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Siena suspends Brookins, Burdine

LOUDONVILLE -- Red-shirt sophomores Rakeem Brookins and Trenity Burdine have been suspended for the first three games of Siena’s men’s basketball season for violating athletic department policy.

Both players will be eligible to return to Siena’s active rotation for the November 17 game against Northern Kentucky in the NUCDF Basketball Challenge in San Diego, Calif. Brookins and Burdine will be allowed to participate in practice and other team activities while serving their suspension.

“I appreciate that both Rakeem and Trenity have taken responsibility for their actions and have responded in a positive way,” athletic director John D’Argenio said in a release. “Accountability is one of the expectations we have of all of our student athletes. I know both young men are committed to Siena, their teammates and our program, and both are anxious to help us compete for a MAAC championship.”

Brookins, who missed last season with a back injury, and Burdine, who also missed the 2011-12 season, with a foot injury, will not be made available to the media during the suspension. The Siena release included a quote from each player:

“I’m disappointed in my actions, and fully support the department’s decision,” Brookins said. “I’m looking forward to a great season, and can’t wait to get back on the court and help my teammates compete for a MAAC Championship. For now, my focus is on getting better each day in practice, and doing what I can to help get the team ready for Vermont.”

“This obviously isn’t the way I wanted to begin the year, but I understand and agree with the decision that was made,” Burdine said. “I can promise Siena fans I’ll give 100 percent effort on and off the court the rest of my career. I’m excited about the chance to get back and contribute, and the opportunity to participate in practice to help the team get ready for the season.”

Head coach Mitch Buonaguro brought up the suspensions at a media lunch on campus, but wouldn’t elaborate on the suspensions. “It’s a student-athlete issue. I’m not going to get into any details, and that’s all I’m going to say about it,” he said.

Without Brookins, who started most of the 2010-11 season at point guard as a freshman, Christian Brothers Academy graduate Chris Leppanen, a walk-on, will see some playing time when the Saints open at home against Vermont Friday night.

“With Rahk out for three games, he’s going to have to play,” Buonaguro said. “I feel very comfortable playing him. I think he’s a real good player who knows what he’s doing, from a great program at CBA. I don’t think he’ll be intimidated by all the people there Friday night. He’s used to playing there. Hymes cannot play 40 minutes, with his foot. I don’t want to do that. Chris is probably going to be in the six, seven, eight minute range, and hopefully he can run the offense and keep us close to Vermont.”

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