LOUDONVILLE — Just days before the Siena men’s basketball team officially starts its preseason, the program announced that forwards Harrison Curry and Jackson Stormo received NCAA waivers that make them immediately eligible to play during the 2020-21 season.
“Just excited to have them both able to play and thankful for the hard work from [Siena Assistant Athletic Director/Compliance] Steven Bari and our compliance office to take the lead on this, and see this thing through the finish line,” Siena second-year head coach Carmen Maciariello said Friday during a phone interview.
Curry is a 6-foot-7 graduate transfer from Detroit Mercy, while the 6-foot-9 Stormo is a junior who transferred to Siena from Pepperdine.
Since Curry committed to Siena in May, it was known he’d need an NCAA waiver to be able to play for the Saints since the 2020-21 academic year is Curry’s sixth in college, and the NCAA’s policy is athletes need to complete their four competition seasons within a five-year window. Originally, though, it was not expected Siena would seek a waiver for Stormo, and that the 247-pound forward would use the 2020-21 season to redshirt and further develop his game.
Maciariello said the recent decision from the NCAA to allow all Division I winter athletes an extra year of eligibility due to concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic served as a catalyst to change Stormo’s outlook for the 2020-21 season. Essentially, since playing won’t rob Stormo of a year of eligibility, he will still use this season to develop his game — but that development could lead to the California native moving into the Saints’ playing rotation a year ahead of schedule.
“It made sense for us to try for [the waiver],” Maciariello said.
Maciariello described Stormo as a “versatile, skilled 5-man” and Curry as a “4 or 5, depending on if we’re playing small or big.”
Curry spent two years at Pensacola State — a junior college — before transferring to Louisiana Tech, where he only played one game because of a knee injury during the 2017-18 season. After spending a year at Louisiana Tech, Curry averaged 7.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game during the 2018-19 season for Detroit Mercy. He was injured toward the end of that season at Detroit Mercy, and then didn’t play at all during the 2019-20 season at Detroit Mercy.
Stormo appeared in 35 games and played 186 minutes at Pepperdine. In two seasons, Stormo scored 31 points and grabbed 38 rebounds.
The addition of Curry and Stormo to Siena’s active roster means the Saints will enter the 2020-21 season with 12 scholarship players available to play.
Siena’s first preseason practice is set for Monday, but the team’s non-conference schedule remains unfinalized as college basketball programs across the country continue to retool their schedules following the NCAA’s pandemic-related decision to move the season’s start date from Nov. 10 to Nov. 25.
Siena is expected to start its season with a Nov. 25 game at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut.