Ogunyemi To Play For Siena This Season


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Siena received the news it was waiting for today as the NCAA rightfully certified Javion Ogunyemi eligible to play this upcoming season.

“It’s such a great feeling,” said Ogunyemi. “Ever since I’be been back I’ve been worried about whether I can play or not. To finally find out I can play is very stress relieving.”

The decision marks a huge plus for the Saints with the inclusion in the lineup of Ogunyemi who was one of last season’s most improved players. As one of the MAAC’s top returning big men, he is sure to have an impact for the Saints this season.

“I couldn’t help but do anything more than just smile,” said Ogunyemi on learning the news. “I was so happy. Coach was very happy for me. My team mates were very happy. It was just a good feeling.”

Also of note, this is a significant decision for the NCAA to make in light of what can be at times confusing and inconsistent rulings by the NCAA when it comes to transfers. This is a unified case and it is good to see logic won out as the stated purpose for student athletes sitting out is to give them the opportunity to acclimate to their new school. It this case, Ogunyemi is simply returning to the institution where he has been successful not only on the court but in the classroom as well for the last two years.

“I felt like even without me coming back we would still be very good,” Ogunyemi said.  “We’ve got guys who can score the ball. We’ve got guys who are very versatile. Adding me gives us a different look for our bigs. All of us are different. We all can bring different things.”

After transferring briefly to Boston University, where he spent time attending classes this summer, Ogunyemi made the decision to return to Siena having never competed for the BU Terriers. His reasons for wanting to return were real, a need to be back with family following the death of his cousin to gun fire in May.

It was significant, Ogunyemi received full support from BU coach Joe Jones who wrote a letter on his behalf supporting his eligibility request. In looking at the facts of the case, the NCAA made the right decision.

The Compliance Office has been working with the NCAA on his case since August.

Since Ogunyemi is not receiving an athletic scholarship this season he does not count toward the 13 limit.

“I’m happy for Javion,” Siena coach Jimmy Patsos said. “He’s a great person, and he’s been through a lot. He deserves some good news. Obviously, we’re thrilled to have him back, and I know our fans will be thrilled to see him on the court.”
Ogunyemi averaged 9.3 points and 4.8 rebounds for Siena last season and was one of just four players to appear in all 31 games, making 28 starts. He finished second in the conference in field goal percentage (54.6%), and was honored as Siena’s Leo Dufort Student Athlete of the Month in December.
Ogunyemi is expected to team with red-shirt senior Imoh Silas and red-shirt junior Brett Bisping to give Siena one of the most formidable frontlines in the MAAC. Silas missed all of last season after tearing his ACL, and Bisping missed the final 25 games after injuring his toe.
“It will just be great to be back on the court with my team mates,” Ogunyemi said. “Just to be back on the court playing for Siena is such a great feeling.”


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