BIG EAST RECRUITING UPDATE: PITTSBURGH
September 5, 2006
VERBAL COMMITMENT ALERT: Gary McGhee, 6'10 (C) Anderson Highland (IN) High School
Projected 2007-2008 Roster:
Seniors: Keith Benjamin (G), Ronald Ramon (G), Mike Cook (G/F)
Juniors: Levance Fields (PG), Sam Young (F), Tyrell Biggs (F)
Sophomores: Gilbert Brown (SF/G), Austin Wallace (BF)
Freshmen: Darnell Dodson (G/F), Bradley Wanamaker (G), Gary McGhee (C)
Pitt Lands Indiana Big Man (Tribune-Review) as Gary McGhee committed to Jamie Dixon and the Panthers while visiting the campus this past weekend.
READ REST OF THE STORY...CLICK "Read More" BELOW
McGhee becomes the Panther's third verbal commitment for the 2007 recruiting class, joining Bradley Wanamaker and Darnell Dodson in a class that has moved away from Pitt's normal NYC recruiting pipeline. McGhee comes from Indiana, Dodson is from Washington DC and Wanamaker is travelling across state from Philadelphia.
With Aaron Gray, Levon Kendall and Doyle Hudson graduating after the 2006-2007 season, we knew that big men would be a priority for the Panthers and McGhee represents their first frontcourt recruit in the class. Last season, as a junior, McGhee averaged 16 PPG and a Indiana state-best 13.1 rebounds a game. The Panther staff sold the 6'10, 260 lb McGhee on the progress Aaron Gray made in his four years in the Pitt program, from an under-the-radar recruit to 1st team All-Big East and potential NBA draft pick through hard work and better conditioning. McGhee, like most high school big men, is still a work in progress on the offensive end and getting to college and seeing every team with someone at least his size will take some sort of an adjustment. However, McGhee should be able to contribute on the defensive end and on the boards right away.
With two scholarships left, it looks like Pitt will now center its focus on local Schenley product DeJuan Blair. Adding a 6'7 bruiser like Blair would be a perfect fit for Pitt and their style of play in the Big East. Another player Pitt will likely remain hot on the trail of is 6'10 C/BF Ayodele Coker of the South Kent Prep School. Coker is another bruising big man that will play physical. Coker is seeing a lot of attention from St. John's and Kentucky, among others.
A few other players also remain on Pitt's radar in addition to Blair and Coker. Chris Wright, the PG from D.C. who attends the school (St. John's College Prep) where Pitt Director of Basketball Operations David Cox was most recently the Assistant Principal of. Also, Cox has extensive ties to the powerful DC Assault program and Pitt is sometimes mentioned with Michael Beasley, although Beasley is currently a verbal commitment of Kansas St (although he has never seen the campus). Local star Herb Pope is also in the mix with Pitt, although no one can be too sure of how 'recruit-able' Pope is at this time because of grades and attitude.
A few other big men that could still be in the picture for the lanst frontcourt spot inlcude Aaron Pogue, Anthony McClain and Hamidu Rahman as centers and Mike Scott, Kenton Walker, Lavoy Allen and Brandon Walters as big forwards. However, I would not really classify any of these players as high importance for Pitt with the commitment of McGhee and their interest in Blair and Coker, as well as some early leg work on the 2008 class.
As mentioned, with two more scholarships left to hand out and a bunch of visits coming in September, we will be following the Panthers closely.