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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Elijah Olaniyi leaves Stony Brook men’s basketball team

Former guard Elijah Olaniyi dribbling the ball down the court in the game against Binghamton on Feb. 2. Olaniyi has left the Stony Brook men’s basketball team and has withdrawn from the University. CAMRON WANG/THE STATESMAN

Elijah Olaniyi, a former star guard on the Stony Brook men’s basketball team, has left the program and withdrawn from the University.

“Elijah Olaniyi has withdrawn from Stony Brook University effective immediately,” Stony Brook Athletics said in a statement to The Statesman. “Elijah has battled injuries this season and will use this time to prepare for the next stage of his career. We fully support Elijah and wish him the absolute best in his future.”

Olaniyi played in seven games this season, making four starts and averaging 8.9 points and 3.7 rebounds per contest. He ends his Stony Brook career having scored 1,197 points, the eighth-most in the program’s Division I history.

“Not everyone has your best interest at heart and it almost broke mine when I realized my situation,” Olaniyi said in an Instagram post. “I came back to a place where I thought I’d be able to escape the politics of college basketball. I wanted the opportunity to just play basketball and I wasn’t able to do that here. Due to an injury and our conference saying my team cannot compete in the postseason for a championship, my family and I believe it will be best for me to move on from Stony Brook to pursue what’s next for me.”

Along with the 220 points he scored last year with the Miami Hurricanes, Olaniyi recorded a total of 1,417 in five seasons across two schools.

“He’s dealt with a ton of injuries — he’s had a significant lower leg injury, had another significant lower leg injury, had a COVID pause,” head coach Geno Ford said in a postgame press conference on Wednesday. “He’s going to pursue the next step of his career. Obviously, we’ve helped support him through that. I think the thing that Stony Brook does better than anybody is supporting the kids that are here and with what they need at that certain time.”

Olaniyi returned to Stony Brook for his fifth year after spending a season with Miami in the Atlantic Coast Conference. He began his collegiate career at Stony Brook, winning America East Rookie of the Year in 2018 and being named First-Team All-Conference in 2020 following a season where he averaged a career-high 18.0 points per game.

He started the first three games of the 2021-22 season before exiting late in the second half on Nov. 22 against Sacred Heart. He would miss 10 games with a leg injury, returning in the Seawolves’ conference opener on Jan. 8 and scoring 16 points.

Olaniyi started Stony Brook’s next game, a 33-point beatdown at Vermont, and recorded a plus/minus of -28. He came off the bench in the subsequent contest against UMBC, logging just 19 minutes. Olaniyi did not travel with Stony Brook in the following two road games, taking a leave of absence from the team.

He was seen on the bench in the team’s Jan. 26 contest against Vermont but did not make his return until two games later versus Binghamton, when he came off the bench to play 14 minutes, putting up three points, four rebounds, an assist and a block, hours after the America East banned Stony Brook from the playoffs.

It would end up being the final game of his collegiate career.

“Sometimes, you say that about the kid being the top priority, but I genuinely in my heart know that’s what goes on here,” Ford said. “He stepped away last week and we’ve tried to help him in the next chapter with what he’s got going.”

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