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June 13, 2012

Overview Basketball Recruiting

Filed under: Basketball,Recruiting — Chas @ 1:32 pm

In football, coaches recruit for everything. There may be priorities at certain positions. A greater need, or such. But it is a much wider net. Basketball, though, is a different thing. Only 13 scholarships available in total. Only a few spots each year. You only have so much flexibility to take the “best available” player who wants to commit.

Pitt is expected to have two or three open scholarships for next year. Travon Woodall and Dante Taylor are seniors, and assuming Steven Adams to be a one-and-done is what Coach Jamie Dixon and the staff have to expect.

Given that Talib Zanna is a junior and the only other big man on the roster is Malcolm Gilbert (sophomore) it is expected that Pitt will be focused on recruiting for the front court.

ESPN.com agrees and has a rundown on who Pitt is prioritizing (along with the rest of the Big East).

We’re thinking the Panthers go big again and spend a considerable amount of time working over their primary targets.

Targets: ESPN 100 C BeeJay Anya (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha), ESPN 100 SF Rondae Jefferson (Chester, Pa./Chester), ESPN 100 PF Jermaine Lawrence (Springfield Gardens, N.Y./Pope John XXIII), C Goodluck Okonoboh (Boston/Tilton School), ESPN 100 PF Devin Williams (Cincinnati/Withrow), ESPN 100 PF Mike Young (Pittsburgh/St. Benedict’s)

It’s a great recruiting season if … 2012 ESPN 100 PG James Robinson (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha Catholic) hands out a big assist and convinces Anya, a former high school teammate, to play alongside him again. Young is a Pittsburgh native and Jefferson is a Pittsburgh-type recruit, thanks to his junkyard dog mentality. If the Panthers could land all three, it would be an awesome class.

No question that Anya is the top target for Pitt — and a lot of other programs. He’s a top-20 recruit, and  ESPN.com ranks him as the #1 center recruit nationally. Young is a position of need and with being from Pittsburgh, probably a priority.

Goodluck Okonoboh — aside from having an outstanding name — is a great example of how few good centers there are each year. He’s anywhere from 6-7 to 6-9. ESPN.com only ranks him at 3-stars, but has him as their #9 center. Rivals.com also says he’s 3-stars (and lists him at 6-7). Scout.com and 24/7 put him at 4-stars. Aside from Pitt, he’s been offered by Syracuse, Minnesota, Gonzaga and Mizzou. An issue for him, and which may be affecting his recruiting ranking is that he needs to bulk up. He’s only in the 200-215 pound weight range.

It’s easy to say, Pitt should just find some diamond-in-the-rough 6-10 or bigger guy and develop him. But it is not that easy. As good a job as Coach Dixon and the staff did in finding and developing Aaron Gray and Gary McGhee, they are the exceptions and rarities. It can be tough enough to develop good centers who aren’t the very best of the class each year. Just take a look at the UConn roster in the past  4 years — and how many centers they ran off the team or didn’t play (Mandeldove, Okwandu, Edwards, Bradley and Wolf).

I do think Pitt doesn’t use all three scholarships on the front court. I think Dixon saves one scholarship for a point or combo guard.

Back in May, there were a bunch of guards on the Pitt radar.  I think Dixon really wants to find another player to effectively run the offense after next season when Robinson is the only point guard on the team. There doesn’t seem to be a player on the roster at this time, that would seem to be a fit to play even spot duty in 2013-14. Or at least none I feel very comfortable seeing at the point right now.

One shooting guard that Pitt has begun to keep tabs on is in Ohio.

Bailey emerged as one of the top young players in Ohio after an outstanding sophomore season with the Polar Bears. He’s already been offered a scholarship by Miami, Ohio, with more offers likely to come in the next few months. Pittsburgh head coach Jamie Dixon has been in Jackson to watch Bailey, and Ohio State coach Thad Matta was impressed with the combo-guard during last summer’s team camp on the OSU campus.

“I’ve been told there are other schools that plan to offer me in the next couple weeks,” Bailey said. “I’ll just have to see what happens and probably make my decision before my senior season.”

Bailey is 6-5 and was also selected to attend the Nike Elite 100 camp. MaxPreps lists him as a 4-star recruit, while Rivals.com and ESPN.com say 3-star. Bailey lives in Massillon. The same area Dixon once mined to get Antonio Graves.





Ah, great stuff Chas. Thanks.

Comment by steve1 06.13.12 @ 2:43 pm

I cannot believe St John’s has not offered Goodluck Okonoboh, to play alongside of God’sgift Achiuwa and Sir’Domenic Pointer

Comment by wbb 06.13.12 @ 3:20 pm

Chas, not sure it’s a given that Adams is ‘one and done’ but Jamie hasn’t hesitated to offer over the limit in recent years.

Comment by wbb 06.13.12 @ 3:24 pm

Would love to get Anaya; but heard Tom Crean at Indiana has hired one of Anaya’s coaches to ensure he goes there so I am not sure Pitt’s chances are very good. Hope Robinson has more of an influence than the coach.

Comment by pitt1972 06.13.12 @ 3:55 pm

The cupboard is pretty bare when it comes to PGs in 2013. I think if John Johnson is smart, he tries to get some reps in as PG over the summers and any other time he can between now and Fall 2013. He’s played PG in highschool. Given the 2013 recruiting landscape, dont see any other help coming for Robinson after this year other than Johnson so that may be his best way into the rotation.

It’ll be really interesting to see what happens w Beejay Anya. A front court of him, Gilbert (as a Jr) and Zanna (as a Sr) has pretty high potential and really would give you a number of different viable combinations, given their respective physical atributes and skill sets.

