Recruit Richard Springs commits to UConn, will play right away
Hope Springs eternal at UConn.
Richard Springs, a 6-foot-9 power forward from Brooklyn, has committed to the Huskies after an official visit to campus. Springs made his announcement on Twitter Tuesday afternoon.
He’ll fill UConn’s 12th and final scholarship for the 2019-20 season.
“The history behind UConn basketball, the culture, and my relationship with the coaching staff played a role in my decision,” Springs said via text on Tuesday evening. “I also want to be a part of UConn’s rebuilding process as they go back into the Big East.”
UConn will play one more season in the American Athletic Conference before returning to the Big East for the 2020-21 season.
“It would mean a lot to me to be a part of UConn’s rebuild,” Springs added. “I want to help UConn go back to the way it was.”
Springs, 17, graduated in June from MacDuffie School in Granby, Mass., where he was a teammate of UConn incoming frosh guard James Bouknight. He was slated to do a postgrad year at Brewster Academy this upcoming season, but will instead reclassify back to 2019 and be ready to play for the Huskies.
According to 247sports.com’s composite rankings, Springs is a three-star prospect ranked No. 141 overall in the nation for the Class of 2020 and No. 23 among power forwards. He averaged 13 points and 13 rebounds per game at the Nike EYBL Peach Jam tournament last month.
Illinois, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, Creighton, USF, Rutgers, DePaul and Wake Forest were among the many other schools that recruited Springs. He added that he has a very close relationship with UConn assistant coach Kimani Young.
The Huskies are a bit thin up front this season, especially with Mamadou Diarra’s recent decision to stop playing basketball due to chronic knee issues but remain with the team as a student assistant coach. Six-foot-10 junior Josh Carlton figures to be one of the best big men in the American Athletic Conference. In fact, his emergence last season as the AAC’s Co-Most Improved Player hurt UConn in the grad transfer market for big men. Not too many players with just one year of eligibility left want to play backup center.
Redshirt frosh Akok Akok, a 6-9, five-star prospect, is expected to be a rim-protecting presence. Outside of that, however, the Huskies’ only returning true big man is 6-8 Isaiah Whaley, who played just 3.6 minutes per game last season. Tyler Polley, 6-8, is more of a perimeter player (38-percent 3-point shooter), and 6-7 Sidney Wilson is also a lean (177-pound) small forward. Even Akok could be more perimeter-oriented on offense.
Springs could very well play a role as a rebounder and defender off the bench this season.
“[The staff] said I’ll have to earn my playing time,” Springs said. “I will give my 100-percent effort in practice every day and we’ll see what happens.”
Springs’ re-classification and commitment to UConn has been in the works for more than a month. Although Springs won’t play for Brewster coach Jason Smith this season, there are no hard feelings.
“Richie is a very versatile, skilled forward,” Smith said in a text. “He’s played for some tremendous coaches during his high school years in (PSA Cardinals AAU director) Terrence ‘Munch’ Williams, (former MacDuffie coach) Jacque Rivera and (PSA coach) Isaac Green. He’s someone who has a very bright future. Although I didn’t have an opportunity to coach him, I’m very excited about his future. I enjoyed getting to know him, as well as his mother, over the last few months. I look forward to following his career.”
UConn has just 12 scholarships available for this season after docking itself a scholarship due to violations committed under former coach Kevin Ollie.
CC YOU LATER?
Speaking of UConn recruits, Yankee pitcher CC Sabathia made some waves on Sunday night when he said during a Sunday Night Baseball in-game interview that his son, Carsten, is being recruited by the Huskies’ baseball team.
Like many proud parents, however, Sabathia may have been exaggerating a little bit. UConn hasn’t been actively recruiting Carsten, a Class of 2022 player at Bergen Catholic in New Jersey, though it’s likely Sabathia received brochures from the school, as many prospective recruits have.
That’s not to say the Huskies won’t be recruiting Carsten Sabathia moving forward.
Springs will soon have to pick out a uniform number. UConn’s other three incoming frosh already have: Jalen Gaffney will wear No. 0, James Bouknight will wear No. 2 and Akok Akok will sport No. 23.