Javion Ogunyemi left the Siena College basketball team for personal reasons, and according to his former high school coach, that’s also why he’s returning.
Troy High School head basketball coach Rich Hurley, Ogunyemi’s former coach and mentor, confirmed that the former Siena post player will once again be a current one. Ogunyemi transferred from Siena to Boston University last spring, but he will now transfer back to Siena, even though there are currently no scholarships available.
Siena officials would not confirm Ogunyemi’s decision to come back to school, but Hurley said it’s definitely a done deal and is only awaiting all the paper work. Multiple area media reports Wednesday also had Ogunyemi returning to Siena.
“Javion is absolutely coming back to Siena,” Hurley said. “There was nothing wrong with BU. Their coach, Joe Jones, was a great guy. But the recent death of Javion’s cousin, who he was very close to, was a big loss for him. It triggered memories of his mother, who died a couple of years ago. His family needed him back, and he needed to be back with them also. He really felt like he needed to be back closer to home.”
Hurley said Ogunyemi left Siena on excellent terms following the season. In fact, Ogunyemi was still playing pickup games and practicing with other Siena players weeks after he decided to transfer. He was originally looking at Vermont, and then settled on BU.
“There was no ill will whatsoever with Siena,” Hurley said. “Siena wants him back. We just need him to get re-enrolled and to get all the paperwork signed.”
Hurley said he is close to all of his former players and tries to help them whenever possible.
“I’m there for all of my former players when I can be,” he said. “Javion is close to me, but he is also very close to a lot of the people back at Troy High, like athletic director Paul Reinisch. We want Javion to be happy.”
Hurley said he feels badly for BU.
“We are very happy for Siena, but we all feel very badly for Boston University in this situation. It had nothing to do with them,” he said. “They wanted him, but he told them he just needs to be back home at this time.”
Ogunyemi is still not listed on the Siena College basketball roster. He is not listed on the BU basketball roster, either.
Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos is in Kuwait on a USO trip and was unavailable for comment.
Ogunyemi, a 6-foot-8, 239-pounder, would be a junior if he is able to pick up where he left off a year ago. He was the most improved player on last season’s team, averaging 9.3 points and nearly 5 rebounds per game. He blocked 48 shots and shot 58 percent from the floor, a drastic improvement over his freshman campaign, when he failed to shoot 40 percent.
As a senior at Troy, he averaged 18 points, 10.8 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per game in leading the Flying Horses to the Section II title and a berth in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association semifinals. He was recruited by Temple, Clemson and Providence, among others, but chose Siena for its closeness to home and his relationship with Patsos after he took over the program.