Sometimes in college basketball recruiting, the right fit can be equally as important as talent itself. Fortunately with Pitt's most recent commitment, the best of both worlds appears to be combining. Pitt landed a big commitment for the 2016 class Monday when Corey Manigault picked the Panthers.
Corey Manigault is rated as either a three or four star by all four major recruiting services. The 6'8" power forward also has a solid offer sheet that features current NCAA Tournament teams like Maryland, Georgetown, VCU, and Xavier. Manigault plays for Paul VI High School in Fairfax, Virginia - which is pretty big time as far as high school basketball goes. His prep team competes in the prestigious Washington DC Catholic League (WCAC), and they finished in fourth place behind legendary programs like DeMatha, St. John's, and Gonzaga Prep this season. Paul VI also played a daring non-conference schedule that pitted them against top ten national teams like Montverde Academy (FL) , Oak Hill Academy (VA) , and Mater Dei (CA). Manigault went up against some of the nation's elite players in those games.
Given Manigault's recruiting rankings, his offer list, and the type of competition he plays on a nightly basis, there really isn't anything not to like about the kid from a recruiting standpoint. No, he is not the five-star seven footer Pitt fans have been craving, but he does have the makeup of a player that Jamie Dixon has succeeded with in the past. Manigault fits the tough and rugged rebounding forward that Pitt has won a lot of games with through the years. By the time he gets here, he can be the understudy to guys like Young and Artis, and could be ready to be a serious player by his sophomore season.
Combine Manigault's commitment with the reaffirmation that Mustapha Heron gave recently that he is still very much committed to Pitt, things are looking solid for the 2016 recruiting class. Like Manigault, Heron brings some serious talent and he is also a player that fits into Pitt's system well. Heron is a strong guard that can defend and seems willing to rebound and to mix it up in the paint. He is rated highly because he is a gifted scorer and great athlete, but he is a good match for Pitt with the physical nature in his game.
I mentioned recently that Pitt needs to recruit better in general, but also get back to what made this program so good through the years, and that is toughness and rebounding. Manigault and Heron seem to fit the bill on both ends of the spectrum, and although it will be a long time (if ever) until either is in Oakland, you have to like what the staff is building for the future.
I have to remind everyone that this class once also featured Maverick Rowan, and though unlikely, he could still re-commitment down the line. Pitt also is in the running for another intriguing post player in the 2016 class in local standout and African native, Sagaba Konate. Pitt also seems to be in the running with four-star TJ Gibbs. The point is, Pitt is out to an excellent start with the 2016 class, and with the names mentioned here along with some others, it could end up getting even better. Pitt is also bringing in top 100 guard, Damon Wilson, in for next season in the current 2015 recruiting class and he is expected to be a big contributor for this program in his career.
The recruiting is already looking better than it has been, and Jamie Dixon is adding guys with talent and also some "Pitt" in their games. So remember that there are definitely some brighter days on the horizon.