The newest Saint won’t take long to join the rest of them.
Dana Tate, a transfer from Rhode Island who announced his commitment Saturday night to join the Siena men’s basketball program with a social-media post, expects to enroll this week at the college and start practicing soon with the team.
“I want to come in and do whatever I can to help the team win,” Tate said Sunday in a phone interview.
That won’t include playing this season, as the 6-foot-7, 230-pound forward will need to sit out the remainder of the 2019-20 season after playing in eight games this season for Rhode Island. Tate said he is “crossing my fingers” that he’d be able to receive an NCAA waiver to play at the start of the 2020-21 season, but he’d otherwise need to wait until after the conclusion of the 2020 fall semester to join the Saints in uniform.
When Tate is able to play, the Boston native should add an athletic presence in the Siena frontcourt and will likely play meaningful minutes right away. While Tate produced modest statistics at Rhode Island — in 41 appearances, he averaged four points and 2.8 rebounds in 16.6 minutes per game — he was rated as a four-star recruit by ESPN coming out of high school, and his combination of size and quickness should make him a difficult matchup for MAAC opponents.
Tate left the Rhode Island program in late December and entered into the NCAA’s transfer portal. Tate said Siena head coach Carmen Maciariello and assistant coach Antoni Wyche led the program’s recruitment of the sophomore, and that he’d previously had a relationship with Maciariello when the then-George Washington assistant had recruited him during his high-school days.
“They’re really cool,” Tate said of Maciariello and Wyche. “I think they’ll help me develop as a player and as a young man, which I was looking for.”
Before he left the Rhode Island program, Tate had been suspended for three games for an undisclosed violation of team rules. He had originally committed to Rhode Island when Dan Hurley — now at UConn — was the program’s head coach, and said there were a few prior occasions in which he’d considered leaving Rhode Island since Hurley was no longer there.
“But the coaching staff that’s there, there was no problems with them,” Tate said of the staff that David Cox leads. “They were a great staff.”
Tate said he attended Siena’s Jan. 9 win against Saint Peter’s in Albany, then visited the school last week.
“Loved the campus,” Tate said. “Met the guys, and they’re all cool dudes.”
Tate said a number of schools contacted him, but Siena was the one he “liked the most.” Siena also had multiple open scholarships, which helped create an opening for Tate to join the Saints right away. Tate listed off current Saints such as Manny Camper, Gary Harris and Jalen Pickett as players he’s excited to team with next season, while he said he also knows Aidan Carpenter — a freshman on next season’s team who is joining the Saints as a practice player for the spring semester — from when the two players competed for the same Expressions Elite AAU program.
While he cannot play right away for the Saints, Tate — like Elijah Burns and Don Carey did last season — should play a valuable role for Siena this season by increasing competition on the practice floor.
“I want to make my mark on the team and help the team win however I can,” Tate said.