Think it completely depends on what Anya thnks Adams will do. If Adams stays, all of a sudden we’re clogged at Center. Any chance either Dixon or Anya could see Anya playing PF for stretches?

Cupboard is pretty for Centers too, so does Anya even spend much time thinking about Pitt when it seems to remain so unclear what his playing time opportunities would be?

Comment by PantherP 06.13.12 @ 4:07 pm

IMO, Anya at 6-8 0r 6-9 and wide is a PF, not a C, if he gets to the NBA. So, it certainly might be a good thing for him to be able to play PF next to Adams or Gilbert.

Comment by pitt1972 06.13.12 @ 5:22 pm

Pitt1972, this isnt the nba. He weighs 260 and is an aircraft carrier. Hes a center

Comment by Pk 06.13.12 @ 5:58 pm

What was DeJaun Blair’s height and weight when he played center at Pitt?

Comment by FTM 06.13.12 @ 8:48 pm

Here’s hoping Evan plays for Pitt like Mom (volleyball) and Dad (basketball). Great kid, great family

Comment by Gregg 06.13.12 @ 9:41 pm

Pk–what does your comment have to do with the point I was making? Of course Anya is big enough to play center in college.

I merely implied that a decision to not go somewhere because center was crowded shouldn’t be an issue because he could easily play PF.

Further, since PF would be his NBA position that playing it in college might even be advantageous toward preparing him to play it in the NBA.

Comment by pitt1972 06.13.12 @ 10:58 pm

pitt1972 right on good point

Comment by FRANKCAN 06.14.12 @ 12:27 am

what is with you pk he knows this is not the NBA

Comment by FRANKCAN 06.14.12 @ 12:31 am

Everybody has to operate on the assumption that the last time Adams sets foot in Pittsburgh is about nine or ten months from now…….

It is funny to consider guys like Anya thinking about the NBA. When was the last time you saw a guy with his body type getting any time in the Association? Tractor Traylor maybe? But he was bigger. Big Baby? He’s a freak — way more mobile and talented. Blair? He’s smaller than Anya and from what I’ve seen, way more agile and even his Association days may be numbered.

The NBA is a league for Serge Ibakas. Every year it gets tougher for anybody who’s not 6’10″ and bouncing out of the gym to even think about making a roster.

But Anya would be a great get for Pitt. He’d be a big body for all four years and could develop into a monster in the lane.

Comment by hugh green 06.14.12 @ 8:17 am

Zach Randolph.

Comment by Boubacar Aw 06.14.12 @ 8:26 am

Look at some mock drafts: link to draftexpress.com
There are at least 3 guys in the top 14 picks this year who are 6’9″ and weigh at least 240 pounds. Also Kendrick Perkins is 6’10″ 290 pounds.

I’m not sure how Blair’s days in the Association are numbered. He started the entire season for the Spurs. He only lost playing time because Diaw was signed during the season. And when the Spurs needed a spark against OKC they turned to Blair and he produced.

Comment by Wardapalooza 06.14.12 @ 11:28 am

There’s is room in the NBA for the brick shithouse guys. Perkins, Blair, Big Baby, freakin Harangody collects an NBA paycheck every here and there. This list goes on, but yeah, its only in niches now so you have to be bringin something other than your girth / space-eating to get a contract.

Anya would be here for at least a few years. Problem is he may not realize it yet and be looking for starters minutes right away at a school that lets him pick his position based on what facilitates an NBA “career”. If Adams stays, that may not be here. But the possibility of Adams staying and the two of these guys playing in the front court together is exciting. unlikely but exciting.

Comment by PantherP 06.14.12 @ 1:26 pm

Randolph is 6’9″ 6’10″ and long. Perkins is 6’10″. Harangody, surprisingly enough, has sort of an insidse/outside game now.

If Anya is 6’9″ or taller, then fine. But I always assume these HS kids are a couple inches shorter than they’re listed, so I’m figuring him for 6’7″.

Comment by hugh green 06.14.12 @ 2:17 pm

Blair might last, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t.

It’s tough when your skills are that limited AND you’re under-sized. Think about it — how many 6’5″, 6’6″ guys are out there guarding centers in the NBA?

He’s a tough rebounder, he’s got deceptive quickness for a man of his bulk and he’s strong as a bull. San Antonio was a perfect place for him to make a roster because they were looking for that energy/rebounding contribution, but Diaw is the perfect example of a team finally deciding they needed more skills and offensive contribution from the position. And he lost time to Splitter, too, because Splitter brought some serious size/bulk to the lineup.

I hope he hangs on in the league in the Reggie Evans mold, but it’s tough when you’re one-dimensional. You do see so NBA players develop and enhance skills while they’re in the league and some actually morph their game into something different to survive (Olajuwon was a great example. When he arrived, he could dunk. A few years later he had the best post moves and a deadly jumper around the lane), but doubt that’s a possibility for DeJuan.

Comment by huhg green 06.15.12 @ 8:57 am

If you want to squash any enthusiasm for Pitt basketball, then read hugh green’s posts. If you want to enjoy Pitt basketball, then I suggest you shouldn’t read hugh green’s posts.

Comment by omar 06.15.12 @ 1:47 pm

Anybody forgetting Jaren Sina? Scoring PG who Pitt has been recruiting. Yeah, we’d take Rondae Jefferson ahead of him, but we’ve gotta take antoher ball handler. Tra’s a Sr and we’ve proved last season that you must have two PG’s.

Comment by harve74 06.15.12 @ 6:41 pm

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