Michael Tertsea recently committed to the Siena men’s basketball program, which has filled all of its scholarships for the 2021-22 season with the addition of the 6-foot-10 center.
A native of Nigeria who played high school basketball at The John Carroll School in Maryland, Tertsea spent his first three college seasons at Rhode Island before transferring to Division II Gannon. Tertsea redshirted his first year and played sparingly in the next two seasons at Rhode Island, then averaged 5.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in 17.5 minutes per game in the 2019-20 season at Gannon. Tertsea said he opted out of participating in the 2020-21 season, which was played amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m happy and excited to be a Siena Saint,” Tertsea said Friday in a phone interview with The Daily Gazette. “I can’t wait for the season to come.”
The 23-year-old Tertsea said Siena head coach Carmen Maciariello had first recruited him years ago. As an assistant coach at George Washington, Maciariello led the recruitment of Tertsea, who ended up heading to Rhode Island instead of George Washington, George Mason and La Salle. Tertsea said the relationship he’d developed with Maciariello during that time “always stuck with me,” and made the decision to head to Siena this offseason a comfortable one for the 240-pound center.
“I know he’s going to help me develop to be the player I want to be on the court, off the court and for the future, as well,” Tertsea said.
Tertsea projects to add depth at center for Siena, which currently has four scholarship centers on its roster. Rising senior Jackson Stormo is Siena’s only returning double-digit, per-game scorer, while rising junior Kyle Young played a key role last season and rising fifth-year senior Kyle Arrington sat out last season.
Tertsea is the sixth incoming scholarship transfer for the Siena program this offseason. Previously, Michael Baer (Iowa), Anthony Gaines (Northwestern), Jayce Johnson (Middle Tennessee), Jordan Kellier (Utah) and Colby Rogers (Cal Poly) committed to the Saints.
Four scholarship players opted to transfer from Siena this offseason. All-conference guards Jordan King (East Tennessee State) and Jalen Pickett (Penn State) left the program, as did rising sophomore forwards Colin Golson (Eastern Michigan) and Bennett Kwiecinski (St. Thomas).
Siena also lost reigning MAAC Player of the Year Manny Camper this offseason, as Camper is graduating and has started his professional career.
Besides its revamped roster, Siena also made multiple changes to its coaching staff this offseason. Maciariello and assistant coach Antoni Wyche remain in their previous roles, while Greg Fahey shifted from director of basketball operations to assistant coach, and Matt Miner moved from special assistant to director of basketball operations. Siena also hired Bobby Castagna this week as an assistant coach.
Siena is coming off a 12-5 season. The Saints won a share of the 2020-21 MAAC regular-season championship before losing in the MAAC quarterfinals.