LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (AP) The unusual saga of Siena forward Javion Ogunyemi was settled Friday, the school ruling he can play this season and not have to sit out as a transfer.
Ogunyemi played for Siena in each of the last two seasons and transferred to Boston University last spring. Citing family reasons and the death of a close relative, the native of Troy, New York - only a few miles from Siena's campus in Loudonville - decided to return to the Saints before this semester began.
''It's just a great feeling,'' Ogunyemi said. ''Ever since I've been back I've just been worried about if I can play or not. To know, to finally find out I can play, it's very stress-relieving.''
He got word of the decision Friday during practice. The first thing he did was switch his reversible practice jersey from green, typically reserved for backups, to the white that players in Siena's rotation usually wear.
''I'm happy for Javion,'' Siena coach Jimmy Patsos said. ''He's a great person, and he's been through a lot. He deserves some good news. Obviously, we're thrilled to have him back, and I know our fans will be thrilled to see him on the court.''
Typically, players who transfer have to sit out a year under NCAA rules. But Siena's compliance office was able to certify him as eligible based on new information, and did not need an NCAA waiver to get him back on the court.
Ogunyemi averaged 9.3 points and 4.8 rebounds last season, starting 28 of the Saints' 31 games. He finished second in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in field goal percentage among players who logged at least 300 minutes, making nearly 55 percent of his shots. Alongside Imoh Silas and Brett Bisping, both of whom were sidelined by injury last season, Ogunyemi should give Siena one of the best frontcourts in the MAAC.
''I kind of felt even without me coming back we would still be very good,'' Ogunyemi said. ''We've got guys who can score the ball. We've got guys who are very versatile. Just adding me, it gives a different look for all our bigs.''
Siena opens its season Nov. 13 at defending national champion Duke, then plays two days later at Wisconsin - the team the Blue Devils beat in last season's NCAA title game.