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Siena forward Lionel Gomis leaves program for family reasons

Dec 21, 2012, 3:48 PM EDT

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Expected to contend in the MAAC this season, the first two months of the 2012-13 campaign have not gone according to plan for the Siena Saints.

With the return of Rakeem Brookins and forwards Lionel Gomis and Imoh Silas eligible, players such as O.D. Anosike and Evan Hymes were thought to have the help needed to be one of the teams in the race to grab the league’s automatic bid.

But at 2-9 and 0-2 in conference play the Saints have looked like anything but a contender. Siena will look to improve its standing without Gomis, as the school announced that the sophomore is leaving the program for family reasons.

“We’re sorry to see Lionel go, but respect his decision,” Buonaguro said in the statement released by the school.

This latest turn in Gomis’ career at Siena is also the last one, as it began with the NCAA ruling both he and Gomis ineligible for the 2011-12 season. Siena successfully petitioned the NCAA, which originally declared Gomis to be a senior, resulting in the Dakar, Senegal native having three seasons of eligibility.

The 6-8 Gomis played in just one game for Siena, playing two minutes in the Saints’ season-opening 54-53 loss to Vermont and tallying just one turnover.

But regardless of Gomis’ decision the fact remains that there are many issues plaguing the Saints, and it remains to be seen if Buonaguro and his staff are capable of making the proper adjustments. Siena’s averaging 56.9 points per game and shooting 38.2% from the field, with both numbers ranking last in the MAAC.

Brookins (13.2 ppg) and Anosike (13.0 ppg, 13.0 rpg) lead four players in double figures, but the issue has been the caliber of shot that Siena is taking (9th in the MAAC in efficiency per statsheet.com). Until that improves the Saints are going to struggle, and whether or not Gomis decided to remain in the program that was going to be the case.

Photo credit: Siena College

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

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