Luke Piotrowski commits to Richmond 

August, 11, 2010
The University of Richmond got a big commitment this weekend -- literally and figuratively.

Luke Piotrowski, a 6-foot-11 center from Atlantic Christian School in New Jersey, committed to the Spiders amidst several scholarship offers and additional recruitment from BCS level schools.

"It really came down to the fact that I had developed a great relationship with their coaching staff as well as a couple of their players," he said. "I took a visit to their campus in early June and really found it to be a comfortable fit."

Piotrowski is a big man, who projects to be an ideal fit in Richmond's system becuase he is exceptionally skilled both inside and out and consequently tailor made for the Princeton-style offense, which Richmond coach Chris Mooney utilizes.

"Basketball wise they are graduating two big men and I felt like I would have a chance to come in and contribute as a freshman," he said. "I like to go outside a little bit, and to the high post as well, and coach Mooney made it clear that I would be able to do those things."

While Piotrowski will no doubt play both inside and out for Richmond, it is his skill set facing the basket that makes him so uniquely qualified to play the pivot position for the Spiders because he is just as effective passing the ball from the perimeter as he is shooting it, a rarity for a player his size but a necessity for a pivot player within Richmond's style of play.

Piotrowski decided to make an early pledge to Richmond, despite holding scholarship offers from the likes of Arizona, Maryland, Arizona State, and Oregon State while having drawn strong attention from Wake Forest, Florida, and California towards the end of the July live period.

"A lot of other high-major schools came into the mix pretty late. They didn't offer but if we continued to talk it might have gotten to that point," he said, "But I felt really positive that Richmond was the place for me and I didn't want to wait any longer."

With his decision now behind him, Piotrowski has already set his sights on another goal.

"The Atlantic 10 is a solid conference and it was cool that they play the championship in Atlantic City, which is like 10 minutes from my house," he said. "Coach Mooney has built the program from the ground up and brought it to a high level and I would love to be a part of bringing it even higher."

Connaughton starting the process

One of the biggest surprise stars of the summer has begun the process of sorting through his newfound scholarship offers.

Pat Connaughton took Orlando by storm late in July as he went from a virtual unknown to a high-major priority virtually overnight.

The 6-4 swingman arrived at the AAU Super Showcase with offers from Vermont and Harvard. By the time the Super Showcase and the AAU Nationals had finished, he owned scholarship offers from Notre Dame, UCLA, Stanford, Tennessee, Colorado, Iowa State, Vanderbilt, Florida, Miami, Boston College and Penn State, among others according to Middlesex Magic coach Mike Crotty Jr.

Long before becoming a high-major basketball prospect, Connaughton was being recruited by baseball programs from those levels thanks to his 6-10 wingspan and 95 mph fastball.

Following an intense month of basketball in July, Connaughton took the first week of August off to recuperate before heading out to the West Coast for a baseball event this week.

While on the trip he will also take his first two unofficial basketball visits, as he plans to visit both UCLA and Stanford. A subsequent trip to Notre Dame has also been set up according to Crotty.

"Basically the kid really hasn't been able to take a deep breath," Crotty said. "He'll come home after this latest trip, consider his options, and begin to narrow his list."

While Connaughton certainly has a plethora of physical tools and basketball skills, one of the best parts about his story is the fact that this is a kid who made himself a high-major prospect, in large part, due to his passion for the game. He competes with relentless energy and an obvious love for the game. It's rare in this day and age to see a player recruited for his intangibles, but with Connaughton that is definitely part of his allure.

"With Patrick those things are so unbelievably obvious," Crotty said, "and for people to see that is such a compliment to him."