Siena men’s basketball sophomore King enters into NCAA transfer portal; assistant coach Fuller leaving program

Jordan King. (File phot)
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Jordan King. (File phot)

LOUDONVILLE — Jordan King is looking for a fresh start.

That means the Siena men’s basketball program needs a new starting guard.

King, an Albany native who was a Section II high school star at CBA, entered Thursday into the NCAA transfer portal. Verbalcommits.com first reported that King had entered into the transfer portal, and King confirmed in a phone interview with The Daily Gazette that his basketball career at Siena is complete.

“I need a change of scenery,” King said.

Later Thursday night, Harley Fuller — a Broadalbin-Perth High School graduate — announced with a social-media post that he was “stepping away” from his position as an assistant coach with the Siena program. Fuller was the director of men’s basketball operations during Jamion Christian’s season leading the program, then was an assistant coach during Carmen Maciariello’s first two seasons as head coach.

“It has been a blessing and honor to learn and grow as a coach and a person under the tutelage of Coach Carm and Coach Christian,” Fuller wrote, in part, in his social-media post.

Fuller could not be reached for further comment.

“Harley and I had a great talk, and he and his family have decided to pursue some other coaching opportunities,” Maciariello wrote in a text message to The Daily Gazette. “He has my full support in doing so and I thank him for his time here at Siena. He has truly been a great asset to this program and we are sad to see him go. I look forward to watching him continue on his coaching journey, and wish him nothing but the best moving forward.”

King, a 20-year-old sophomore, said his decision to transfer wasn’t because of how the season played out on the court. A preferred walk-on when he headed to Siena as a freshman, King was a scholarship player as a sophomore, and averaged 12.2 points per game and earned an All-MAAC third-team selection during a 2020-21 season that saw the Saints win a share of the MAAC regular-season championship.

Away from the court, King said the last year was not an easy one for him. A pair of people close to him died, while the stopping-and-starting nature of the season played amid the novel coronavirus pandemic took away some of the joy associated with the sport he loves.

“My mental health was down this year,” said King, who said he tested positive in February for COVID-19. “I wasn’t the same Jordan.”

As early as December, King said he realized he “wasn’t having fun anymore,” but said he didn’t seriously consider the possibility of transferring until late in the season, which ended in the MAAC tournament quarterfinals for the Saints. After talking with his mother, King said he was “happy with the decision” to seek a new program to play with for the rest of his college career.

“But I love all those guys that were on my team, including the coaching staff,” King said. “This all had to do with me and a personal choice.”

King said he informed Maciariello, who signed a contract extension Wednesday through the 2025-26 season, on Thursday of his decision to leave the program. King said he “walked out of that meeting with a smile,” saying that Maciariello offered “whatever I need” to help the process of the 6-foot-0 guard finding his next school.

“I was so appreciative of that,” King said.

“We wish him all the best,” Maciariello said Thursday during a phone interview.

King played a crucial role for the 2020-21 Saints. He was one of four players to average double-digit scoring, and was one of only a few Saints who could get his own shot off the dribble. In two seasons, he developed from a key reserve into an all-conference player.

Siena, though, does have players lined up that are capable of filling the role King played next to star lead guard Jalen Pickett.

Graduate student Nick Hopkins will be back for the 2021-22 season. Aidan Carpenter had much of his freshman season derailed with injuries, but the 6-foot-5 guard is one the Siena coaching staff projected to play more than the 23.7 minutes per game he logged. The commitment last week of Middle Tennessee transfer Jayce Johnson gives Siena a perimeter player who will likely play 30-plus minutes right away. Incoming freshmen Jared Billups and Javian McCollum are both guards that the Saints expect to contribute right away — plus the team has, at the moment, three open scholarships to offer to players.

So there are certainly options. Kings, perhaps, wouldn’t have played next season as much as the 33.8 minutes per game he averaged this season, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy for the Saints to replace the ball-handling and scoring he offered. Quickly, King became a reliable, high-level contributor for Siena, and replacing a top-15 player in the conference won’t be simple.

King said he’s looking forward to what comes next, and wants to make sure he lands in a spot where he can continue to build on the progress he’s made in his first two college seasons.

“I want to find the right place for me,” King said. “Not just location-wise, but basketball-wise.”

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