Former Siena men’s basketball player Penn returns to area with Drake

Basketball player makes shot

Drake’s Roman Penn, who once played at Siena, takes a shot Thursday during practice for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at MVP Arena.

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ALBANY — Roman Penn has had one of the longest careers in college basketball. Right at the end, he’s taking it back to where it all started.

Drake’s second-leading scorer is a name that Siena fans might remember. That’s because Penn spent his first season in college basketball all the way back in 2017-18 for the Saints, averaging just under 10 points per game on a Siena team that went 8-24.

Five years later, he is back in MVP Arena, playing for Drake in the NCAA tournament.

“Feels great being back in Albany,” Penn said Thursday. “I know my team has been hearing me talk about it the last couple days, but I’m super excited to be coming back.”

Penn was unable to play when Drake made the NCAA tournament in 2021. He started the team’s first 24 games of the season, but injured his foot, an ailment that shut him down for the

remainder of the season, which included a First Four win against Wichita State.

“Definitely a full-circle moment,” Penn said. “Just coming back here in my last year, it happened to be in Albany, [me] not playing in [our] first time in the tournament, it’s a great moment, a full-circle moment.”

After he transferred from Siena following the resignation of head coach Jimmy Patsos, he sat out the 2018-19 season. But since that, he has been a stalwart for the Drake program, which has won 98 games since the start of the 2019-20 season.

“He’s been incredible for us,” Drake coach Darian DeVries said. “His first year, he had to sit out, so he was a redshirt. But even in that year, I thought he was a difference-maker for our team in what he brought every day from a leadership standpoint.

“And then the next year, when he actually got out on the floor and all of these years following that, you can’t ask for a better person to be the leader of our program on the floor and off the floor.”

DeVries is also hopeful that his familiarity with the building and the area will help Penn as Drake tries to pull off an upset of fifth-seeded Miami at MVP Arena on Friday night.

“I don’t think it’s a bad thing,” DeVries said. “Having a little bit of comfort, kind of like a home floor for him. I certainly think there’s a comfort level for him, he knows his way around and stuff, so hopefully that means a really good game for him.”

But for Penn, he just wants it to be another basketball game and another opportunity to pick up a victory.

“Just excited to play, in general, in the tournament against a great ACC team,” Penn said.

Categories: College Sports, Siena College, Sports, Sports

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