STORRS --- The UConn men's basketball program has received a signed Letter of Intent from Christian Vital, a combination guard from Queens Village, N.Y., who will join the freshman class of 2016-17.
Vital, 6-2 and 170 pounds, averaged 16.2 points per game last season at St. Thomas More (Oakdale, Conn.), helping the Chancellors to a 31-7 record and the National Prep Championship finals.
Vital is known as a high-energy athlete, who can play either guard position, with an outstanding long range jumper, and is a solid defender. But UConn coach Kevin Ollie feels that he brings to the program much more than his basketball skills.
"Besides being a great basketball player with a great basketball mind, Christian is just an outstanding leader," Ollie said. "He has won wherever he's been. He's a great person who lifts your spirit when you're around him.
"Christian's ability to play both guard positions and his leadership qualities are what intrigued us. His combination of talent and character are what we're looking for in our student-athletes. We think he'll be a wonderful addition to the program."
Vital was a New England Prep School Athletic Conference Class AAA All-New England First-Team selection. He scored 13 points, including three three-pointers, and handed out seven assists in the Jordan Brand Classic Regional Game, in which he played with fellow UConn incoming recruit Mamadou Diarra.
"He may have improved more than any kid I've ever had here for two years," St.Thomas More coach Jere Quinn told the Norwich Bulletin. "He's such a hard worker. First to show up in the gym, last to leave --- that kind of kid."
Vital is also well-acquainted with more of his future UConn teammates. In 2014-15 at St. Thomas More, he was a teammate of UConn rising sophomore forward Steve Enoch, he played he played AAU ball with current UConn redshirt sophomore Terry Larrier, and knows UConn rising sophomore Jalen Adams from the AAU and NEPSAC circuits.
Vital joins UConn's highly-touted recruiting class which has been consistently rated among the top 10 in the country, including forward Diarra (Queens, N.Y.), guard Alterique Gilbert (Lithonia, Ga.), and forwards Vance Jackson (Altedena, Calif.), and Juwan Durham (Tampa, Fla.).