Monday, July 14, 2008


July 14, 2008

Verbal Commitment Alert: Dante Taylor, 6'8 (PF) from National Christian Academy

Pittsburgh basketball and coach Jamie Dixon made a huge statement today with the verbal commitment of 6’8” power forward Dante Taylor. Taylor, of National Christian Academy in Fort Washington, MD, is generally considered one of the top 20 prospects in the nation, and is considered a potential star in college.


Seniors: Levance Fields (PG), Sam Young (F), Tyrell Biggs (F)
Juniors: Jermaine Dixon (G)
Sophomores: Gilbert Brown (SF/G), Austin Wallace (BF), Bradley Wanamaker (G), Gary McGhee (C), DeJuan Blair (PF)
Freshmen: Travon Woodall (PG), Nasir Robinson (G/F), Ashton Gibbs (G), Dwight Miller (PF)
2009 Commit: Lamar Patterson (SG), Darnell Dodson (SF), Dante Taylor (PF)


Taylor, whose dominating summer AAU season got the attention of Memphis, UConn, Syracuse, and Kansas, among many others, was targeted by Pitt assistant coach Tom Herrion last year. Herrion put the full court press on Taylor ever since, and that made an impression on Taylor, who cites Pitt’s loyalty as one of the main reasons that he chose to be a Panther.

Pittsburgh head coach Jamie Dixon landed his biggest commitment yet in his time as the Pittsburgh head coach today Taylor pulled the trigger and committed to the Panthers. The Pitt staff had made Taylor their priority in the class of 2009 at power forward nearly a year ago and their hard work paid off as the entire Pitt staff had been seen at many of Taylor's games this spring and summer, especially at the recent Reebok Summer Classic in New Jersey.

Taylor fits in well at Pitt as he is a strong and athletic power forward who is a tremendous rebounder and loves to play strong and physical near the rim. Taylor has played his high school career for Trevor Brown at National Christian Academy and also plays for the NCA AAU team, which is also run by Brown as part of their high school program. Taylor has excelled recently at the NBA Top 100 camp and the Lebron James Skills Academy, solidifying his status of one of the top players in the class of 2009.

Joining Dante Taylor in the Pitt class of 2009 as verbal commitments are Lamar Patterson, a guard forward who will be attending St. Benedict's prep in Newark (NJ) this coming season and Darnell Dodson, a big time small forward who will have three years of eligibility after joining the Panthers from Miami-Dade CC.

Even though, on paper, the Panther scholarships are exhausted for 2009, it looks like Pitt is aggressively pursuing at least one more player. With Mike Cook appealing for a 6th year, there must be some form of roster attrition expected, and a possible medical hardship case with PF/C Austin Wallace is a possibility. In that case, players like Dominic Cheek, an elite shooting guard from St. Anthony's (NJ), Durand Scott a G/F from Rice High School in NYC, Thomas Robinson a power forward from Riverdale Baptist in DC and NYC big man Dan Jennings are a few of the possibilities for the Panthers.

Chris Dokish contributed to this report. More to come later...



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