Gomis had not dressed for the last four games and was said to be taking some time away to deal with a personal matter. He returned to his home in Chicago following the semester after recently informing Siena head coach Mitch Buonaguro and athletic director John D’Argenio of his desire to leave the program for family reasons.
“We’re sorry to see Lionel go, but respect his decision,” Buonaguro said.
Gomis from Dakar, Senegal came to Siena from Blair Academy, (N.J.)) and served a year in residence last season. Prior to the beginning of his career at Siena, he was declared ineligible by the NCAA citing a rule limiting the time allowed to complete high school requirements. He was originally granted just one year of eligibility but following an appeal on his behalf by Siena, the NCAA adjusted his eligibility to three years. He only appeared in one game for Siena, playing just two minutes in the season opener vs. Vermont this year.
During the preseason Gomis described sitting out last season.
“It was very devastating at first.” said Gomis. “It was very stressful. I had Coach B and my team backing me up and supporting me so I thought I’m going to just learn from it; learn the game and get better.”
Gomis’ prep school coach Joe Mantengna told Times Union reporter Mark Singelais that Gomis plans to transfer to a school closer to his home in Chicago.
Here is a statement from Lionel Gomis:
“I would like to thank Siena, Coach Buonaguro and his staff for the great opportunity to have been a part of Siena’s men’s basketball program.
I am grateful for all the support the president, Father Kevin Mullen, athletic director John D’Argenio, and all the athletic department for helping me get through last year with the eligibility issue. They battled very hard for me so I could have back the years of taken away by the NCAA ruling. That alone shows what Siena is all about.
However, I believe at this time it is in my best interest to find a new destination close to loved ones who will cheer me on and motivate me to be the best I can be. For me to be successful, I need to be around the people who understand and know what I’ve been through. The feeling of just being around them will make my journey less stressful and help me focus on what I am here to do – get a good education and succeed on the court as well.
I am forever thankful to my coaches, teammates, friends, fans and the entire Siena Community for everything and wish the basketball program the best going forward.
I plan to enroll in a a new school for the spring semesterbut I have not yet determined where it will be!”
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