LOUDONVILLE — Early last week, Bennett Kwiecinski still was unsure if he was ready to make a college commitment.
Then, his high school coach Tom Livatino asked: If School X offered you a scholarship, would you pick that school instead of Siena College?
When the answer was “No” to School X, they moved to School Y . . . then, School Z.
“He repeated that question four or five times,” Kwiecinski said, “and I realized I wouldn’t pick another school over Siena.”
So Kwiecinski — a 6-foot-8, 205-pound forward from Wilmette, Illinois — made his verbal commitment Sunday night to join the Siena men’s basketball program. Already, it’s the third verbal commitment first-year head coach Carmen Maciariello has received for the Saints’ incoming class for the 2020-21 season. Making up that trio are Aidan Carpenter, Colin Golson and Kwiecinski.
Each member of that group should offer the Saints something a little different. The 6-foot-4 Carpenter is a rim-attacking guard that can play on or off the ball; Golson, at 6-foot-6 and 234 pounds, projects to add strength down low for the Saints; and, Kwiecinski is a versatile wing that adds shooting.
Kwiecinski, 18, visited Siena earlier this month. His visit, the Loyola Academy senior said, overlapped some with Carpenter’s trip to campus.
“It was cool to meet him and get to know him a little,” Kwiecinski said.
Besides Siena, Kwiecinski’s final three schools considered included Lipscomb and Yale. At the end, Kwiecinski said he decided between Siena and Lipscomb.
What made him pick the Saints, he said, was the connection he felt with Siena’s coaches and players.
“Everyone I met, it just felt like a super tight-knit community. The players really seemed to enjoy spending time together,” Kwiecinski said. “It made the whole school — the whole place — feel like it was a good place to be. They all seemed really invested in the team being successful.”
Kwiecinski said Siena assistant coach Bob Simon led his recruitment.
“And I visited there first just because of how actively the coaches there were recruiting me and how invested they were in me,” said Kwiecinski, whose twin brother Jordan Kwiecinski is committed to play at Drake.
It’s likely that Siena is not done adding to its 2020-21 recruiting class. Heading into the 2019-20 season, Siena has two open scholarships and two scholarship players — fifth-year seniors Elijah Burns and Matt Hein — in their final year of playing eligibility. Meanwhile, Sammy Friday heads into his senior season, but it’s possible he could gain a fifth year of eligibility after missing most of the 2018-19 campaign.
On Thursday is Siena’s first official practice for the 2019-20 season.