(Jen Rynda / Patuxent Publishing )
Lavon Long worried for a second when Jimmy Patsos left Loyola to take the Siena coaching job earlier this month. But any stress the Oakland Mills senior felt about re-starting the recruiting process was fleeting.
“I was pretty relaxed,” said Long, the 2012-13 Howard County Player of the Year. “I knew [what I was going to do] from the beginning.”
On Thursday afternoon, Long followed through on his plan by committing to Patsos again during an official visit to Siena. The 6-foot-6 forward joins St. Frances shooting guard Maurice White and North Point point guard Marquis Wright in a Maryland-heavy recruiting class for the Saints.
Long was a coveted mid-major recruit heading into his senior season at Oakland Mills after spending his first three years of high school at Mount St. Joseph. Citing strong relationships with the Greyhounds’ coaching staff last fall, Long signed his letter of intent to Loyola in November and was thought to be a centerpiece of Patsos’ 2013 recruiting class.
After averaging 15 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3.6 blocks 3 assists and 2.5 steals in leading the Scorpions to a Howard County championship, Long’s stock was never higher. New Loyola coach G.G. Smith – a long-time assistant under Patsos – was one of many college coaches who wanted Long.
“I thought about [staying with Loyola], but it wasn’t really something I wanted to do,” said Long, whose primary recruiter was Greg Manning, an assistant who also followed Patsos to Siena.
Long wasn’t sure initially that he wanted to go to school far away from home, but an official trip to Siena over the past two days convinced him that he’d enjoy spending the next four years in upstate New York. Long went to dinner with the coaching staff Wednesday and played pickup and toured the campus Thursday.
“It was nice,” Long said of his visit. “I don’t know how to really explain it. There’s a lot of stuff going on.”
Lisa Long, Lavon’s mother and a former All-Big Ten player at Iowa, said it was impossible to not notice the “excitement” surrounding Siena basketball during their visit.
“Every place we went, people were coming up – alumni, students – saying they were excited about the season,” she said. “It’s everywhere.”
Lavon Long, who plans to study business at Siena, said his goals with the Saints are simple.
“I’m here to win,” he said. “I’m a good fit for this school.”