Jimmy Patsos

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.

Manhattan point guard granted fifth year of eligibility

RaShawn Stores, Kelvin Amayo
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The Manhattan Jaspers have reached the NCAA tournament in each of the last two seasons, and one of the reasons why has been point guard RaShawn Stores. While his averages (6.3 ppg, 3.0 apg) may not jump off the page, the 5-foot-11 Stores has been an important leader for Steve Masiello’s team.

And that’s what makes the head coach’s announcement that Stores has been granted a fifth year of eligibility so important for the Jaspers as they look to make a third straight trip to the tournament.

Stores sat out his freshman campaign for academic reasons, and in those cases an athlete can regain the year lost provided they take care of business in the classroom. Stores has done that, giving Manhattan a valuable piece they know they can rely on in 2015-16.

Other key contributors due back in Riverdale include guards Shane Richards and Rich Williams, with the former being the team’s leading returning scorer with an average of 13.2 points per game last season. With those players back, Manhattan should once again be right in the thick of things in the MAAC.

Monmouth guard Micah Seaborn expected to be eligible this season

King Rice
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Monmouth’s perimeter rotation, which was already going to be deep in 2015-16, will have another player to call upon as they look to be a factor in the MAAC race.

6-foot-5 guard Micah Seaborn, who sat out last season as a non-qualifier, is expected to be eligible to compete for the Hawks this upcoming season. According to Josh Newman of the Asbury Park Press, Seaborn needed to complete 24 credits in order to be declared eligible to play with the guard stating on Twitter Saturday that he’ll be able to suit up for King Rice’s team.

Seaborn completed his high school career at Prime Prep in Dallas, Texas, and he’s one of two guards the Hawks will add who sat out last season. The other is Je’lon Hornbeak, who played two seasons at Oklahoma before transferring to Monmouth in 2014.

Hornbeak was able to join his teammates on a trip to China this spring, something Seaborn missed out on due to his need to shore things up academically. Adding these two to a perimeter rotation that will be led by veterans Justin Robinson and Deon Jones, the Hawks’ top two scorers from a season ago, gives Monmouth a nice boost.

The question for the Hawks as they look to compete with likes of Iona, Manhattan and Siena in what should be an entertaining MAAC race, will be whether or not the front court can make its mark. With Brice Kofane, the team’s leading rebounder last season, out of eligibility they’ll need more production from centers Zac Tillman (4.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg) and Chris Brady (4.0, 3.0).