When it was announced just over a month ago that Central Connecticut State leading scorer Kyle Vinales would look to transfer, the biggest factor in his decision was a desire to reach postseason play.
Vinales, who averaged nearly 22 points per game as a sophomore, at one point tweeted his decision to transfer to Toledo only to reconsider that move the following day.
Toledo was certainly an interesting destination given the fact that they haven’t reached the NCAA tournament since 1980. But to be fair, Tod Kowalczyk and his staff have things headed in the right direction after being ineligible for postseason play in 2012-13 due to APR issues.
The “where will Vinales attend school next year” saga reached its end on Friday, as it was reported by Mike Anthony of the Hartford Courant that Vinales will return to Howie Dickenman’s program for his junior season.
“I called Coach Dickenman on Thursday to ask if my scholarship was still available. He said that it was,” Vinales said on Friday in a statement released by the school.
“I made a mistake and this process has taught me what is really important. I learned that my teammates are my brothers and that this coaching staff and school truly care about my future and about me. You don’t find that everywhere and I realize that now.”
To say the least this is big news for CCSU, which lost small forward Adonis Burbage (10.3 ppg; transfer) at the end of the 2012-13 season. With Vinales back in the fold the Blue Devils will return their top two scorers from a season ago, as 6-5 forward Matt Hunter will look to build upon a season in which he averaged 15.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.
But for as positive as this change of heart is from a skill standpoint, Vinales may have some work to do in the locker room when it comes to regaining the trust of a group he decided to leave a month ago.
“Kyle knows that he has some work to do to earn back some of the trust of his teammates, but I believe he is sincere in doing that,” Dickenman said in the statement.
“He is committed to what he needs to do to make this right. We didn’t have any ill will towards Kyle when he decided to leave, and now that he has been through that process we are happy that he will be a Blue Devil for the rest of his career. He’s a hard worker, and now the work continues for next season.”
Does CCSU have enough firepower to challenge the likes of LIU Brooklyn, Robert Morris and Wagner in the Northeast Conference next season? That remains to be seen, but the return of Vinales won’t hurt their chances.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.