Siena basketball play-by-play voice A.J. Kanell leaving for Pac-12 Network | RopSport

Siena basketball play-by-play voice A.J. Kanell leaving for Pac-12 Network


A Siena men’s basketball program that had high turnover with its roster and coaching staff in the offseason also needs a new voice in the broadcast booth this season.

Siena men’s basketball play-by-play announcer A.J. Kanell said Thursday he is leaving the area to take a job with the Pac-12 Network.

Kanell is moving to Seattle. His first assignment will be on Sunday with a men’s and women’s soccer doubleheader at the University of Washington. He said the Pac-12 Network will use him mostly for Olympic sports this fall.

“Long-term, I hope that my role there continues to grow and I can start to broadcast bigger and bigger events, and I think they believe that I can do that at some point, that I have the capability of continuing to grow now that I’m starting out there,” he said.

Kanell, 30, spent five seasons calling Siena games on Talk 1300 AM and 98.7 FM. He also provided video play-by-play for Siena women’s basketball and Olympic sports on ESPN3 and ESPN+ and hosted the weekly men’s basketball coach’s show.

“I’m really excited, and I’m really grateful I got to spend the last eight years, three at Vermont and five at Siena, working for some programs, schools and athletic departments that it felt like they were power conferences at times because of the fan support,” Kanell said. “Especially at Siena with the Times Union Center and just the entire environment around a lot of those games, it already felt like I was doing power-conference games, and I really loved my time in the Capital Region and enjoyed everyone in the Siena community.”

It wasn’t immediately clear whom Siena, which has nine new men’s basketball players and three new assistants, will hire to replace Kanell. Siena makes the hire in conjunction with Van Wagner, the firm that handles corporate sales for the athletic department.

“We appreciate all that A.J. contributed to our broadcasts over the past five years as the ‘Voice of the Saints,’ and wish him all the best as he begins this exciting and well-deserved new chapter in his burgeoning career,” Siena athletics spokesman Mike Demos said.

Kanell, a native of Andover, Mass., said he loved being partnered with analysts Conner Fenlon, Andy Grazulis and Scott Knapp. He also thanked the three head coaches he worked with — Jimmy Patsos, Jamion Christian and Carmen Maciariello.

Among his favorite memories were going to Kansas and touring Allen Fieldhouse for a game in 2016 and calling Siena’s 89-85 victory over top-seeded Monmouth in the semifinals of the 2017 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament. Nico Clareth scored 27 points in the second half that day at Times Union Center.

“I think that was my first real taste of Siena basketball and what it’s like, just the way the fans were getting behind the team and just the energy in the building on that night,” Kanell said. “That was a magical night. Wish that they could have sealed the deal against Iona (in the final).”

Kanell, a 2013 Syracuse graduate, was hired by Siena in 2016 to replace Robert Lee, a fellow Orange alumnus who now does play-by-play for ESPN Networks. Upon graduation, Kanell worked for three years at ESPN Radio Burlington, where he hosted a talk show and was the play-by-play voice for Vermont men’s basketball.

“At this point, I feel like all of that now has prepared me to take a step forward and start fresh at the next level,” Kanell said. “I think I’m ready for it. Maybe I would have thought I was ready for it a few years ago, or five years ago or whatever, but now I think after putting in the time and the hard work and developing as a person and a broadcaster, now I am ready for this opportunity.”