Monday, August 18, 2008


August 19, 2008

by Chris Dokish

Contrary to a local media report, 6’3” shooting guard DeAndre Kane of Schenley HS in Pittsburgh has not become eligible to play this season. There has been speculation that if Kane did become eligible this summer, that he would join the Panthers this season. But instead, Kane will play for the New Hampton School, a prep school in New Hampton, NH.

New Hampton’s head coach, Peter Hutchins, is friends with Pittsburgh associate head coach, Tom Herrion, so the two now have a common interest in Kane’s development. Kane is an intriguing prospect who is an outstanding outside shooter, but a year at a top prep program like New Hampton will show Pittsburgh, St. John’s, and other schools around the country, what kind of player he could be.

With Kane going to prep school, Mike Cook still very unlikely to get a sixth year of eligibility, and Austin Wallace receiving a medical hardship, the Panthers will likely enter this season with only twelve scholarship players, one under the NCAA limit of thirteen.

But the numbers will change dramatically next season when an influx of top talent is expected to join the program. The class has started in excellent fashion with 6’9” power forward Dante Taylor, one of the best 25 prospects in the class, and 6’4” shooting guard Lamar Patterson, a top 50 prospect in the class. The Panthers also lead for 6’7” small forward Darnell Dodson of Miami Dade CC in Florida. Dodson originally committed to the Panthers two years ago, and was enrolled at Pitt briefly before being told by the NCAA that he did not qualify. If he gets the grades, he is expected to return to Pitt, though he has yet to give them a verbal commitment.

Kane will be recruited by the Panthers again for the 2009 class, but he will not be the only perimeter player the Panthers will be pursuing. Dominic Cheek, a 6’6” guard/forward from St. Anthony’s HS in Jersey City, NJ, and 6’4” shooting guard Durand Scott from Rice HS in New York City, are also highly coveted by the Panthers. Cheek is one of the top 15 prospects in the class, and may be a long shot, but Scott, a top 40 prospect has Pitt high on his list and wants to schedule a visit.

The Panthers are also involved with more excellent perimeter players for the 2010 class. Tom Droney, from Sewickley Academy, just outside of Pittsburgh, is expected to verbally commit to a school in September, and the Panthers are the favorite when he does. At 6’5”, Droney can play point guard, shooting guard, and small forward. The Panthers are also heavily involved with 6’2” combo guard Isaiah Epps of Plainfield (NJ) HS, who recently told the NBE Basketball Report that Pitt is his co-leader with Maryland. Both are considered top 50 talents.

The Panthers also want to add one more big man for the 2009 class and are now focusing on 6’7” J.J. Richardson of Hightower HS in Missouri, TX, 6’9” Mouphtaou Yarou of Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, VA, 6’6” Andrew Fitzgerald of Owings Mills, HS in Baltimore, 6’7” James Padgett of Abraham Lincoln HS in Brooklyn, 6’8” Jordan Williams of Torrington (CT) HS, and 6’9” Talib Zanna of Bishop McNamara HS in Forestville, MD, among others.

With Taylor and 6’6” star center DeJuan Blair manning the low blocks for the Panthers, the staff has had a hard time finding another big man to add to the mix, but Blair and/or Taylor are not expected to be at Pitt for much longer, meaning any front court recruit player added to this class could find themselves in the mix to start much sooner than they may have imagined.


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