LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Siena community is immensely saddened by the passing of men’s basketball honorary team member Evan Franz. The 18-year-old Brunswick native, who officially joined the Siena Men’s Basketball program in November 2021, passed away early Monday morning following a nearly three-year courageous battle with brain cancer.

“Our hearts are broken to lose a member of our family,” said Siena Men’s Basketball Head Coach Carmen Maciariello. “Evan exemplified all we strive to be. Even as his battle with cancer forged on, he still lived with enthusiasm, appreciation, and toughness each and every day. Not a day goes by where we don’t think about the joy he brought us all, and he will be dearly missed. We love you, Evan.”

Franz was officially introduced as the newest member of the Siena Men’s Basketball family in a press conference on Nov. 11, 2021, and was a fixture within the program since that time. He joined the Saints on the bench for numerous home games and even several road contests, as well as a number of team practices. Evan held the important task of breaking the team down in huddles by leading the Saints in the chant of “1-2-3 FAMILY!”

Evan was diagnosed with Stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme in May 2019, which is an aggressive brain tumor that is especially rare among younger people, affecting 500 kids in the United States annually. He required immediate brain surgery on the tumor, of which the location impacted his speech and mobility, and the right side of his body no longer functioned properly.

A senior at nearby Tamarac High School, Evan earned his acceptance into the Siena College Class of 2027, and was presented with his official letter in a special ceremony in the UHY Center on Nov. 19. Evan was also a recipient of the Mary Ann Raymond Donnelly Fighting Spirit Award at the 17th Annual Coaches vs. Cancer Basket “Ball” held at the Albany Capital Cancer on Sept. 22, sharing the honor with his fellow Tamarac High classmate and cancer battler Joe Carista.

The Saints first met Evan through Play It Foreward 518, a local non-profit organization established by former team manager and cancer survivor Joe Watroba ’13 and his family, which raises money and awareness to support local children and their families facing illness and hardship. At Siena Men’s Basketball home games each year the Saints, in conjunction with Play It Foreward 518, welcome a patient from the Melodies Center to serve as an honorary captain. Evan previously served as an honorary captain through the program, and the Saints surprised him at his birthday party.