October 4, 2022


Sports Really Satisfies

‘Forgotten man’ Michael Eley commits to Siena men’s basketball

Florida Sports Academy shooting guard Michael Eley was a victim of the NCAA transfer portal, according to his head coach.

That’s why Eley, a 6-foot-5 postgraduate student, was still available to commit to the Siena men’s basketball team on Monday, Florida Sports Academy director and postgrad coach Michael Stanley said Tuesday.

“I think the portal is killing everyone,” Stanley said. “They (college coaches) are just really set on the portal and then everyone with these jobs now, it’s like you can’t miss. You can’t really bank on a high school kid. You can’t really bank on a postgrad kid, so that’s why a lot of these coaches are really focused on that portal because those are kids who have proven they can play at that (Division I level.)”

The arrival of Eley, a native of Fort Wayne, Ind., leaves Siena head coach Carmen Maciariello with two scholarships still open for next season.

Eley averaged 25 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists per game for Florida Sports Academy, based in Orlando, a postgrad academy which also does sports training for youths. They play a highly competitive schedule against well-known programs such as IMG Academy and Monteverde Academy, also located in Florida.

“They (Siena) are getting one heck of an athlete,” Stanley said. “He’s definitely electrifying. You guys will definitely get a lot of highlights from him. As far as catch-and-shoot, a 15-foot shooter, he’s excellent in the mid-range. He’s probably one of the top mid-range shooters in the country, and that’s not just coming in as as freshman. I would honestly put my money on Michael against anyone in the country, as far as mid-range. That’s just how good he shoots. Siena’s getting a heck of a steal, a heck of a player.”

Efforts to reach Eley were unsuccessful.

Stanley, who has worked with Siena freshman guard Javian McCollum of Fort Myers, Fla, said the two should form a dangerous backcourt.

“I think them two are definitely the future of Siena,” he said.

Stanley said Eley’s recruitment has been “all over the place.” Siena has watched him since last season, when Eley was at Elevation Prep, a preparatory high school and postgraduate basketball academy in his hometown of Fort Wayne, according to Stanley.

Ball State, Western Michigan, Central Michigan all showed interest and Eley almost committed to Western Carolina out of Elevation Prep, Stanley said.

Stanley was the postgrad coach at Elevation Prep, and when he moved on to Florida Sports Academy, Eley followed him.

“He didn’t like the offers he got coming out of Elevation last year, so we decided to just go ahead and go postgrad,” Stanley said.

Eley visited Siena last week, his only current Division I offer, Stanley said. 

“Once he took that visit, I had a few coaches reach out, and after I talked to Mike, he loved it, he loved the coaching staff, he loved everything, so he was set,” Stanley said. “He was like, ‘Coach, they believe in me. I think this is the opportunity I need, that we’ve been looking for, so I want to commit.’ … I think Mike’s just looking for someone to just believe in him, give him an opportunity to showcase his talents. He’s an unbelievably talented young man. I think, again, with these young men moving around so much and having that ability to move around so much, they kind of get spoiled, I guess, or believing there’s another opportunity right around the corner. I think it was an eye-opening experience for him with the portal and just having to wait so long and being so talented. I think it’s a humbling experience for him. I think he’s going to use that and that’s going to catapult his career.”

Eley visited Southwest Assemblies of God University, a successful NAIA program in Texas, while he was at a tournament in Dallas last month. Eley tweeted the offer, though Stanley said that was really a tactic to attract attention.

“Mike was kind of unheard of for a minute at the end of the season,” Stanley said. “Not unheard of, but just kind of the forgotten man. So kind of a strategy, I guess, we used is, let’s get him back out there. Let’s post an offer he got from a school even in Dallas, so he was already down there … Why not? And it worked.”

Note: Siena named its new director of basketball operations, Derek Brooks, who replaces Shen grad Matt Miner. Brook spent the past four years as a Merchant Marine assistant coach. Prior to that, he was a women’s basketball assistant at Air Force, his alma mater.