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No return: Clareth confirms he still plans to leave Siena

No return: Clareth confirms he still plans to leave Siena

Clareth, Christian met Thursday
No return: Clareth confirms he still plans to leave Siena
Nico Clareth will not return to th Siena men's basketball program.
Photographer: Gazette file photo

LOUDONVILLE — Now, the door appears closed for good.

Two days after Siena College athletic director John D’Argenio and new men’s basketball head coach Jamion Christian expressed a willingness for junior Nico Clareth to rejoin the Saints’ program, Clareth said he still intends to transfer.

“I gave this gold and green everything I have. This is one of the hardest decisions I have ever made,” Clareth tweeted Friday afternoon. “Forever grateful for the opportunity, but it’s time to move on from here.

“Siena . . . I love you.”

An attempt to reach Clareth for further comment was unsuccessful, while Christian referred a request for comment back to the college. D’Argenio said Christian and Clareth had met Thursday to discuss the player’s possible return.

“They did meet,” D’Argenio said Friday. “They had a discussion. I don’t know the extent of it, but I do know they met.”

At Wednesday’s press conference to introduce Christian, the new Saints coach had acknowledged he planned to meet with Clareth, who left the Saints’ program back in January.

“To me,” Christian said, “everything is about having a clean slate.”

Christian added: “I’m open to talking with him and I think we are going to be scheduled to speak at some point here in the next few days.”

Clareth averaged a team-high 15.1 points per game during his junior season. He was a co-captain this past season before exiting the program.

Clareth set a Siena rookie record for scoring during his freshman season, but his final two seasons for Siena were tumultuous. He was suspended early in his sophomore season and later took a leave of absence from the program, before returning to the Saints and helping advance them into the 2017 MAAC tournament championship game with his memorable second-half performance against Monmouth in the semifinals. In that second half, playing on a sprained ankle, Clareth drained seven 3-pointers and scored 27 points to lift Siena to an 89-85 comeback victory.

As a junior, Clareth left the Saints the morning of a MAAC game in early January to head home to Baltimore “to attend to a family issue.” He never played for the Saints again, officially departing from the program less than a week later, though he maintained his scholarship status and stayed enrolled at the school.

“Right now what’s best for me, my family, and the team, is for me to step away,” Clareth said in a January statement released through the school. “I appreciate the opportunity that was given to me at Siena, and I’m thankful for the chance to be able to finish out the school year before transferring to continue my pursuit of a college career. I would also like to give a special thanks to the fans for the support I received during my time here.”

At the time, D’Argenio said the situation was resolved.

“I’m just pleased that we came to a conclusion that everyone is on board with,” D’Argenio had said. “Everyone can embrace it and move forward.”

And, now, again, Siena and Clareth will do that — and separate from each other.

Clareth finished his Siena career with 976 points.

Reach Michael Kelly at [email protected] or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter.

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