LOUDONVILLE — Rising redshirt junior guard Don Carey is leaving the Siena men’s basketball program, the school’s athletic department announced Friday.
Carey, Siena’s fourth-leading scorer last season, has entered into the NCAA transfer portal. The 6-foot-5 guard from Maryland will be eligible to play immediately as a graduate transfer, and has two years of playing eligibility remaining.
While Carey had been penciled back into Siena’s starting lineup for the 2020-21 season, Siena head coach Carmen Maciariello said Friday in a phone interview that the talented guard opting to transfer was perhaps surprising given the timing, but not shocking. After playing for Jamion Christian as a freshman at Mount St. Mary’s, Carey transferred to Siena — and sat out, per NCAA rules — for Christian’s lone season leading the Saints. Maciariello, an assistant coach for Christian during the 2019-20 season, became the team’s head coach when Christian departed for George Washington.
“And I told [Carey]: Play for me, we’ll get you graduated, and if you want to leave and experience something else, you can,” Maciariello said.
An attempt to reach Carey for comment Friday was unsuccessful, but the guard likely would have had to sit out the 2019-20 season if he had transferred right after Christian’s departure. Instead, Carey started 28 games and scored 11.3 points per game during Siena’s 20-10 season that saw the Saints win the regular-season MAAC championship. Siena’s season closed with a 10-game winning streak when the remainder of the MAAC tournament was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“He wants to go somewhere and have the chance to have the ball in his hands more,” Maciariello said.
When Carey arrived at Siena, he was viewed as the team’s point guard of the future. While Carey sat out for the 2019-20 season, though, Jalen Pickett — now a rising junior — stepped into the point-guard position and delivered back-to-back seasons in which he earned first-team All-MAAC selections, and captured the MAAC Player of the Year award for the 2019-20 campaign.
That left Carey playing primarily in an off-ball role. The Saints did use Carey more as a ball-handler as last season went along, but he’s likely to seek a playing spot for his final two seasons of college basketball where he will have more opportunity to play point guard.
For Siena, Carey’s departure means the program has one open scholarship for the 2020-21 season. Maciariello said it’s possible the Saints will try to fill that spot, but that he’s also comfortable heading into next season with his current roster.
“I think you see what fits are out there,” Maciariello said. “We’re not going to rush anything.”