Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The situation now

By Chris Dokish

I've been working the Blackberry all afternoon to answer the questions that fans have been asking me so let me try to clear the situation up.

First of all, the job the entire Pitt staff did to get J.J. Moore was very impressive. And I do mean the entire staff. Despite Moore almost certainly heading to Louisville, Jamie Dixon, Tom Herrion, and Brandin Knight all put on an all out assault to get the 6'6" small forward. According to one source with knowledge of the situation, "it was as complete an effort" as they've ever seen to recruit a player. Bottom line, chalk this coup up to a great joint effort of all of the coaches.

As for Louisville backing off because of Moore's grades, the same source tells me, "that Louisville theory is complete B.S". This is common sense, of course, because Louisville knew completely for many months that Moore's eligibility was in question. In fact, his situation was even worse when Louisville offered him, so it makes no sense that suddenly they saw a problem with his eligibility.

The biggest questions now are what does Pitt do from here. That's a good question and the situation is cloudy. First of all, Moore and the Panthers both want him eligible for 2010. In fact, for months Moore has been very determined to become eligible and once he signs with Pitt, he will have them giving all the help they can. If Moore does become eligible in 2010, then the Panthers will be one over the scholarship limit. The Panthers may still be over the limit if they sign Maurice Walker. Walker is a badly needed true center, but the staff may be unwilling to possibly go two over the limit. For that reason, not signing Walker becomes an option, despite the need. The problem is that it will be quite some time until Moore's eligibility is determined. In the meantime, Walker may not want to wait. or he may wait until spring and have a top program like Kansas offer him.

As for pursuing prospects like Durand Johnson and Mike Taylor, that will not be determined until it's known when Moore will arrive, which again will not be for some time perhaps. A top 2011 big man like Desmond Hubert would likely be taken right away, but Hubert, one of the top big men in the east, is highly coveted and would be considered a very difficult prospect for the Panthers to sign.


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