LOUDONVILLE — Roman Penn said Thursday he does not plan to return to the Siena College men’s basketball program.
Penn, coming off a freshman season in which he was the Saints’ best all-around player, said he informed Siena head coach Jamion Christian of his decision Wednesday. The point guard has visited Kent State since receiving his release from Siena and has plans to visit Wright State before the end of May.
“I don’t know yet where I am going, just that I know I’m not going to go back,” Penn said. “I just know I want to look at different options. I want to make a decision soon.”
After former head coach Jimmy Patsos’ resignation in mid-April following an 8-24 season, three freshmen received releases from the Saints. Jordan Horn has already announced he will transfer to North Dakota State, while Prince Oduro and Penn are still determining which school each will play for next.
Shortly after Christian’s hire a couple weeks ago, it was also re-confirmed that junior Nico Clareth would not rejoin the program.
Of the players looking to leave Siena, Christian spoke the most highly of Penn.
“I love Roman Penn. I think Roman Penn is a championship-level player. I think he’s a guy you can build your program around,” Christian said last week. “I think he’s a really important piece, so we’re really working to make sure he understands that. … We’re really working hard on making him feel the love.”
Penn said he liked Christian — “Great guy and Siena is in great hands” — and felt wanted back at Siena, but a fresh start elsewhere was deemed more appealing. Penn said he hadn’t thought about transferring from Siena during the season, but declined to address if he would have been back with the Saints for his sophomore season if Patsos had remained the program’s coach.
Penn, who arrived at Siena midway through the 2016-17 season as a practice player, said he didn’t regret the decision he made to initially join the Saints.
“I enjoyed [Siena],” Penn said. “I’ll never regret that decision.”
Penn averaged 9.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists during the 2017-18 season. He missed the season’s final month after needing surgery on his left heel, but said he has been working out for the past month and expects to be fully cleared soon.
“I feel good,” Penn said. “I’ve been putting in a lot of work.”
Penn will have to sit out next season, but will have three seasons of playing eligibility remaining. Besides Kent State and Wright State, Penn said he has received interest from a number of programs from a wide variety of levels.
“I just want to find a good fit,” Penn said, “and get back to playing basketball.”
Since Christian’s hire, Siena has received commitments from incoming freshmen Jalen Pickett and Sloan Seymour. With Penn’s departure, the Saints appear to have two open scholarships for the 2018-19 season.