By R.L. Bynum
After reportedly serving a three-game NCAA suspension, former Carolina guard Andrew Platek joined the Siena roster and made his debut Friday night in the Saints’ 83–65 loss at Georgetown.
Platek said that he was going through some “personal trouble” during his last semester at UNC.
“I knew I was going to play today,” Platek said after the game. “Emotionally, it was really cool for me. I didn’t think I would get another chance to play in college. I lost my love for the game. But I found it again, thanks to Coach [Carmen Maciarello] and thanks to the staff. It was awesome getting back out there. I love this game so much.”
He was suspended for playing in an unsanctioned summer league, according to the Times-Union of Albany. The 6–4, 213-pound guard got an NCAA waiver on Oct. 25 that allowed him to practice with the team.
Platek, who enrolled at Siena in August after playing four seasons at UNC, is eligible to play the rest of the season for the Saints. They are 0–4 after earlier losses to St. Bonaventure (75–47), Delaware (83–63) and Yale (82–54).
Platek finished with 12 points, five assists and three rebounds in 24 minutes. He was 5 of 15 from the floor with two 3-pointers. The 12 points matched the UNC career-high he scored in a 102–78 win against Portland on Nov. 23, 2017.
Platek didn’t start but entered the game with 13:31 left in the first half, scored his first Siena points on a drive with 7:57 remaining and scored a 3-pointer with 2:48 left.
Georgetown led 44–34 at halftime after Platek hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer a few feet away from the half-court line.
“The past seven months have been some of the most difficult times of my life as an athlete. I lost my love for the game,” Platek, who grew up 10 miles away from the Siena campus in Guilderland, N.Y., said in an Instagram post earlier on Friday. “Coming back home and reconnecting with my friends, family and coaches helped me find that fire again.”
Since Siena is the same league as Monmouth, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), Platek will face former Carolina teammate Walker Miller twice. Siena visits Monmouth on Jan. 7 and the teams play at Siena on Feb. 27.
Platek, who wears No. 22 after wearing No. 3 at Carolina, played in 124 games as a Tar Heel, starting 11 times, averaging 2.6 points, 1.3 rebounds and 10.5 minutes per game. He shot 32.6% from 3-point range for UNC last season.
Platek started and scored seven points in a career-high 49 minutes during the Tar Heels’ 79–77 double-overtime loss at Virginia Tech on Jan. 22, 2020.
He had career-highs of eight rebounds and six assists to go along with eight points in a 79–76 home loss to Clemson on Jan. 11, 2020.
Maciarello is in his third season as Siena’s coach. In 2019–20, his Saints went 20–10 and won the MAAC regular-season title. Last season, they went 12–5 and were regular-season co-champions in the MAAC.
“Coach Carm and Siena College gave me another chance to give it everything and, for that, I will be eternally grateful,” Platek said. “For everyone who helped me along my path these last few months, thank you.”
Maciarello and Platek have known each other for years.
“I’m happy for him and his family that he is able to start the final chapter of his college career in the green and gold,” Maciarello said. “His work ethic and leadership will help us reach our goals.”
After playing three seasons at Guilderland High School, Platek finished his prep career with two seasons at Northfield Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts, where he was an All-New England Prep First Team selection.
Photos by Chris Bernacchi