CCSU’s Vinales to Transfer

What was shaping up to be one of the best basketball careers at Central Connecticut State took a surprising turn Tuesday night when Kyle Vinales announced he would be transferring from the school for his final two years of eligibility.

“I’ve been thinking about it, me and my family, for a couple of weeks, going back and forth and came to the decision yesterday,” said Vinales Wednesday night.

Around 7:30 p.m. Vinales tweeted his sudden decision.

“I appreciate everyone at CCSU [that’s] supported me [and] helped me over the past 2 years but I am deciding to play my remaining 2 years elsewhere,” tweeted Vinales.

Vinales led the Blue Devils to a 13-17 record in the 2012-13 season (9-9 in the Northeast Conference) and the seventh seed in the conference tournament where the Blue Devils fell to Wagner College 72-50 in the first round. The Detroit native scored a program record 649 points last season and became the 35th player in school history to reach the 1,000 point mark; and the fastest at that. It took him only 52 games to do so.

As a freshman, Vinales was named NEC Rookie of the Year and this past year he had one of the best season’s in CCSU history, averaging 21.6 points per game; named first team all-conference. The high point of the year for Vinales and the Blue Devils home crowd may have been in the waning seconds of what looked to be another loss to in-state rival Quinnipiac. “KV3” took the game into his own hands, dribbled in front of his bench and then with about six seconds left, pulled up from 28 feet and sank a dagger, defeating the Bobcats for the first time in the last nine meetings.

On February 14, Vinales dropped a CCSU Division I record 42 points in a 101-82 loss to Wagner on Staten Island. That marked the seventh time in his career he went over 30 points in a game and the first and only 40 point game he would have for CCSU.

The sophomore, who had said in recent interviews he would not leave New Britain made the surprise announcement to be released from his scholarship at the end of the year, joining Adonis Burbage and redshirt freshman Erik Raleigh on the most recent NCAA transfer list.

“I think everybody was shocked, because throughout the season I never said anything about leaving,” said Vinales, who has nothing but praise for his coach and teammates.

“I always enjoyed playing for Coach D. and all my teammates, that’s why it was so hard. I’m going to miss my teammates and the coaching staff a lot,” said Vinales.

Vinales has not yet decided on a new school and cannot be in contact with other programs until the paperwork to be released from his scholarship is finalized. He will have to sit out a year if he transfers to a Division I program.

Cold-blooded Kyle Vinales

Quinnipiac took a two point lead with about 30 seconds to go, Kyle Vinales held the ball close to half court while the clocked ticked to under ten seconds. It looked as if Vinales would drive to tie the game, but he didn’t. The defense gave him enough room to pop and shoot. I think the crowd went silent. SPLASH! They erupted. Joe Efese hugged Vinales at half court as the sophomore guard soaked in the reaction from his fellow students.

This was not the biggest or best game of Vinales’ career statistically, but it was easily the most exciting. At the half, Vinales had only five points and it was looking like it was going to be a tough night on the boards versus the second leading rebounding team in the country. Numerous times Quinnipiac would miss a layup, but then get three or four chances to put it back. The Bobcats grabbed 21 offensive rebounds and scored 13 second chance points.

I predicted before the game that Quinnipiac would out-rebound Central by 20 and Ike Azotam would have 18 himself, let’s see how close I was…

QU 47, CCSU 35 = 12

Ike Azotam – 6

So I was wrong, but I am glad I was wrong. Almost every time Azotam touched the ball on the offensive side, he was double-teamed. That’s the only way to stop a beast like him down low. Zaid Hearst was the guy who could have killed the Blue Devils tonight. He shot 6-11 for 17 points and as the Bobcats inbounded with 5.6 seconds left for a shot to tie or win, I knew he had to be tightly guarded.

Evan Conti drove the length of the court, but his runner came up short as time expired giving CCSU their eighth Northeast Conference victory of the season, thus clinching a spot in the conference tournament. I have no idea who holds the tiebreakers and all that stuff, but the Blue Devils won in dramatic fashion tonight and that’s all that matters.

If you want more on the NEC tournament and such as the season winds down, but tournament time heats up, follow the following people on Twitter…




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