Hartford men’s basketball signs Russian forward Petr Stepanyants

The Hartford men’s basketball team has signed Petr Stepanyants (Moscow, Russia/The Balboa City School) to a National Letter of Intent, head coach John Gallagher announced today. The 6-foot-9 Stepanyants will join the Hawks in the fall of 2017.

“We are very excited to welcome Petr to the University of Hartford,” Gallagher said. “He is a high character young man who brings a good basketball IQ and a lively body to the court. He finishes well through contact, and at 6-foot-9, he has good perimeter skill. Petr is also an elite student who will impact our community greatly.”

Stepanyants played club basketball for Dynamo Moscow, where he averaged 17 points and eight rebounds in 2014-15, his first season with the team. He attended Moscow Gymnazia until the end of his junior year before transferring for his senior year to the Balboa City School in Escondido, Calif.

In his one season for Balboa under Zach Jones, Stepanyants averaged 12 points and seven rebounds while leading his team to a 29-10 record. He earned All-Tournament honors at the Crush in the Valley Tourney in 2016. Stepanyants also collected All-Tournament honors at the Oktoberfest Tournament in Munich, Germany, in 2015.

The 210-pound big man plays the role of a face-up forward with good perimeter skill and strong footwork. He finishes through contact well and can knock down threes, particularly in transition. Stepanyants also possesses a 6-foot-11 wingspan.

The first Hawk to sign with the program from Russia, Stepanyants is also a standout off the court. He was the valedictorian at Balboa, and also won a city-wide physics competition in Moscow in 2015. His classroom smarts carry over to the basketball court, where he brings a strong basketball IQ as well.

Stepanyants joins junior college product Travis Weatherington (Palm Beach, Fla.) as the latest signees for the Hawks heading into the 2017-18 season. Hartford also signed three players during the NCAA’s early signing period and returns seven of its top eight scorers from last year’s team, all seven of which will be upperclassmen next season.

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