We are just a few short weeks away from the Madness that captivates the college basketball world in March, but in the high school ranks a February Frenzy has been ongoing. The local district in Pittsburgh, often referred to as the "WPIAL", will be crowning their champions this weekend with the games being held at Duquesne's AJ Palumbo Center.
The Pittsburgh metro area is not typically a hotbed for division one basketball, but a recent upward trend has produced a few more prospects than in the past. Pitt typically likes to find their talent in the major metro areas along the East coast, but when a player surfaces in Pittsburgh, Dixon will at least take a look and in these cases, has offered them.
Ryan Luther is a 6-8 senior forward that hails from Hampton High School. Hampton is in the AAAA semifinals for the second consecutive year, and they are looking to pull in a championship this time around, but it will take two wins over conference rivals to make that happen. The Talbots play in the toughest league in AAAA, and will need to get by North Allegheny (featuring Pitt football recruit Elijah Zeise) on Wednesday before a third showdown with top ranked, New Castle, who has handed Hampton two of their losses. A loss in either game will not affect Hampton's status in the state tournament, as they have already qualified. Luther has been solid all year long, and even chipped in with 28 points in a 76-61 win over Franklin Regional on Saturday. Ryan has a twin brother, Collin, and he too could be moving on to play division one hoops, just likely not at Pitt.
Maverick Rowan is 6-6 sophomore (yes, sophomore) that has already given a verbal pledge to play for Jamie Dixon. Rowan plays for class A power, Lincoln Park. The Leopards are not a typical class A team, and could easily compete in AAAA. They have a 24-1 record, with their lone loss coming to top ranked AAAA team, New Castle by just eight points. Rowan dropped 24 points in the first half in a 95-44 win over Western Beaver on Friday, and finished with 37. Lincoln Park will play the football state champions, North Catholic on Tuesday, and if they win, they will be going for a championship on Friday against either Vincentian or Monessen.
And for good measure, The girls basketball program also features two players still playing for WPIAL gold. Suzie McConnell-Serio signed Yancie Diop and Naje Gibson in the Fall signing period, and it helps give Pitt the 15th best recruiting class in the country. The duo plays for AA power, Seton LaSalle, who enters their semifinal game with Bishop Canevin with a 20-4 record. The Lady Rebels have only lost one game to Pennsylvania competition all year, and won their two playoff games so far by an average of 25.5 points.