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    Thursday, June 20, 2024

    UConn men’s basketball program lands impact transfer in Cam Spencer

    In this March 5 file photo, Rutgers guard Cam Spencer dribbles the ball against Northwestern during the second half of a game in Piscataway, N.J. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)

    Transfer Cam Spencer, the latest addition to the UConn basketball roster, has a well-deserved reputation as a potent perimeter shooter.

    But he can do much more than just bury jump shots.

    Just ask Patrick Sellers.

    Sellers, the head coach at Central Connecticut State University, saw Spencer’s all-around skills on display on Nov. 26 at Rutgers.

    A 6-foot-4 guard, Spencer sparked Rutgers to an 83-49 win, finishing with 18 points, four rebounds, five assists and two steals, going 4 for 6 from 3-point range.

    The box score didn’t tell the full story.

    “Most people look at him and say he’s a shooter,” Sellers said on Wednesday. “He’s more than that. He plays really hard. He has a high IQ and he can really shoot it. He’s not a one-trick pony. He can put it down, too, and make a play off the bounce.

    “He’s a combo guard; He can play the one or the two. He’s just a real tough competitor. He gets after it. I like him. He’s big on stealing the ball and he’s quick. If you’re sleeping, he’ll pick you or he’ll just work in the passing lane. He’s a really, really good player.”

    Spencer entered the transfer portal in mid-May after averaging 13.2 points per game, 3.8 points, 3.1 assists and two steals in 34 starts in his only season at Rutgers. He converted 43.4 percent from 3-point range, 44.4 percent overall from the field and 89.4 percent from the foul line.

    After taking an official visit to UConn on Monday, Spencer committed to the defending national champions on Tuesday. A graduate transfer, he has one year of eligibility remaining.

    Sellers, a former UConn assistant coach, believes that Spencer will make a big impact.

    “He fits them perfectly,” Sellers said. “It was a great pickup by UConn.”

    Finding a perimeter weapon was the top priority on UConn’s recruiting list. Spencer, who’s from Davidsonville, Md., meets that need. He’ll help fill the void from the departure of Jordan Hawkins and Joey Calcaterra, who made a combined 159 3-pointers last season.

    He’ll also provide a veteran presence on a relatively young team. Eight of UConn’s scholarship players are either freshmen (five), sophomores (two) or redshirt sophomores (one).

    And he’s capable of delivering in big moments.

    Last season, Spencer drained a game-winning 3-pointer with 14 seconds left in a 65-64 win at Purdue, ranked No. 1 at the time, and buried a go-ahead 3-pointer in a 65-62 road win at Northwestern and finished with 23 points.

    “He won’t be afraid of the moment,” Sellers said.

    Prior to playing at Rutgers, Spencer spent three seasons at Loyola University in Maryland. As a junior, he earned All-Patriot League first team honors after averaging 18.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists.

    Spencer also visited Miami before deciding to play at UConn.

    His addition leaves the Huskies with one scholarship remaining. Hurley stated Monday that he’ll likely leave that spot open.

    g.keefe@theday.com

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