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UConn Men’s Basketball: Christian Vital to Return After Testing NBA Draft Waters

One of the Huskies’ key players from last season is coming back for his junior year.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

New UConn Huskies men’s basketball coach Dan Hurley got arguably his biggest pickup of the offseason as sophomore guard Christian Vital announced he will return to Storrs next season after briefly entering the NBA Draft.

While it was never likely Vital would get drafted, the new rules allowed for him to see where he stood among some of the top players around the country without any risk. Overall, returning to UConn is a good choice for Vital as he can develop for another year or two under Hurley and before attempting to reach his dream of playing in the NBA.

The Huskies backcourt will be stacked next season with Vital and Jalen Adams returning along with incoming freshman Brendan Adams, grad transfer Tarin Smith and a (hopefully) healthy Alterique Gilbert.

Vital made a solid leap as a sophomore, taking on a bigger role on both ends of the floor. He was second on the team with 14.9 points in 31.7 minutes per game. He also led the team in rebounds per game (5.4) and total steals (50).

However, Vital underperformed behind the arc, hitting just 31.8 percent of his 3-point attempts. While some of that had to do with teams focusing defensive attention on just him and Adams, Vital also needs to improve his shot selection at times. Overall, his return is great news for UConn and will hopefully speed up Hurley’s rebuild of the program.