5 years after devastating accident, Speidel gets his moment

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — It was an extra-special night for Vermont on Tuesday night but not because the Catamounts wrapped up a championship regular season with an 85-62 victory over Albany — but because of the presence of Josh Speidel, who was a highly-touted recruit out of high school but suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2015 before he could play a game.

Speidel walked out onto the court with his family on Vermont’s Senior Night to a thunderous ovation. He started the game and after Albany was allowed to score uncontested, Speidel did the same on the other end. He then exited the game with hugs from both teams.

Speidel was a prized Catamounts recruit out of Indiana’s Columbus North High School when he was injured in a car accident in February 2015 that left him in a coma for weeks and nearly cost him his life. He had to learn to walk and talk again but has persevered and will graduate from Vermont in May.

Everett Duncan scored 22 points in the win for Vermont (24-7, 14-2), who had already wrapped up the America East regular-season title. Ahmad Clark led Albany (14-17, 7-9) with 19 points.