As senior Christian Vital begins to write the final chapters of his underrated and underappreciated four-year career, head coach Dan Hurley and some of his teammates have stepped up to the sing the praises of the captain.
“He’s had to carry a heavy load for a lot of years here. He’s made some adjustments in the last six weeks that deserve all-conference recognition. He’s been surrounded by freshmen, sophomores, and all types of attrition. He’s like Iron Man.”
“He becomes an example for next year’s team and the future guys I coach here. He’s got Marcus Smart more than Damien Lillard. That’s his legacy here. There’s wins out there for us to go attack, but his legacy is a guy that when you look two-three years down the line when we win a championship, he’s going to have his fingerprints over it. We all use perceived slights to drive us to work harder, and if you don’t think he remembers he was the least bally-hooed of that class, it still drives and fuels him. In a positive way.”
Sophomore Brendan Adams
“He’s the most competitive person I know, maybe other than coach Hurley. He just wants to win every game, every thing. It’s important for us to send him out in a good way.”
Freshman James Bouknight
“I’m trying to learn the way he leads. That type is the person that will put us over the hump. I’m trying to learn from that.”
Junior Isaiah Whaley
“His leadership is tremendous. Whenever people joke too much, he keeps us in line. He makes sure we’re solid and level-headed. If someone gets a little cocky in the huddle, he straightens them back up.
Vital: “I was taught from a young age, you don’t run from adversity. I think everyone knows I kind of made a decision that I wasn’t gonna come back after my sophomore year. The way it’s happened, I feel like everything happens for a reason."— David Borges (@DaveBorges) March 4, 2020
And here’s what Vital had to say:
“You don’t let people put a cap on your abilities or what you can do. Everyone has their opinion, but I also have my own about myself. I know if I work, I know I can do certain things, and I believe in myself.”
“It means a lot, because of the names. Ray, Kemba, Gordon, Shabazz. I can go on and on. With me passing some of those guys and to have people kind of thinking of me in the same page, it’s humbling. I have a lot work to do before to get to them though.”
“It’s crazy. Time is flying. But I’m not about to get caught up in that. We have a lot more games left, even if it’s my last one in Gampel, it’s not my last one in a UConn jersey. I’ll keep staying on task for the season and the other stuff will take its place. We have a lot more to do.”
The Huskies take on #21 Houston at 7 p.m. tomorrow at Gampel Pavilion. Senior night festivities will take place beforehand.