A Look at Pitt's Local Basketball Recruiting

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A Look at Pitt's Local Basketball Recruiting
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A few weeks back, Swickley Academy hoops star Tom Droney verbally committed to Davidson over offers from Pitt, WVU, Notre Dame and Wake Forest, among others.

Droney is a three-star recruit. He's a 6'5" guard who can play either guard position or small forward.

While I don't know what Davidson's roster looks like, our roster on Midnight Madness 2010 will have three other capable point guards in Woodall, Epps, and Gibbs and three other capable guard/forward types in Brown, Wanamaker, Patterson.

Every player I just listed was (in Epps' case is) a higher-rated player out of high school. In the grand scheme of things, this is not a big loss. But because Droney is a local kid, his not choosing Pitt becomes a story.

Some Pittsburghers will make a reference to "one for eight" (some say one for nine and include Terrelle Pryor but I won't count him since he chose to play football). Of the eight big time basketball recruits out of Western PA this decade, DeJuan Blair was the only player to play for Pitt.

We all know how DeJuan's career has ended up. He was a star on the best Pitt team ever and is now making millions in the NBA.

Now lets examine the other seven...



Local Recruit:
Ben McCauley - Class 0f 2005

Local AAU coach JO Straight still holds a grudge against Jamie Dixon for never offering Ben McCauley a scholarship.

McCauley chose NC State over offers from Ohio State, Xavier and Cinci. McCauley had a solid career, averaging 9 and 5 over his career on a team that only made the NCAA tournament during his freshman year.

Pitt passed on McCauley in favor of an undersized power forward out of prep school named Sam Young. Enough said.

Advantage: Pitt


Local Recruit: Herb Pope - Class of 2007


Pope was committed to the Panthers as a Sophomore. A commitment that Straight promptly talked him out of.

Pope's senior year began with just about every team backing off on their recruitment due to character concerns. It included a loss in the State Title game where he refused to shake his opponents hands and ended with him getting shot.

He signed with New Mexico State and missed the first half of the year because he didn't qualify academically. When he did play, he played well. He has since transferred to Seton Hall where he will look to play key minutes for the Pirates.

Who knows whose odd man out in the class if Pope signs with Pitt. It might have been Darnell Dodson who like Pope, didn't qualify. Regardless, Pitt missing on Pope was a blessing in disguise. Pope would have made Chris Taft look like John Stockton.

Advantage: Pitt



Local Recruit: D.J. Kennedy - Class of 2007


Pitt never really had a chance at Kennedy who had a rough upbringing in the Hill District and wanted nothing more than to get out. Kennedy has been the best player on this list averaging 10 points, six boards, and two assists on some awful St. John's teams.

I think its safe to say he wouldn't be playing big minutes at Pitt as he has at SJU. He would have presumably have taken Brad Wanamaker's spot on the team who is a very similar player to Kennedy.

Advantage: Even



Local Recruit: Brian Walsh - Class of 2008

Walsh committed to Xavier where he redshirted last year. He did have an offer from Pitt but was being recruited by Orlando Antigua who left Pitt for Memphis. It's also debatable how badly Pitt wanted Walsh.

If Pitt ended up with Walsh, there would not have been room for Jermaine Dixon to play the two guard. Dixon was Pitt's best perimeter defender last year and will be depended on to score this year.

While Dixon is important he's not a star and who knows how Walsh will turn out. I'm going to tentatively rule this one in favor of Pitt, because I doubt Walsh will ever contributed to a top five team more than Dixon did last year but I can't say for sure.

Advantage: Pitt



Three other local recruits, Zeke Marshall (Akron), DeAndre Kane (Marshall), and Droney will all step foot on college campuses either this year or next year. It is too early to make a call on those three.

As for the other six, at no point did Pitt hurt themselves be missing out on the local player.

Unlike football, local recruiting is not the life blood of college hoops. Think about it, do you really think there's that much talent in the state of North Carolina to support UNC, Duke, and Wake?

I couldn't care less if Pitt misses out on the best local recruits. As long as they don't miss out on the best recruits that fit Jamie Dixon's system, regardless of their hometown.

I will be much more upset if we start missing recruits from New York, D.C. and Philly, I can live with missing the Pittsburgh kids.

Read more about Pitt at The First Church of Fitzgerald

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