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Pitt Basketball Recruiting: Rafael Maia expected to sign with Pitt

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Pitt is expected to land Rafael Maia, a 6'9" transfer from Brown who will be eligible immediately.

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

While nothing has been made official yet, there appears to be a strong indication that Pitt may land Rafael Maia, a 6'9" transfer from Brown with one year of immediate eligibility.  Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald tweeted this out on Friday, but it did not seem to gain media attention here in Pittsburgh until tonight.  I would not call this a done deal just yet, but Maia did visit Pitt sometime last week, and the Panthers were expected to be one of his top landing spots.

So just who is Rafael Maia exactly?  Rafael Maia is a 6'9" 245 pound big man that played the past three seasons for Brown University of the Ivy League.  Maia is a native of Brazil and has had a solid career to date, and should help add to the depth of the front court. The big man averaged nine points and eight rebounds a contest, which is generally what he averaged in all three seasons for the Bears.  Pitt received little to no production from the trio of Joe Uchebo, Derrick Randall, and Tyrone Haughton, so the bar of expectations are not exceedingly high of Maia.

Taking a look at Maia's game log, it is pretty obvious that Brown did not play an overly challenging schedule, but he posted 12 points and 8 rebounds against Northwestern, 13 and 6 against Illinois, and 5 and 5 against Providence.  Nothing outstanding by any stretch, but it's clear Maia should not be totally overwhelmed by changing leagues. If anything, he should be a nice complimentary piece to Pitt this season.

Rafael Maia would be the second immediately eligible transfer to Pitt this off-season, as he would join Sterling Smith of Coppin State. With the departures of Joe Uchebo and Durand Johnson, Pitt has essentially filled their two spots and will head into next season with three seniors overall.

If you are counting at home, this gives Pitt 12 scholarships filled with one more to work on the next month or so.  Obviously, there have been rumblings of Maverick Rowan and that is not a likely scenario, but it has been a twitter rumor for some time. The other top target would be Sterling Gibbs, though there is not overwhelming optimism on landing Gibbs, Matt Steinbrink of Pantherlair tweeted tonight that Sterling plans to spend a few days visiting Pitt this week. That would be a nice development on that front, as Gibbs is one of the prize transfers in the entire country.