Junior guard Nico Clareth will not return to the Siena men’s basketball program, according to a statement issued by the Siena athletic communications office Wednesday afternoon.
Junior guard Nico Clareth and the Siena Basketball program have reached a mutual decision to part ways. Clareth intends to complete the academic year at Siena College, then transfer following the conclusion of the upcoming spring semester to finish his collegiate academics and basketball eligibility.
“We appreciate what Nico has given to the program over the past two-plus years,” said head coach Jimmy Patsos. “We agree that this is the best way for both Nico and our team to move forward, and he will always be a part of the family.”
“Right now what’s best for me, my family, and the team, is for me to step away,” said Clareth. “I appreciate the opportunity that was given to me at Siena, and I’m thankful for the chance to be able to finish out the school year before transferring to continue my pursuit of a college degree. I would also like to give a special thanks to the fans for the support I received during my time here.”
Clareth had missed the team’s previous two games against Niagara and Canisius after shooting just 3-18 for a combined nine points in the Saints’ opening league games against Marist and Quinnipiac.
The Baltimore native had been named team captain prior to the start of the season following the graduation of seniors Marquis Wright, Brett Bisping, Javion Ogunyemi, and Lavon Long. Siena has no seniors listed on this season’s roster.
“This guy’s a good guy, he’s a smart guy and a family member,” Patsos added in a following press conference. “There’s no ill will; it’s just what’s best for everyone. He was the one who said ‘I think I’m done, I don’t want to hurt the team. I’m really happy you guys won,’ so if you’re looking for some angle that there’s all this anger or fighting or anything, it’s not there.”
Clareth had been the team’s leading scorer with 15.1 ppg this season. He broke onto the scene as a freshman in 2015-16 averaging 13.1 ppg en route to a unanimous selection to the league’s All-Rookie team.
As a sophomore last season Clareth averaged 13.7 ppg, but his most indelible moment came in the MAAC tournament semifinals. With Siena trailing top-ranked Monmouth by 14 at the break and Clareth dealing with a foot issue, the sophomore nailed seven three-pointers and scored 27 points after the half to lead the Saints into the finals.
In Clareth’s absence, both freshman Jordan Horn and sophomore Ahsante Shivers should continue to see added minutes. Horn is averaging 20.5 ppg in 34 minutes per game over his last two games without Clareth while Shivers has played 31.5 mpg and averaged 12.5 ppg over that span.
Clareth caps his Siena tenure just 24 points shy of 1,000 for his career.
Vincent Simone covers the MAAC, Hofstra, and more for NYC Buckets. You can follow him on Twitter @VTSimone.