The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)
UConn men’s basketball: Vital to return for junior season
A month after announcing via social media that he’d be testing the NBA Draft waters, Christian Vital has used the same venue to announced he’s returning to UConn for his junior season.
In a Twitter post on Monday afternoon, Vital wrote: “Great Talk Today Coach! Appreciate The Wisdom You Have Let Me In On! I Think It’s Time To Get Back To Winning Ways In Storrs! I’m Going To Need That #1 Back ASAP! WE GOT UNFINSIHED BUSINESS!”
Vital, a 6-foot-2 shooting guard, played in all 32 games for the Huskies last season, starting 23, averaging 14.9 points, 1.6 steals, and leading the team in rebounding, at 5.4 per game. He announced on April 20 that he would be testing the NBA draft waters, as underclassmen are allowed to do twice during their collegiate tenures. They can return to school if they haven’t hired an agent by May 30.
There was virtually no chance that Vital was going to be drafted, but it was possible he could hook up with a team overseas or a perhaps in the NBA Developmental League — a.k.a. the GLeague. Still, those close to Vital — including Jere Quinn, his coach for two seasons at St. Thomas More Prep — believed all along that Vital was simply soliciting some feedback on his game and would ultimately return to UConn.
And that’s exactly what he will be doing. In fact, it appears UConn will have no defections from last year’s team, despite the firing on March 10 of Kevin Ollie. Jalen Adams, the team’s top scorer and best player, announced on April 22 that he would not even test the NBA Draft waters.
A better picture of who will return next season should become clear over the next week or two, as final grades are released.
But it appears that, after three players left the program via transfer a year earlier, there will be no such departures under new coach Dan Hurley. The only players Hurley wasn’t able to secure were the three players who committed to Ollie — James Akinjo, a point guard out of Oakland, California, Emmitt Matthews, Jr., a small forward out of Washington, and Lukas Kisunas, a power forward out of Lithuania via Brewster Academy.
Akinjo has signed with Georgetown, Matthews with West Virginia and Kisunas with Stanford.