Siena Gets a Good One

New England Recruiting Report | Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Siena Gets a Good One

The Siena basketball program has reached unprecedented levels of success in the last two years under head coach Fran McCaffery.  Not only have the Saints claimed the MAAC regular season and tournament championships, but they’ve also won a game in the NCAA tournament in each of the last two seasons, defeating Vanderbilt in ’08 and Ohio State last year in double overtime. 

During this period of success, the Siena roster has been built around two stars with roots in New England prep schools.  MCI alum Kenny Hasbrouk claimed a long list of awards before graduating last year including MAAC Player of the Year and College Insider Mid-Major Player of the Year.  Current senior Edwin Ubiles, a St. Thomas More graduate, is a two time All-MAAC selection and one of the top players in the conference this season. 

On Monday night, McCaffery and his staff might have landed their next star with roots in New England prep schools as St. Mark’s forward Melsahn Basabe committed to Siena. 

Basabe’s stock exploded early this summer when he was one of the top players at the Hoop Group Elite Camp.  He followed that up with another dominating performance at the New England Elite 75 Showcase, where Siena was one of many schools looking on, and continued to shine with his New York Gauchos AAU team throughout the remainder of the live period. 

“Melsahn had a great summer but he’s gotten so much better since then,” said St. Mark’s head coach Dave Lubick.  “He’s really been working his tail off [this fall].” 

Despite having picked up multiple scholarship offers from schools in the Big East, Basabe had previously trimmed his list to Siena, Drexel, VCU, and George Mason in an attempt to find a school where he could play immediate minutes. 

After visiting all four schools this fall, Basabe opted to go with the Saints and made his verbal commitment to Coach McCaffery on Monday night. 

After paying his dues and playing behind Erik Murphy and Nate Lubick last year, Basabe is expected to have a break out season this year for St. Mark’s.  He has developed himself into one of the most versatile forwards in New England, able to score with his back to the basket, stretch the defense with his shooting range, or face-up up and attack the basket. 

He projects as someone who should be able to make a significant impact at the mid-major level immediately as a freshman with his ability to score and rebound the basketball, and ultimately could blossom into the latest star out of Siena’s New England prep pipeline.