LOUDONVILLE, NY – New Siena Basketball Head Coach Jamion Christian has officially announced his first three signings. Incoming freshmen Jalen Pickett and Sloan Seymour have both signed and returned their National Letters of Intent, and are set to join the program along with Mount St. Mary’s transfer Don Carey.
“I’m really excited about our first few signings,” said Christian. “They are dynamic players in their own right, and have an incredible enthusiasm for putting Siena back at the top of the MAAC. They each address different areas of need, increasing our shooting ability from the outside, and our overall playmaking capability.”
Christian’s first official signing at Siena, Pickett arrives in Loudonville following a postgraduate year at SPIRE Institute in Ohio, where he averaged 14 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 2.1 steals while shooting 38% from three-point range last season. A 6-4 guard from Rochester, New York, Pickett played his high school basketball for Aquinas Institute, averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds his senior year while leading the Li’l Irish to the Class AA Federation Final. Pickett also starred locally on the AAU circuit, where he played for four years with the Albany City Rocks, and led the EYBL with a 139.6 offensive efficiency during his final season.
“Siena has boasted a long list of dynamic guards who can both defend multiple positions and score in numerous ways,” explained Christian. “When looking at the history of some of those dominant standouts, it was obvious that we needed someone like Jalen Pickett. Jalen’s ability to do multiple things well, play several positions at a high level, and his strong basketball IQ make him a perfect fit not only for the present, but for the future as well.”
A local standout from nearby Albany, New York, Seymour starred for the past three seasons at Shaker High after beginning his five-year varsity career at Christian Brothers Academy. The 6-9 forward was named an Albany Times Union Second Team selection following his senior season this spring, and averaged 19.0 points and 6.8 rebounds for the Blue Bison as a junior. Seymour played his AAU basketball for the New York Rens. He is the son of Steve Seymour, who served as an assistant coach at Siena from 2001-04, and was previously the head coach at Drexel University (1999-01).
“Our system is based around having stretch 4’s who possess both a high basketball IQ and a strong shooting ability,” noted Christian. “As soon as I was named the head coach, it became apparent that we had the right fit only minutes from campus. Sloan literally used to run around the office as a youngster, and he and his family are deeply rooted in the Siena history.”
Carey matriculates to Siena after spending his freshman year playing for Christian at Mount St. Mary’s University this past season. The 6-5 guard from Upper Marlboro, Maryland will sit out the 2018-19 season per NCAA transfer regulations, and then have three years of eligibility remaining. Carey started all 32 games as a freshman at the Mount last season, averaging 9.0 points while ranking 11th in the Northeast Conference in both assists (3.4) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.27). Named the NEC Rookie of the Week on Jan. 15, he scored in double figures 17 times and dished out five or more assists on 10 different occasions. Carey played in high school for Frederick Douglass, which he led to a 20-4 record and a Prince George’s County Championship Game appearance his senior year while averaging 13 points, six rebounds, and seven assists, which included three triple-doubles and a 37-point performance.
“First and foremost, I’m excited to have the chance to continue to coach Don,” commented Christian. “Obviously, Don and I have a strong history from our time together at the Mount. Not only was he one of the top rookies in the NEC last year, but he has a complete understanding of our system and the way of life that we are trying to establish here at Siena.”
In addition to the three newcomers set to join the Saints, Christian also confirmed that rising redshirt senior guard Kadeem Smithen, who received his undergraduate degree last month, will return to the program to complete his final year of eligibility. The Ajax, Ontario product averaged 5.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 19.0 minutes spanning 29 appearances including 15 starts last season. Smithen led the Saints with a team-best 1.75-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, and finished strong in averaging 8.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.0 assists over 27.8 minutes in eight February starts. The former Richmond transfer has appeared in 63 games (25 starts) while averaging 3.5 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 16.2 minutes over his first two seasons with Siena.
“Kadeem provides excellent experience and a high level of both hunger and understanding,” remarked Christian. “For us to be back at the top of the MAAC, we need both. We need Kadeem not only to help bring the younger guys along, but to also lead by example. He has a tremendous ability to do both.”