Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
With only a few more chances left to pick up a Division I scholarship before making a college decision, Westtown School (Pa.) senior guard Edvinas Rupkus got the news he was waiting for on Friday night.
"It's exciting, oh my God, I still can't believe it," he said over the phone on Saturday. "It's really amazing."
It was Saint Peter's head coach John Dunne who offered the 6-foot-3 guard from Lithuania, doing so while Rupkus was on an unofficial visit to the Jersey City school.
The scholarship came on the heels of a very good weekend for Rupkus at The Hoop Group's Spring Jam Fest out in Manheim (Pa.), where he played with the NJ Shoreshots.
"We had a successful weekend as a team and I played well too, so I got some Division I interest, and throughout the week we talked to the coach, and we set up the visit," Rupkus said. "Eventually they really wanted me, and they offered me."
Rupkus has generally been overshadowed as a prospect in his years at Westtown, playing alongside kids like current Maryland freshman Jared Nickens, potential 2016 NBA lottery pick Georgios Papagiannis, 2016 PG Jair Bolden, 2017 F/C Mohammed Bamba and more. But he's got very good size and feel for the game, with a crafty offensive game and a knockdown stroke from beyond the arc.
Saint Peter's isn't the only school who's taking a serious look at Rupkus this month. He was on his way up to Quinnipiac for a Saturday afternoon visit, and will visit LIU Brooklyn on Tuesday.
It's exactly what Rupkus and Westtown head coach Seth Berger hoped could happen by playing the two April live periods on the AAU circuit and giving him two final weekends in front of Division I coaches.
"[I] talked to Seth and he said we can try and if anything happens, great, but I was hoping that I [was] going to get some looks," he said. "I was just working hard the whole spring and it was my goal to eventually get something and I'm lucky to have this."
Even if he doesn't pick up any more D-I offers, Rupkus has a few other options on the table. He has Division II scholarship opportunities from Bentley University (Mass.) and St. Thomas Aquinas College (N.Y.), plus interest from Philadelphia University; he was also accepted to Division III Skidmore College (N.Y.), and it's clear they're still in the running as well.