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Pat Spencer will take his basketball talents to Northwestern

One of the best college lacrosse players in the decade will spend his final year of college eligibility in the Big Ten.

Matt Dewkett

One of college lacrosse’s top talents this decade will return back to the hardwood next season.

Loyola’s Pat Spencer will spend his final year of college eligibility playing basketball for the Northwestern Wildcats as a grad transfer, as first reported by Stadium’s Jeff Goodman. He’s expected to sign his national letter-of-intent later today, per Bill Wagner of the Capital Gazette.

Spencer recorded 149 goals and an NCAA record 231 assists for a grand total of 380 points in his lacrosse career with the Greyhounds. His 380 points are second all-time behind Lyle Thompson of Albany. Spencer was a household name from the very beginning of his career.

He helped lead Loyola to their first Championship Weekend appearance since 2012 in 2016 before falling to North Carolina in the semifinals. After a first round exit in 2017, Loyola reached the quarterfinals in 2018 and 2019, but were not able to reach the national semifinals. This past season, the four-time USILA All-American racked up a career-high 49 goals and 65 assists for a total of 114 points en route to winning the Tewaaraton Award, college lacrosse’s version of the Heisman Trophy.

Spencer was a first round pick in both the Premier Lacrosse League and Major League Lacrosse drafts. Archers L.C. selected him first overall in the PLL Draft, while the Chesapeake Bayhawks picked the attackman seventh overall in the MLL Draft.

Spencer and his Greyhound teammates just returned from a week-long trip in Portugal.

With lacrosse in his rearview mirror for now, Spencer will be playing competitive regular season basketball for the first time since he was a senior at Boys’ Latin during the 2014-15 season. He played two years on the Lakers’ varsity team and helped Boys’ Latin win their first MIAA B Conference championship in 25 years. He also earned All-State honors after averaging 14.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 2.3 steals as a point guard with five triple-doubles.

Spencer was still with the Boys’ Latin program this season as a volunteer assistant coach. The Lakers went 30-6 and lost to St. Frances in the MIAA A Conference semifinals. He sometimes would practice against members of the current team, including younger brothers Cam and Will Spencer. Cam will play basketball at Loyola (MD) next year.

The Maryland native has played basketball during the lacrosse offseason, notably in the Annapolis Summer Basketball League. He was the leading scorer for Stanton Center in two different seasons and was the regular season Most Valuable Player in 2017.

One Power Five coach who saw Spencer play in open gyms described him as “A tough, explosive athlete with winning DNA,” according to Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune.

The move to Northwestern is a fit in terms of basketball sense, as Spencer will be the program’s 11th scholarship player. The Wildcats had five players transfer over the past two seasons and fell to nine scholarship players, six returnees (seven total players on the roster) and three incoming freshmen. Guard Chase Audige transferred in from William & Mary, but won’t be eligible to play until next season.

The Wildcats lose their top three scorers from a 13-19 record (4-16 in the Big Ten) a year ago. Redshirt-senior forward A.J. Turner is the team’s returning top scorer at 8.8 points and 2.8 assists per game. Junior guard Anthony Gaines is the team’s top returning rebounder at 4.7 boards per game. Don’t be surprised if head coach Chris Collins, the son of former NBA head coach Doug Collins, gives Spencer a good chunk of playing time throughout the year. Spencer will also have a ton of leadership experience to provide to the younger players on the Northwestern team.

You can follow Spencer’s path at Northwestern at out sister site, Inside NU.

And check out some of his lacrosse features with Paul Carcaterra from the past couple of years.