(Photo: Albany Times Union)
Robert Morris has received a commitment from former Siena and current Cloud County Community College (Kansas) forward Lionel Gomis, according to Andrew Chiappazzi of Rivals.com.
A native of Dakar, Senegal, Gomis' backstory is a unique one, partially because of a little-heard-of NCAA policy that put his long-term eligibility into question. When he arrived in the United States, Gomis was fluent in French, but knew little English, something which caused him to reclassify from a junior to a sophomore. After signing with Siena, he was informed by the NCAA that he effectively had to sit out his freshman season, play as a sophomore, but beyond that, he could no longer play. The rule that prompted that decision states that an athlete must complete their high school core-curriculum requirements no later than the high school graduation date in a five-year period. Basically, the time that he missed not going to school in Senegal were counted against him once he entered college (his final two years) and he would have had to sit out the first year because of his reclassification. In all, it was a pretty bizarre situation.
Siena was able to successfully petition the NCAA's ruling and Gomis was on the team for two seasons. In December of 2012, his sophomore year, he opted to transfer, citing family reasons. He appeared in just one game that season, playing two minutes in the Saints' season-opening loss to Vermont.
At 6-foot-9 and 215 pounds, it would appear that Gomis could help bolster a Colonials frontcourt that looks pretty thin entering next season. Robert Morris returns six scholarship players from last season and has signed two incoming freshmen, guard Jafar Kinsey and forward Andre Frederick. With forward Jeremiah Worthem and guard Britton Lee suspended until January -- and both of their scholarship statuses up in the air -- Gomis will give the Colonials nine scholarship players (not including Worthem and Lee).