April 8, 2010

Basabe sticking with Siena?

Since Coach Fran McCaffery was announced as Iowa's new head coach early last week, rumors have been swirling that one of his recruits might look to obtain a release from the letter of intent that he signed with Siena in the fall and come to Iowa City. The recruit in question is Melsahn Basabe, a skilled 6-foot-7 forward originally from Glen Cove, NY.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Basabe was still in Siena's corner waiting them to select a new head coach and news of assistant coach Mitch Buonaguro possibly being officially hired had not broken. Until that becomes official, Basabe is sticking with his original choice.

"I am still honoring my commitment to Siena, so I have to wait for that situation to get settled. I am aware that I can get a release and I am considering that as an option," he said late Wednesday afternoon.

Since Coach McCaffery's departure from Siena last week, Basabe has been keeping in touch with assistant coach Andrew Francis, who was in Iowa City on Wednesday and is expected to be part of the new coaching staff for the Hawkeyes.

"He has talked to me since Coach McCaffery left," Basabe said. "He told me that I have to do what is best for me and make the best decision for myself. He wasn't trying to sway me one way or another. He just encouraged me to wait until Siena hired a coach and then go from there. He has given me some sound advice."

Whenever a head coach leaves a program for another position, it becomes a confusing time for signed recruits. Basabe, who played this past season at St. Mark's High School in Southborough, MA, is confident that he will find a good place to play college basketball by either sticking with Siena or opting to seek a release from his letter of intent.

"I am pretty confident that everything will work out for me. Coach McCaffery has been really confident in my and I think I could have Iowa as an option. Beyond that, my high school coach has been getting calls from several major schools. I am not really worried about my options if Siena doesn't work out for me. "

Iowa fans might be wondering about Coach McCaffery as a recruiter and a salesman for the program. Basabe had nothing but positive opinions about the new Iowa coach as a recruiter.

"The thing with him was when he was recruiting me; I never felt that he was lying to me or trying to sell me something that wasn't truthful," Basabe said. "He really cared about me and was confident in my abilities as a player. I didn't feel that way with any other coach but Coach McCaffery. He treated me the same way all the way through the recruiting process and he was real genuine person, plus he wins and that is a deadly combination."

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