“I’m staying in the Northeast,” Vital said with excitement.
Vital, a 6-foot-2 guard out of Oakdale (Conn.) St. Thomas More, picked Kevin Ollie and the Huskies over Louisville.
“Basically [Kevin Ollie], he’s texted me before 9:00 every day this week,” Vital said. “Just letting me know about he Lakers situation and that he loves me and he’s staying at UConn. That really means something to me, to have that kind of relationship with the head coach, knowing he has a million things to do.”
Originally a UNLV signee, Vital reopened his recruitment in mid-May due to the coaching change.
Vital took official visits to Connecticut and Louisville last week. He then unofficially visited UConn on Wednesday because his mom wasn’t able to make the first visit.
“I loved both campuses and both universities put full support into the men’s basketball program,” Vital said. “I think with my mom she wasn’t too sure with me committing to UNLV. I told her when I decommitted that I would listen to her a little more.”
“She loved both places as well and met with both coaches and thought they were great people, but she felt the hands on, family and father-son type relationship with KO would be the best situation for me.”
Vital said he related to Ollie and his background and that ultimately pushed him to UConn.
“KO is just a genuine and good guy,” Vital said. “I see myself as having a chance to play in the NBA one day. Looking at KO and knowing he wasn’t a top 50 or top 100 player, he had a grind to work for everything he got. That’s replicate of myself.”
“I didn’t get UConn until after my senior season,” he added. “I just think that having a coach and mentor like KO who is also hands on, on the court with you, being able to show you the things you need to do. That’s just a perfect marriage. He’s a real genuine guy and I mean it.”
With the Vital pledge, Ollie and Connecticut now have five commitments in their 2016 class. Vital joins top 75 recruits Alterique Gilbert, Juwan Durham and Vance Jackson, as as well as three-star forward Mamadou Diarra to make up their class.