The University of Richmond, on the hunt for big men, received an oral commitment from a 6-foot-10 player on Sunday. Michael Walz, a rising senior at Conestoga High in Berwyn, Pa., announced via Twitter that he’ll join the Spiders.
According to the 240-pound Walz, scholarship offers were also extended by Penn State, William & Mary, Bucknell, Drexel, Stony Brook, Delaware and Lehigh. The next day prospects can sign with college programs is Nov. 10. College coaches are prohibited by NCAA rules from commenting on recruits who have orally committed until they sign.
The Spiders have two scholarships available this recruiting cycle, and coach Chris Mooney said the UR staff during the summer evaluation period focused primarily on frontcourt players heading into their senior years of high school. Walz would fill one of those two slots.
Richmond looked to fortify its interior force because the program following this season will definitely lose 6-10 Grant Golden, who will play as a sixth-year senior, and 6-7 fifth-year senior Nathan Cayo, also an inside player. The class status of 6-9 Spiders Matt Grace and Sal Koureissi is flexible.
Grace and Koureissi have played three seasons. Following this year, they could return for a fifth season, if interested and invited back, because the NCAA granted all winter-sports athletes from 2020-21 bonus years in response to the pandemic.
Andre Weir, 6-10 and 265 pounds, enrolled at UR last fall but left school in December. Weir subsequently signed with Florida Gulf Coast, and his departure put a premium on the Spiders finding inside players.
Assessments of Walz suggest he is a late-bloomer who grew 2 inches since his sophomore year of high school. During Mooney’s tenure at UR, which began in 2005, the Spiders have consistently recruited big men who are comfortable distributing the ball and shooting from 3-point distance. Walz fits that model.
Richmond’s last recruiting class, whose members have reported to campus and begun workouts, consists primarily of backcourt players: 5-10 Jason Nelson (John Marshall High), 6-4 Malcolm Dread, 6-5 Marcus Randolph and 6-7 Aidan Noyes.