Siena men’s basketball recruits Irish rookie

Killian Gribben is set to join a select group of Irish basketball players who play in NCAA Division I colleges.

He will make the jump to Siena College.

Gribben announced on social media on Thursday that he had accepted an offer to play for Siena from next season. He will arrive at Loudonville as the favorite freshman – although Gribben said he received an academic scholarship – and will then receive an athletic scholarship his last three seasons.

Gribben, a 6-foot-10, 208-pound forward, is in his first year in the United States as a graduate student at Choate Rosemary Hall, a prep school in Wallingford, Connecticut. Gribben grew up in Letterkenny, a town in County Donegal.

“Yeah, I think it’s a big deal not just for the family, but for my whole city and my country,” Gribben said. “We have 10 or 15 players here in the (USA) at the moment, like 20 or 30 if you count the men and women, so every time someone comes from Ireland to the USA it’s a huge deal for the country.”

The list of Irish natives in Division I includes Aidan Igiehon from Grand Canyon, Max Amadasun from Pittsburgh and Eoin Nelson from Wyoming, all from Dublin.

“Basketball in Ireland used to be a very small sport, not many people played it, but now it’s a growing sport,” Gribben said.

Gribben and his father paid an unofficial visit to Siena on Tuesday and Gribben immediately signed on.

“My dad came over from Ireland to visit me so it was really nice to see him. I haven’t been since Christmas,” Gribben said. almost everything i wanted from a school the course i wanted to take but most importantly they had the basketball and the facilities and the coaching staff was just unreal i thought this was the perfect fit for me.

Gribben said he also visited Quinnipiac American and Division III Amherst during vacation last year.

Gribben has already been admitted to Siena. Saints head coach Carmen Maciariello said he would rather not speak at length about Gribben until Siena issues his press release.

“We’re thrilled with him,” Maciariello said via text message. “Hardworking. Grateful. Skilled. Plays hard.

Siena still has three scholarships to offer for next season.

At Siena’s end-of-season reception on April 28, Maciariello said he was focused on overseas prospects. He has already given a scholarship to Zach Tekin, a Turkish playmaker.

“I also have very good irons in the fire with some European players because sometimes I think they are a little less maintenance and they really like coming here to the United States, especially in a place like Siena. who really welcomes them with an open arms,” Maciariello said then.

Gribben, who turns 19 later this month, played for the Irish national under-18 team. Last August, he averaged 16.8 points and 12 rebounds in four games at the European U18 Championships in Slovakia.

He attended a basketball camp in Ireland and caught the eye of Choate head coach Drew Dawson. Gribben, who had also played football and Gaelic football, accepted the offer to come to the United States.

“That’s what I wanted to do was play basketball in America because I felt like I had achieved my goal at the highest level of basketball in Ireland and the only way for me to get better was to come to the United States,” he said.

Gribben said Siena assistant Bobby Castagna contacted him first.

“I try to play like a 4 (power forward), but I have the ability to finish around the basketball with my back to the post,” Gribben said. “Sometimes I go out and shoot a 3 or create a two-man game with my teammates. That’s what my game revolves around.”

Gribben said it remains to be determined when he will arrive in Siena. He had intended to play for the Irish Under-20 team at the European Championships, but Maciariello would like him to be on campus for summer school.

Gribben doesn’t expect to have an immediate impact in Saints games.

“Well, the first year is basically about growing, putting on a few pounds and being comfortable playing against Division I players every day,” he said. “And then hopefully the second and third years I can probably grow and see where it goes from there.”

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