Siena men’s basketball shuts down again because of coronavirus


Promising sophomore guard Gary Harris Jr. won’t play another game for the Siena men’s basketball team. He entered the NCAA transfer portal on Friday.

Now the question is when the remaining Saints will actually compete in a game this season. Harris’ departure became the secondary news of the day when the Saints also announced the team is going on pause for a third time this season because of coronavirus.

Siena’s games at Drexel on Tuesday, at home against Canisius on Dec. 26 and 27 and at home against Towson on Dec. 29 have been postponed. The next games on the schedule are against Monmouth at the Alumni Recreation Center on Jan. 1 and 2. The Canisus games had already been rescheduled from last weekend.

Siena said it has notified the Albany County Department of Health, and is in adherence with New York State and the college’s COVID-19 protocols. The individuals who tested positive have been isolated, and appropriate Tier 1 contacts have been quarantined, according to Siena.

The Saints, the preseason favorite to win the league, are the only team in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference that hasn’t played a game yet. NCAA rules require Division I teams to play a a minimum of 13 games to be eligible for the NCAA Tournament, though programs that are shy can apply for a waiver.

“Obviously this is disappointing for our team and our loyal fans, but we must put the health and well-being of our student athletes above everything else,” head coach Carmen Maciariello said in a news release. “The team has been working hard, and this is just another obstacle that we will overcome. We can’t wait to get back on the court and play Siena Basketball.”

Maciariello and athletic director John D’Argenio didn’t return messages.

It was unclear how the program keeps testing positive when the players are housed on campus while the rest of the student body is home for winter break. Siena just came out of its latest quarantine on Monday night at midnight.

Siena said it has maintained “strict compliance” with NCAA and MAAC adopted COVID-19 guidance, as well as local Department of Health protocols.

The players were supposed to move to a hotel soon with the campus shutting down for the winter.

“I think these guys know our season depends on us following the rules and doing everything we can that we can control so that doesn’t happen again,” Maciariello said during a Zoom call Thursday. “We have talked about what we’re doing when campus shuts down … Guys have to move off campus and how we’re not having any visitors and how we’ll have staff on the floor and how if they need anything, we can go for them, the staff can go for them, if they need stuff at CVS and whatnot. Really, just trying to limit their outside exposure. When we go on the road, we’re wearing masks on the bus and we’re still getting tested three times a week.”

Siena’s usual testing days are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The Siena women are already on their second quarantine after getting a positive test result following season-opening losses to Fairfield last weekend.

As for Harris, who is transferring, Maciareillo suggested in a release homesickness could have ben a factor for the Californian.

“We thank Gary for his contributions to the program,” Maciariello said. “We are facing unprecdented and challenging times, and being closer to home is what’s best for Gary at this moment.”

“Yes it’s true (he’s transferring),” Harris texted, without further comment. He departs in good academic standing, the school said.

Harris showed flashes of talent and athleticism during his freshman season and his insertion into the starting lineup was a contributing factor in the Saints’ 10-game winning streak to end last season.

The 6-foot-7, 200-pound guard averaged 5.3 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.

His departure comes on the heels of Rhode Island transfer Dana Tate Jr. being dismissed from the team before ever playing a game for the Saints.
Siena guard Don Carey left the program as a graduate transfer to Georgetown over the summer.

[email protected] • 518-454-5509 • @MarkSingelais


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