BY MICHAEL KELLY
CLIFTON PARK — If the opportunity to play men’s basketball at Siena College presented itself, Thomas Huerter always knew he was not going to pass it up.
That’s been the mindset for the sweet-shooting 6-foot-6-inch wing for as long as he can remember.
“My heart was always with Siena,” he said Nov. 1, just more than 24 hours after calling Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos to verbally commit to follow in his father Tom Huerter’s footsteps and play for the Saints.
Thomas Huerter’s mother Erin Huerter also attended Siena — she graduated in 1992, while dad was a 1991 graduate — and the 18-year-old said he’d probably visited the school “about half a million times” before taking his official visit to the Loudonville campus this past weekend.
Earlier this year, younger brother Kevin Huerter committed to play his college hoops at the University of Maryland after his in-progress senior year at Shenendehowa. Both parents knew “it couldn’t be our decision” where the boys ended up, Tom Huerter had said at that time, but the father also did not hide his delight about his older son’s choice
“I’m definitely not against it,” Tom Huerter said. “We’re very happy for him, it’s a great opportunity for him. I think he’ll fit in with the team really well and he’ll enjoy his experience, academically and socially, there.”
Besides playing for Siena, Tom Huerter has an intimate knowledge of the program’s current status since he has long been a broadcaster for the team’s games. However, he said, he plans to step down from that role after this upcoming season to strictly focus on watching his kids play.
“This will be my last year calling the games,” he said. “I’d like to just be able to go to the games in the future.”
After graduating from Shenendehowa this past June, having helped lead the school to its first state title in boys’ basketball since 1987, Thomas Huerter headed off for a post-graduate year at Cheshire Academy, a private boarding school in Connecticut. He is set to play basketball this season with Cheshire Academy before joining Siena next year.
The basketball star received recruiting attention from a number of schools, and said he took seriously overtures from colleges in the Ivy League and Patriot League. But, his father said, it was just a couple hours after his official visit to Siena concluded that he was ready to make his decision.
“He got home, walked in the door, left with Kevin for a weight-lifting session and to play some pickup at the Y with some guys, and then he came home and said he wanted to call Coach Patsos,” Tom Huerter said.
Thomas Huerter, who scored 22 points in Shenendehowa’s 76-63 state-title win against Brentwood this past March, said he plans to study business at Siena.