The NCAA early signing period opened on Wednesday, allowing prospective student-athletes to sign letters of intent and officially become part of the programs to which they had previously given their verbal pledge to join.
All three of Kevin Ollie’s three verbal commits took advantage of this period, signing on the first day.
“It’s a good mix,” Ollie said in a release from the school. “They are all players that we need... A lot of people look at the rankings, but they are top 10 players for us as a team.”
Lukas Kisunas’ letter came first. He tweeted about signing it a touch before 10:30 a.m. The big man is originally from Lithuania and will be spending his final prep season playing at Brewster Academy, Jalen Adams’ and Sidney Wilson’s alma mater. He gave his verbal commitment on Oct. 2.
Standing at 6-foot-10, he has shown an ability to rebound and score at the international level, as he averaged 8.9 points and 6.4 rebounds per game at the FIBA U-18 European Championship over the summer.
“Lukas is a tough big man who really understands the game,” Ollie said. “He’s an exceptional passer, a player you can run the offense through. That’s a great thing to have, a 5-man who can pop out and have the offense run through him.”
Ollie added that Kisunas is a “great screener, a pick-and-roll guy, and has a great skill set as a big.”
UConn also had a letter come in from Rivals top-150 player Emmitt Matthews, Jr., a 6-foot-7 swingman out of Tacoma, Washington.
Originally committing on Sep. 23, Matthews is a player that could have been brought from West coast to East coast by former Washington assistant Raphael Chillious.
Matthews has a reputation as a strong outside shooter and his 6-foot-7, 180 pound frame lends itself to defensive versatility.
“Emmitt is a tremendous athlete who can really run the court,” Ollie said. “We want him to be able to play defense on four different positions. He’s a nice shooter who can make the three and also has outstanding skills as a facilitator.”
“James is a point guard, a leader, and just a winner,” Ollie said. “His toughness came through at the Peach Jam, when he led his team to the championship, but he’s always had that winning mentality... He’ll be a true point guard for us.”
UConn opens up their regular season schedule on November 10 at Gampel Pavilion against Colgate. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.