Kyle Arrington will join the Siena men’s basketball program with a two-part plan.
Part 1 is to use the 2020-21 season to do whatever he can to further develop his game.
Part 2 is to contribute on the court to as many wins during the 2021-22 season as possible.
“I’m used to winning and that’s one of the main reasons I wanted to go there,” Arrington said Friday in a phone interview after committing Thursday to join the reigning MAAC champions.
At Western Illinois last season, winning wasn’t something that happened often during a 5-21 season. Prior to that, the 6-foot-10 Arrington played two seasons for Kirkwood Community College in Iowa where his teams finished a combined 55-10 and won a NJCAA Division-II national title in 2019.
Arrington left Western Illinois after averaging 4.1 points and 3.8 rebounds in 12.6 minutes per game as a junior. From Council Bluffs, Iowa, Arrington said he first spoke with Siena assistant coach Harley Fuller before talking with Saints head coach Carmen Maciariello.
“And, honestly, as soon as I got off the phone with coach Carm — the first time talking to him — I was just so impressed. It felt right,” Arrington said. “It felt like something good was happening.”
Arrington — who won’t turn 21 years old until next month — will initially join the Saints as a walk-on and won’t play during the 2020-21 season. Even if the offseason’s proposal to allow all Division I athletes a one-time transfer waiver passes and is immediately applied, Arrington said his plan is to sit out the upcoming season and suit up for the Saints — on scholarship — for the 2021-22 season.
“I know that I want to be there,” Arrington said of Siena, “and I want to do whatever it takes to be there. . . . I really couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be at Siena.”
With Arrington not taking a scholarship for next season, Siena still has two open scholarships available for the 2020-21 season assuming that Manny Camper withdraws from the NBA draft and returns for his senior season.
The 235-pound Arrington described himself as a “true 5,” but said he’s a capable shooter from the perimeter despite not having opportunities to show that during his college career to this point. Last season, Arrington missed both 3-point shots he attempted, but made 60.6% of his 2-point attempts.
Arrington said he plans to pursue a business degree at Siena, and will likely be able to at least start on graduate-level work during his two years at the school. He’d like to pursue playing professionally after his time at Siena, and views the upcoming year as a crucial one.
“I want to get to that next level, and I don’t think I’m there yet,” Arrington said. “So getting this extra year of development is really important for me and stuck out to me. To be able to develop my game is the biggest thing for me.”