Nico Clareth Ready To Get Buckets and More For Siena

nico clareth

Freshman Nico Clareth comes to Siena on a mission. While aware of where Siena Basketball is right now, he is equally aware of where it’s been in the not so distant past. That is why he came here. To help bring it back. He knows that with the support of the fans, this team can work its way back to the top of the MAAC.

“The fans, the fan base and the arena played a big part in it and Coach Patsos did as well, ” says Clareth on his reasons for coming to Loudonville. “Also, I wanted to be a part of a building program. We were well established in the past and I’m trying to help get us back to where we were before.”

A talented and highly-recruited player from Calvert Hall College High School in Baltimore, Clareth had a lot of options. Coach Jimmy Patsos has already penciled him in as a possible starter.

“The recruiting process for me was pretty hectic but I had a few people that I trusted, mentors and coaches telling me about Siena. It’s not that they made the decision for me. They just gave me a lot of insight. They gave me insight into other programs as well. I just looked at all my options and said this is the best place for me.”

Clareth competed with fellow freshman Evan Fisher for Baltimore Elite in the Nike EYBL AAU circuit where he averaged 17.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.9 steals per game last summer. It was playing against that high-level competition that his confidence emerged and where he was able to showcase his ability to score.

“I’m very fiery and passionate,” Clareth says in describing his game. “I like to get buckets as I say. I like to score. I’ll do whatever it takes to win.”

That fire and passion as a player makes a perfect match as far as he is concerned with Coach Patsos.

“There’s intensity but its good intensity.”  says Clareth about Patsos. “His energy is just a reflection of how he wants you to be on the court. He’s very passionate about the game and everybody knows that. You can see that when he’s coaching and you just want to match his intensity and show why he’s so passionate. He knows that we can do great things so we just try to live up to our potential.”

The dichotomy of Patsos’ intensity mixed with his knack for making his players laugh in practice ties in nicely with how Clareth views the game he loves.

“That’s basketball really,” Clareth said. “It’s the same thing with the players. You can have a little fight in a scrimmage or trash talk to our teammates but after that we’re cracking up and we’re still friends. That’s just on the court. It’s two different things. This is business. We all take it seriously. It’s a whole different level of intensity when you’re on the court. Everybody, from the coaching staff, to the trainers, to the players.”

Along with fellow freshmen Fisher, Kinnon LaRose and Kenny Wormley, Clareth is experiencing life as a college player for the first time this summer. He describes what that transition has been like.

“Basketball-wise the biggest adjustment is the pace of the game,” Clareth said. “Everything is much faster. The first few days were a bit of a struggle because of the time off before we got here. But weightlifting, strength training, working out and skills training is something that I’m pretty used to.”

“Getting stronger, getting my ball-handling tighter and being more consistent with the jump shot,” are the things that Clareth is focused on in preparing for the upcoming season. So far, Clareth has been more than pleased with his decision to come to Siena.

“My impressions are the same thing I expected coming in. It’s a strong family community. It’s definitely a small school. That has its advantages. Everybody kind of knows your name on campus. We take pride in that. It’s been pretty good.”

In a few short weeks, he has gotten a good taste of what the program and the surrounding area have to offer.

“At the ice cream social I got to talk to the supporters. Then, Coach Patsos taking us out to state parks to Lake George, Glimmer Glass, I’ve just been having a blast so far. When we went to Glimmerglass that was beautiful. Coming from Baltimore I don’t really see that much green. It’s a great experience. It’s a nice get-away from the city life and all the Baltimore stuff.”

Off the court, Clareth tells that he loves to fish and is a fan of boxing but is also a huge fan of soccer. It is no coincidence that his favorite player is a fiery international star who is known for scoring, “I’m a Zlatan Ibrahimović fan. Whatever team he goes to that’s who I support.”

For now, the focus is on getting better and coming together as a team for in a few short months, the Saints will be jumping full force into the fire as they face national powers Duke and Wisconsin in their first two games. Clareth does not shy away from the challenge as he explains his thoughts upon learning about the Saints’ season openers.

“First thing I thought was, we can win both of these games,” Clareth said. “I’m not accustomed to losing. I don’t like losing. I hate it. I don’t lose much at all actually. I thought it was a great way for everybody to know who Siena Basketball is again like how we did in 2008-2010. It’s a great time for me to represent for Baltimore and everybody else.”

His aspirations are high with no question but dreaming big is part of what gets you there.

“My high expectations are not to just win the championship but to go win the MAAC Championship and get as far as the Sweet 16 at least in the NCAA Tournament,” explains Clareth. Whatever comes along with that, as long as we’re winning is good.”


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