Look, I want the Siena College men's basketball team to be a powerhouse for many years to come. Losing it's best player, Jalen Pickett, would certainly put a damper on hopes and expectations.  But, this isn't about just basketball.  This is a about a young man pursuing his dream.

Siena scored in a big way this past season.  Out-playing and out-hustling their opponents and blowing well past any pre-season expectations on their way to a surprising 17 win season.

They were led by 6' 5" freshman Jalen Pickett who averaged nearly 16 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists per game. He was a unanimous MAAC Rookie of the Year selection and became the first freshman in more than three decades to earn an All-MAAC first-team spot.

His basketball I.Q. - according to scouts - is off the charts and his leadership qualities are through the roof.  He wasn't highly touted coming out high school in Rochester, but developed into a star because of his determination, tremendous ability, and some great coaching.

Pickett says he wants to return to Siena next season but first, he wants to test his skills at various NBA combines to see if scouts, GM's, and coaches believe he'll be drafted by a willing NBA team.

"To one day make it to the NBA has always been a dream of mine," Pickett said in a press release issued through the Siena athletic department. "The opportunity to put my skills on display and receive feedback on where I stand in this process that the NBA has created will be invaluable."

Pickett has the option of withdrawing his name by May 29th from a pool of players eligible for the June 20th NBA draft if he doesn't get the type of feedback that he needs to go forward.  If he withdraws, he comes back to Siena for his sophomore year looking to build on the tremendous foundation he's already laid down.

Imagine if your 17 or 18-year-old kid could play baseball right now for the Yankees or could sign a multi-year mega deal on Jason Aldean's new record label.  Would you hold them back or encourage them to chase their dream?

I think we all know the answer to that.

Selfishly, I want Jalen to stay for 3, 2 or even one more year.  But, to be the first NBA player ever drafted out of Siena College, that's a dream you can never take away from a young man who wants to better himself and take care of his family.

Here's to hoping that we've seen the last of Jalen Pickett wearing the Saints green and gold!



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