The Zoom call Sunday, clearly, went well.
“I called back that night,” Matt Cerruti said Thursday.
That call was to signal his decision to join the UAlbany men’s basketball program as new head coach Dwayne Killings’ first commit at the school.
“The most important part for me was making sure I had a good feeling about where I was going,” Cerruti said Thursday in a phone interview with The Daily Gazette, a day after he publicized his decision to head to UAlbany with a social-media post.
Cerruti will complete his undergraduate degree in psychology from Division II Lock Haven in a few weeks, and then head to UAlbany as a graduate transfer. A 6-foot-4 guard, Cerruti averaged 15.6 points per game during three seasons at Lock Haven — the school didn’t play during the 2020-21 academic year because of the pandemic — and made 42.9% of his attempts from 3-point territory. Most recently, as a junior, Cerruti averaged 16.3 points per game and made 46.2% of his 3-point attempts.
A 22-year-old from Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, Cerruti played his high school basketball at Archbishop Wood Catholic High School. Cerruti’s senior season of high school basketball was the first for new UAlbany assistant coach Matt Griffin in his former role as head coach of the boys’ basketball team at Roman Catholic High School, and Cerruti had some familiarity with Griffin from his high school years.
“Just from being in the city of Philadelphia, I played with a bunch of his high school guys and always heard great things about him,” Cerruti said.
Cerruti knew, too, of Killings since the 6-foot-4 guard’s brother had worked as a manager at Temple during one of Killings’ two stops working on the coaching staff of Fran Dunphy.
“So it was a pretty good relationship that formed right away,” Cerruti said of his bond with the UAlbany coaching staff, which started recruiting him shortly after Killings accepted the position at UAlbany last month.
Cerruti had entered into the NCAA transfer portal last December. He had interest from Division I programs during his high school career, and said he only would have left Lock Haven for the right Division I program. He heard from a variety of Division I programs, including Bryant and Robert Morris, in recent weeks before deciding to head to UAlbany.
“As a competitor, obviously, if you get the chance to play at the top level, you’d be a fool not to take it,” Cerruti said. “I’ve always believed that I’m a Division I player and that I’m capable of playing at that level, so it’s nice to say I got there.
“But that’s just where the work begins for me now, and I’m excited to go tackle this.”
As a graduate transfer, Cerruti will be immediately eligible to play and will have one year to suit up for UAlbany. The message from Killings and his coaching staff about the desire to win games right away was important to Cerruti.
“They’re not looking for a [long] rebuild, which is something I value,” Cerruti said. “With only the one year, I want to win and help as much as possible.”