Christy Selagy (@ChristySelagy)
Central Bucks West senior Teddy Spratt first met his future college coach when he was about five years old. Of course, he didn’t know it at the time—how many kindergarteners are thinking about their college plans? Probably none.
Spratt’s mother had previously been an assistant coach with the Delaware Valley University’s women’s basketball team, so the family was often around the campus. When Casey Stitzel was hired as the men’s basketball head coach for the 2008-09 season, Spratt and his family got to know him pretty well, thanks to their frequent campus visits and game attendance.
Teddy Spratt (above left, last season) will spend his college years playing for Millersville. (Photo courtesy Teddy Spratt)
Spratt didn’t see Stitzel after he left to take the head coach job at Millersville, just outside of Lancaster, prior to the 2016-17 season. Until college recruiting came around, that is.
“When (Stitzel) started recruiting me, I went up on a visit, (and) it just felt like a really great fit,” Spratt said. “I thought they had really nice facilities, weight room, basketball gym. That really attracted me to the school. And as a basketball program, I felt like they’re really on the come up in the PSAC [Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference].”
Like many Division II schools, Millersville didn’t play this season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but their two most recent seasons have shown promise. In 2018-19, the Marauders went 16-13 (11-9) after a 19-36 (16-28) record over Stitzel’s first two seasons.
Last season, Millersville finished 15-15 (11-11), with nine of those losses being decided by five or fewer points, and an 11-3 home record. The fourth-seeded Marauders won their first round game in the PSAC Tournament, and lost to No. 1 seed Shippensburg by three points after being down by as many as 16.
Spratt knew he wanted to play in the PSAC, and the Marauders’ upward trajectory was a big draw. Though he also had an offer from PSAC competitor West Chester, the 6-foot-4, 182-pound wing felt the Marauders wanted him more. And he clicked with Sitzel and Millersville assistant coach Chris Conway, making it an easy choice to commit to Millersville in December.
“They like to run it up and down,” Spratt said. “Whatever guard gets it can kinda just go, which I think really fits my style of play. I like to get up and down, transition. At West, we like to kind of slow it down, so when we want to do that at Millersville, I'll be used to that stuff. I think it’s good for both styles. I can do both.”
As any college athlete can tell you, the journey to get there isn’t easy. Spratt was somewhat of a late developer and didn’t break out until his final two years of high school, according to CB West head coach Adam Sherman.
“When he came in, he was really just a kid that could put the ball on the floor and slash to the rim,” Sherman said. “He’s really grown in his ability to be a perimeter player, his ability to shoot the ball as the three-level scorer. He’s able to get to the rim, shoot mid-range and also shoot off the bounce on the perimeter.”
Spratt struggled with his jump shot early in his high school years, but devoted himself to evolving his game and improving his shot, particularly over the past two summers, when he and Sherman met in the gym four or five days a week at 8 am.
This past summer looked different, of course, given the pandemic restrictions in place. Luckily for Spratt, one of his neighbors has a private gym in a barn, which Spratt was able to use to continue to work on his shot while public gyms were closed.
“Coach Sherman was great,” Spratt said. “He’s been a really big piece to my success in high school and AAU and getting me the college looks. I just want to get better every day, and that’s really it.”
Teddy Spratt (above) missed a handful of games his senior season, but still earned All-SOL Second Team honors. (Photo courtesy Teddy Spratt)
Spratt’s hard work paid off, not just with his college commitment, but also with a strong season that earned him All-League Second Team honors for the Suburban One's Colonial Division and a 2021 The Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery Media All-Area honorable mention after averaging 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists per game.
The 2021 season was short compared to all previous high school basketball seasons, but it was even shorter for Spratt. Towards the end of the third quarter of the Bucks’ Feb. 13 game at New Hope Solebury, Spratt sprained his ankle and missed the next four games.
In a normal season, missing four games wouldn’t be a huge deal, but the 2021 season was far from normal. When a team is scheduled to play somewhere between 15 and 18 games (bearing in mind none of those are guaranteed to be played with COVID lurking in the background), missing a handful of games is significant.
It was frustrating, sure, but Spratt didn’t let that slow him down. Every day after school, he went to the school’s physical therapist to exercise and ice his ankle. As the sprain healed, he began to do some sprints to keep up with his conditioning as much as possible.
Spratt still wasn’t feeling 100 percent better when CB West’s final game against CB East rolled around on March 2. At that point, the Bucks were 3-13 and knew they wouldn’t have a spot in the playoffs. Spratt hadn’t participated in any live practices since the sprain, but that didn’t matter. He was going to play.
“It was something that I probably shouldn’t have done,” Spratt said. “The game didn’t mean anything, but it meant something to me. I had to. I had to play one last East-West game. I just felt like I had to.”
He took some Motrin and had his ankle taped before the game—not a comfortable experience, but he felt he had to play through it for his team.
Spratt’s drive is one of the things that stands out most to Sherman, whether it was as a freshman determined to improve his game or as a senior focused on continuing to develop, even when sidelined by an injury. Constantly working to improve himself is just what Spratt does.
“We’ve been really lucky to have Teddy in our program just because of the example he set for our younger guys,” Sherman said. “He’s been a great leader for our program, carries himself real well, really gets along with all the kids in our program and really made our group much tighter as a team because of his personality and how he interacts with kids from all different ages. I’ve loved coaching him. I've loved watching his growth.
“Millersville is really going to enjoy him as a teammate and player.”