury. The Saints also have sophomore Willem Brandwijk, and 6-foot-9 freshman Evan Fisher will be on board as well.

Suspension of sophomore guard leaves Siena with eight available scholarship players

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Having already been hit hard by the injury bug in recent weeks, the Siena Saints announced Friday that sophomore guard Patrick Cole has been suspended indefinitely. Cole, who began his college career at Coppin State, is averaging 8.4 points and 2.7 rebounds in 17.4 minutes per game.

“This was done with Patrick and our team’s best interests at heart,” Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos said in the release. “It wasn’t one incident; he just needs to take some time away from basketball and refocus his priorities. It’s not an easy decision to make, but we’re trying to rebuild a proud program the right way.

“There are standards and expectations everyone is expected to meet.”

While no timeframe was provided in regards to when Cole will be allowed to rejoin the team, Siena did state in the release that he “is welcome to come back to Siena” when the spring semester begins January 12. As a result of Cole’s suspension the Saints are down to eight available scholarship players for their game at Radford Friday night.

Forwards Lavon Long and Brett Bisping are both out for health reasons, with Long dealing with a high ankle sprain and Bisping a dislocated toe that required surgery.

Already lacking front court depth, Siena loses starting forward to ankle injury

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Less than two weeks after senior forward Brett Bisping went down with a toe injury that required surgery, Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos has another personnel loss to deal with. According to Mark Singelais of the Albany Times-Union, sophomore forward Lavon Long suffered a high left ankle sprain during practice Wednesday afternoon.

While initial reports had the 6-foot-7 Long missing anywhere from two to three weeks, Siena issued a release declaring Long to be “day-to-day.” Yet with that being the case the school has ruled Long out for the team’s game at Radford Friday night.

Long’s started all eight games for Siena this season, averaging 9.9 points,  5.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 28 minutes of action per contest. Long’s most productive game came in Siena’s loss t Rider December 7, as he scored 16 points and grabbed five rebounds in 31 minutes of action.

Without Long the expectation is that senior Rob Poole, the team’s leading scorer, will shift into the small forward role. But what’s of even greater importance for Siena is that they’ll be playing without their top two rebounders for the time being. Poole is grabbing an average of 4.3 rebounds per game and players such as Javion Ogunyemi, Willem Brandwijk and Jimmy Paige (who averages just 3.2 minutes per game) will need to step up.

The Saints, who are 1-1 in MAAC play, won’t play another conference game until they visit Fairfield January 3.

Siena sophomore big man opts to transfer

Jimmy Patsos

Siena is losing a sophomore big man that likely wasn’t going to play this season to begin win. According to head coach Jimmy Patsos, 6-foot-9 forward Michael Wolfe will be transferring out of the program at semester’s end. Wolfe had not appeared in a game this season and was likely to redshirt.

In a story from Mike Singelais of the Times Union, Patsos spoke on Wolfe leaving and said part of the reason was the sophomore wanting to be closer to his hometown of Germantown, Md.

“Mike’s transferring,” Patsos said. “Mike Wolfe’s a great guy. He was going to redshirt, anyway, this year … There’s nothing wrong. Mike Wolfe’s going to go closer to home and he wants to go where he can play a lot of minutes. That is what is going in America today at every single college. This isn’t just about him.”

Wolfe appeared in all but two games last season for Siena, averaging 5 minutes a game. He averaged 1.8 points and 0.6 rebounds per game as a freshman.