Monday, May 18, 2009


By Anthony Jaskulski

Bucket off the beautiful assist…

It’s a line you may hear often as a Pittsburgh Panther/Big East fan in the near future, and it won’t be replays from the Levance Fields era either.

Instead, you’ll be seeing one of the more prolific passers in the country follow the footsteps of the pass-happy Fields, and that assist man waiting in the wings is Isaiah Epps.

At a slight 6-foot-2, 170 pounds, Epps may not strike you as the most impressive shooter on the floor, and he certainly isn’t a rebounding monger. But with a string on the ball, a quick, agile style and a passing game that would make a quarterback envious, Epps, has emerged on the scene as one of the top recruits in the country thanks to his smooth facet of the game.


“When you work on your game as much as I have and put a lot of time into it, it starts to get a little easier,” said Epps. “There is always more room to improve though, and that’s what keeps me hungry everyday.”

A 2010 verbal commitment for the Pittsburgh Panthers, Epps, who was recruited by former Panther star and now assistant coach Brandin Knight, also a native of New Jersey, will more than likely be operating from the same position Knight dominated from 1999-2003, the point guard spot.

“Coach Knight definitely brought me towards the Pitt program, and my cousin (Travon) Woodall also made me feel more at home,” Epps said. “(Pitt) is a place where some of the best guards in the country go, and it’s a big honor to be a guard on a team like that.”

Woodall, a redshirt freshman next year for the Panthers, also operates from the point guard position.

But Epps, who is currently ranked 35th on the Rivals Top150 for the class of 2010 list, and part of the ESPNU Super-60 list, makes much more of an uncanny resemblance to a more current Panthers point guard, Levance Fields.

“I relate to Levance a lot more then any other Pitt player, because he’s more of a passer then a scorer like me,” Epps said. “He also was the guy the team could depend on to hit the game-winning shot, and I will definitely do that. I have a lot of confidence in me being that guy.”

From his high school in Plainfield, New Jersey to his AAU team: The New Jersey Playaz, Epps has wooed many scouts and crowds alike with his unique passing ability, solid ball-handling skills and spot-up shooting in clutch situations.

Recently, at the Pittsburgh Jam Fest, a weekend tournament held on April 17-19 at the Petersen Events Center, the talented Epps showed many what his game was all about, leading his AAU squad to the 17-U Gold championship game, in which they lost in the final seconds, but not before Epps showed off an impressive nine point, eight assist performance, including a hair-raising, half court, ally-oop pass that threaded through two defenders.

But for Epps, making plays like that is just secondary, when the passing category is your primacy.

“I like getting my own team involved first, no matter if it’s a pickup game or a championship game.” said Epps. “I’ll score when I need to score, but it’s not the top priority.”

With his Fields-esque style in full swing and his leadership-first, veteran attitude, you can expect Epps to make an immediate impact at Pittsburgh, and follow in the footsteps of one of the best point guards—Fields—to ever wear a Panther uniform.



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