With just over a month and a half until the season begins, the Harvard men’s basketball team needed just about a day and a half to clinch commitments from two recruits this past weekend.
Shortly after the end of their official campus visits, Chris Egi and Andrew Chatfield both proverbially donned a Crimson jersey on Sunday in committing to Harvard.
“I got a chance to meet the players [and] spend a little time with them,” Chatfield said. “I felt really comfortable there.”
Chatfield, a three-star guard from Georgia, will add yet another consistent shooting stroke to the Harvard backcourt. Listed at 6’5”, Chatfield’s jumper is what his Norcross High School coach, Jesse McMillan, calls his “bread and butter”.
“He’s very, very long, so his length allows him to be be very successful on the floor,” McMillan said. “He is an excellent perimeter shooter. That’s what he’s most known for…What he will do for Harvard is he will provide the team with a young man that can stretch the defense, and then knock down the open three.”
With co-captain Laurent Rivard graduating in May, Chatfield’s ability to connect from deep will be key for a Crimson squad that will be without a consistent three-point threat.
Chatfield’s commitment was not the product of just a few days of recruitment. The high school senior stated that Harvard coach Tommy Amaker was present at almost every one of his AAU games, including those in Indianapolis and Las Vegas—“the good and the bad.”
“Coach Amaker did a good job of recruiting me,” Chatfield said. “[He was] always there, calling and checking on me…He came down here [to Georgia] and personally spoke to my parents a few weeks ago. He had a good long conversation with us.”
Chatfield’s other top choices included LSU, Stanford, and Tulane. Ultimately, McMillan explained, a large part of Chatfield’s decision was academic.
“He’s really an impressive kid … because he’s able to balance his books and be a high level athlete,” McMillan said. “[Chatfield] had quite a few colleges and universities that were interested in him and recruiting him over the years, but I think everyone kind of knew, and he made it known, that he was interested in the academic side of things, so an Ivy League program was always a strong possibility.”
With the short plane ride from Georgia to Massachusetts, that “possibility” became a reality.
“He’s grinning ear to ear in school today,” added McMillan.
Arguably a more important addition to the Crimson Class of 2018 is Egi, a four-star center from Markham, Canada, who currently plays at Montverde Academy in Montverde, Fla. Egi’s announcement makes this the second consecutive year Amaker has drawn a top-100 prospect into the program, the other being freshman Zena Edosomwan. Despite the timing of their respective commitments, Chatfield said he and Egi didn’t discuss their impending decisions.
“We didn't really talk about it,” Chatfield said. “Throughout the whole weekend, he was also having a good time. He enjoyed the environment and playing some five-on-five [with the team].”
The third basketball recruit on campus for the weekend, guard Justin Gray from Tampa, Fla., also enjoyed his time at Harvard, according to Chatfield. But on Thursday morning, Gray announced via Twitter that he had verbally committed to Texas Tech, ending the Crimson’s chances at landing him.
Still, it was a highly successful visit for the Harvard basketball program, which looks to reload next year and maintain the momentum Amaker has built over the last few seasons.