Pitt's 2017 basketball recruiting class got started this afternoon, as point guard Aaron Thompson committed to Pitt. Thompson marks the first commitment of the Kevin Stallings era at Pitt. Coach Stallings clearly made Thompson a priority, as he offered him just hours after taking the Pitt job. After visiting Pitt this weekend for the first time, he decided to join the Pitt program.
Aaron Thompson is a 6'2" 175 pound point guard from Paul VI High School in Fairfax, Virginia. Paul VI High School competes in the well-regarded WCAC (Washington DC Catholic League). His high school teammate and close friend is 2016 recruit, Corey Manigault, and the two will join up at Pitt in two years. ESPN grades Thompson as a four-star, while Rivals and 24/7 call Thompson a three-star.
Aaron Thompson's game is of a pass first point guard that is happy to set up teammates, but is skilled and quick enough to get into the lane and make plays happen. In a recent article by Corey Evans for Hoopseen.com, he goes in great detail to describe Pitt's newest commitment's style of play.
A tough-nosed guard who is best in setting the floor for his team in the half-court setting and making others betters on the drive to the basket, Thompson plays with a maturity about him that is hard to find in a high school junior. He isn’t known for his shot making skills but more-so for his facilitating abilities and deceptive burst as he gets to the basket on the downhill drive with ease. Defensively, the sturdy point man has become lauded for his on-ball skills as he can guard both spots in the backcourt and take his opponent out of his comfort zone because of his lateral abilities and developing physique that he uses well in keeping his counterpart in front of him.
Given that analysis, it seems Pitt just landed a tough-nosed floor general that will be a big part of the program for four seasons. In a sense, he almost seems like a more athletic version of James Robinson. His game should mesh well with other young point guards in the program like Justice Kithcart and Damon Wilson. All three bring different elements to the court, and gives Kevin Stallings versatility at point guard.
While Stallings was all over Thompson even from his Vanderbilt days, it's noteworthy where Thompson is from originally. The Washington DC area looks to be a spot this new staff will try to hit hard to help build this program. Stallings hired away Georgetown assistant, Kevin Sutton to his staff in part because of his Washington DC ties. This staff has a lot of ground to make up as they just started working together, but they have been attending AAU events all around the country and have been offering kids left and right. If they can make some in-roads in the DC circuit, it will be very beneficial and this looks to be a good start to building those relationships.
It's no secret that the 2017 recruiting class for Pitt is a pretty big one. The Panthers will go into this season with Mike Young, Jamel Artis, Sheldon Jeter, and Chris Jones as seniors. Replacing four key, veteran, and core contributors is going to be absolutely vital to this program. There is another scholarship opening for this upcoming year, so the new coaching staff will have to fill potentially five spots. Landing Aaron Thompson is a nice way to start that class and a nice way to start the Kevin Stallings' era at Pitt.