Well, this is not exactly coming to Pitt. Or even Seton Hall. It’s not even Rhode Island. DeAndre Kane, once-upon a time of Schenley High and once a player in which Pitt had interest, is headed to the Thundering Herd of Marshall. Playing time is claimed to be the main issue for him. He’ll get it at Marshall. Academic issues, which have dodged Kane for quite some time, is something of a subtext in his decision in my view.
Over the weekend the AAU Tournaments got underway. In case you were unfamiliar with the NCAA logic, coaches are now banned from attending these April tournaments. Why? So the high school students wouldn’t miss as much school for the spring tournaments. The idea being that if the coaches were not there, the interest in these tournaments would be deadened and not happen. Naturally, it hasn’t worked that way.
Instead, it creates a new revenue stream for the promoters who can now sell video of the events to coaches. It may also lead to a new gray area where coaches may hire (unofficially of course) someone they trust to attend and evaluate players. Even shadier, the unofficial “scout” would be able to make direct contact with potential recruits. Maybe let them know that “Coach X” sends his regards or whatever. I’m not impressed or enthused by the rule.
At the Reebok All-American Game in D.C. over the weekend there were a couple Pitt commits playing. Talib Zanna and Dante Taylor made appearances and stood out in their respective games.
Zanna was part of the undercard.
Talib Zanna has turned himself into a player. I saw Zanna last year at the National High School Hoops Festival, and there was certainly potential there, but the big man hadn’t yet grown into his body completely. The 6-8 forward who plays at local hoops power Bishop McNamara has since signed a letter of intent to suit up in the Big East next season with Pitt. Zanna did most of his damage inside, playing aggressively on the glass and showing a developing post game. At this point he is limited to a drop step and baby hook to the middle, but the potential for more is there. I was most impressed by his ability to handle the ball in transition, which he did on several occasions, leading the break for Team Finish.
Zanna finished with 21 points and 14 rebounds. He was named one of the game MVPs
Then there was Dante Taylor in the prime game.
Taylor went to work in the first half, netting 16 of his game high 26 points before the break in action. There wasn’t a question that he was the most physically imposing and gifted player on the floor during the game, getting his baskets on a variety of thunderous dunks in the lane and the a pair of spot up three’s on the wing. Having only seen video of Taylor in the past, I was most impressed with the big man’s motor. He hustled up the court on seemingly every play (rare in these kinds of games) and overall has good speed for a dude packing 220+ onto his frame. With Pittsburgh losing Sam Young and DeJuan Blair there is no question that Taylor will be starting from day one when he arrives on campus and this performance indicates the rook will handle himself just fine in the Big East.
Taylor also shared in MVP honors in the game. Taylor shot clutch free throws at the end of the game to clinch it for his team — very promising.
Pitt’s 2010 verbal, Isiah Epps, was in Pittsburgh for the Jam Fest. He does not lack for confidence in his game and has a vision for his future.
Epps can’t wait to take the court at Pitt — even if one of his goals is not to stay a Panther for long.
“I want to make them No. 1 in the nation,” Epps said. “I want to be their leading scorer, lead them in assists, just make them good in everything. I want to be one and done, too. I want to go straight to the NBA after a year.”
There is an instinctive quesy feeling about any kid already thinking NBA. The fact is, most top basketball players envision themselves in the NBA sooner rather than later. That’s where their dream is. The pros. So, hopefully his game is really that good.