He gets to play close to home this weekend.
Next season, Andrew Sischo plans to keep playing at his home away from home.
Already the leading scorer in Daemen College men’s basketball program history, Sischo — a 2016 Guilderland High School graduate — said earlier this week he plans to take advantage of the extra year of playing eligibility the NCAA granted all winter athletes this season because of issues related to the pandemic, and will do so at the Amherst school where he’s become one of the top Division II players in the country.
“It’s one of those situations where there’s no reason to have me leave, I don’t want to leave — and I get to keep playing basketball,” Sischo said. “So it’s the perfect fit.”
This week, Sischo, a redshirt senior, leads his Daemen squad into the NCAA Division II basketball East Regional at Albany Capital Center that begins Saturday. Saint Rose is the host school for the six-team field, which includes Daemen as the No. 2 seed behind top-seeded St. Thomas Aquinas, which just defeated Daemen last weekend in the East Coast Conference championship game after those same two teams split a pair of games the previous weekend.
Daemen plays 8:45 p.m. Sunday against the winner of a Saturday matchup between No. 3 Bloomfield and No. 6 Nyack, while St. Thomas Aquinas plays Sunday against the winner of Saturday’s game between No. 4 Dominican and No. 5 Caldwell. Then, the winners of Sunday’s games meet Tuesday in the regional championship game.
Sischo, a 6-foot-9 center, is averaging 27 points and 13 rebounds per game for 8-5 Daemen, a squad which didn’t play its first game of the season until January 16 and had several players — including former Watervliet High School star Joey Atkins — opt out of the season because of concerns related to COVID-19. Sischo became the program’s all-time leading scorer last month and has scored more than 2,000 points in a career that’s already seen the 22-year-old earn multiple All-American honors.
Head coach Mike MacDonald said “it’s been a blessing” for the program to have the leadership of its fifth-year senior during this uncertain season.
“It’s great to have someone who has been around and knows the way that we do things,” MacDonald said. “We’ve been fortunate that we have Andrew to lean on.”
While he has continued to accrue individual accolades and accomplishments, Sischo said he mostly was just “grateful for the opportunity to play” any games this season with his teammates.
“Just seeing their growth has been the biggest accomplishment for me,” said Sischo, whose team’s 12-man active roster this season includes five freshmen.
Sischo was a high school star, but was lightly recruited. He headed out to Daemen “just to play a role,” but has instead developed into one of his program’s best players ever — and he already knows he gets to add to all of his impressive on-court credentials and statistics next season while finishing up his second degree from the school after previously earning an undergraduate degree in sports management.
“So it worked out perfectly,” Sischo said. “I get to play next year and finish up my MBA, too.”