Pitt announces the addition of Marlon 'Smoke' Williamson to the basketball coaching staff

Streeter Lecka

The void left by Barry Rohrssen has been filled by Marlon Williamson.

Earlier, Jim wrote that Pitt was headed towards the hiring of Marlon "Smoke" Williamson as an assistant for the basketball program. On Tuesday, Jamie Dixon officially announced his hiring through a press release.

"We are excited about Marlon becoming a member of the University of Pittsburgh community and I know he is ecstatic to be coming aboard," said coach Dixon. "As a former point guard with strong knowledge of the game, Marlon will help us in recruiting, scouting and player development. We are fortunate to have a coach with his well-rounded background. Marlon is also extremely excited to be a part of our staff considering his family ties to Pittsburgh."

The loss of Rohrssen could be a costly one for the Panthers. Slice left a tremendous mark on the program and will surely be missed. The 33 year-old Williamson is a rising star in college basketball, though, and could prove to be quite the catch for coach Dixon.

Smoke spent the last two years as an assistant coach at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst while the program experienced its most successful season since the Calipari era almost 20 years ago. Prior to that, Williamson spent nine years with The Family, a Detroit-based AAU team, where he served as President of Youth Operations and head coach.

While with The Family, Williamson coached some elite talent; Joe Crawford (Kentucky), Jordan Crawford (Indiana/Xavier), Chris Douglas-Roberts (Memphis), Draymond Green (Michigan State), Malik Hairston (Oregon) and James Young (Kentucky). AAU coaches traditionally play a large role in the development of high school talent.

Given his time coaching in Detroit, Williamson has some strong connections to the area, one that has produced numerous stars and could be exploited in future recruiting endeavors. Many have connected Smoke to Cassius Winston, a 4-star junior point guard, who is listed as a top-30 recruit. Winston plays on The Family, Williamson's old AAU team and would be a perfect addition to the Panthers.

With Rohrssen leaving for Kentucky there is a chance that he will take prized-recruit Mustapha Heron with him. Now this is purely speculation at this point but if Pitt retains Heron as well as Maverick Rowan and adds Winston, this could be the best recruiting class in Jamie Dixon's career.

Williamson went to high school at Peabody high school, a school located in the East End of Pittsburgh that was closed in 2011. Smoke was a four-year letterman at Youngstown State where he was team captain in his senior campaign that saw him average 8.1 points, 4.9 assists and 2.2 steals per game.

Williamson brings a plethora of coaching experience at a young age and should bring a lot of insight to the Pitt program.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics.

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