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    Friday, September 29, 2023

    Hurley calls Spencer a perfect addition to the UConn basketball program

    In this March 5 file photo, Northwestern guard Chase Audige drives to the basket against Rutgers guard Cam Spencer during the second half of a game in Piscataway, N.J. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)
    In this March 2 file photo, Rutgers guard Cam Spencer (10) works around Minnesota's Jamison Battle during the second half of a game in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

    During his official visit to Storrs earlier this week, Cam Spencer felt a connection with coach Dan Hurley.

    They are both fueled by a fierce competitive spirit and drive.

    “We’re like two peas in a pod,” Spencer said in a phone conversation on Friday.

    A Rutgers transfer, Spencer, who committed to UConn on Tuesday, will arrive on campus early next week to begin a new college basketball journey.

    Spencer’s official visit on Monday and Tuesday convinced him that the defending national champions would be a great fit.

    “Unbelievable,” said Spencer, a 6-foot-4 guard from Davidsonville, Md. “I hit it off with the coaching staff, especially coach (Dan) Hurley. We’re just very like-minded people in our competitiveness and our edge. I’m really excited to get up there and get after it.”

    Hurley reached out to Spencer the first day after the guard entered the transfer portal in mid-May. They had a long conversation.

    “The things that he prides his program on, being blue-collar and toughness and playing on both sides of the floor are all things I pride myself on as a player,” Spencer said. “So, we really hit it off that way.

    “He has high expectations and I have high expectations for myself. I want to live up to those (expectations) and I’m going to work my butt off to help win another championship.”

    Spencer averaged a team-high tying 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. Prior to Rutgers, he played three seasons at Loyola University in Maryland.

    During his official visit, Spencer checked out the facilities, watched the team’s first summer workout on Monday and spent time with the coaching staff and some players.

    He’s expected to make an immediate impact. He has one year of eligibility remaining.

    “Cam is the perfect addition to our basketball program,” Hurley said in a release. “He brings a unique combination of high-level skill and feel for the game, with a fierce competitiveness that has allowed him to enjoy a terrific college basketball career thus far.

    “Cam is a big-time shooter who also handles and passes well, while playing a disruptive style of defense. We cannot wait to get Cam integrated into our basketball family. His veteran leadership will be a welcome benefit.”

    Spencer will help fill the void left by the departure of Jordan Hawkins, the team’s top perimeter weapon and reliable scorer last season. He prides himself on being a two-way player.

    “We talked a little bit about my role,” said Spencer about his conversation with Hurley. “I told him that I wanted to come in and earn everything. Losing Jordan Hawkins who’s a great shooter and scorer for them, it’s a role that he’s looking for me to come in and fill. That’s somewhere I can contribute.

    “But anything this team needs me to do, I’m willing to do it. … “I pride myself on being a two-way player, just a competitor who’s going to give everything on both ends of the floor.”

    Spencer revealed that he didn’t watch UConn’s NCAA tournament run. He checked out the games after the postseason ended.

    “I won’t lie to you, I actually boycotted the tournament because I thought we should have gotten in as a team,” said Spencer, referring to Rutgers. “I went back and watched all their games after the tournament.”

    So, what impressed Spencer about the Huskies?

    “The main thing was their chemistry on the court as a team,” Spencer said. “They were nine deep last year. Just how many guys they had who could contribute and just how connected they were as a team on both ends of the floor, that was really intriguing for me.”


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