It’s no secret that the 2017 recruiting class is a big one for the Pitt basketball program. It marks the first full recruiting class that will be brought in by Kevin Stallings, and it also will help transition the team into the future. Pitt has four seniors for the upcoming season, and they are perhaps the four most important players on the team. Michael Young and Jamel Artis have been the focal points for some time now, while Sheldon Jeter and Chris Jones have also played gigantic roles as well. Getting a group of players to replace them will be vital.
As it stands right now, it appears there are five open scholarships for Stallings to play with in this cycle. Currently, Pitt has two guys committed. Shortly after being hired as the Pitt coach, Kevin Stallings offered point guard Aaron Thompson. It did not take long for the Washington DC area point guard to commit to the Panthers. Thompson is a four-star according to Scout and ESPN, and a three-star by Rivals and 24-7. He had offers from the likes of Miami, SMU, and Virginia Tech among others. He was a solid foundation to start the class.
Just days ago, Pitt picked up their second commitment from forward Terrell Brown. I go into more detail in his commitment story, but in short he’s a 6’11” forward that is originally from Rhode Island. Brown will be playing for Tilton Prep in New Hampshire this season. He is rated as a three star by all four of the services and picked Pitt over Purdue. He gives Pitt a solid second commitment.
So where does Stallings go from here? The staff worked hard throughout the offseason and sent out offers to many different prospects. Here is a look at who is considering Pitt and where they stand with those players.
Yesterday, Jeff Borzello tweeted that Christian David is done taking visits. It’s notable because his most recent visit happened at Pitt this past weekend. According to the tweet, he also took visits to Butler and Creighton. Initially he also included Miami and Oregon in his final five, but since he has decided not to visit those schools, it likely indicates Pitt is among a final three. David is a big time talent that is a four star recruit across the board, and is rated among the top 100 recruits in the country. He is a 6’7” shooting guard from Vermont Academy.
Pitt made the cut for another top prospect this week as well. Kimani Lawrence decided to cut it to a final group of Pitt, Texas, Arizona State, USC, and Florida. Lawrence has not visited Pitt yet. He is probably the biggest recruit Pitt is still in the mix for at this point, as Rivals has him as a four-star and the 48th best recruit in the country. Lawrence is an explosive 6’6” 180 pound wing that plays his prep basketball in New Hampshire. It’s hard to say where Pitt stands until a visit commences.
Victor Uyaelunmo is another player to watch in the coming weeks. Uyaelunmo named Pitt to a final eight back in July. Matt Steinbrink of Panther-lair.com recently tweeted that he will visit Pitt sometime in October. Uyaelunmo is a 6’11” three or four star center that hails from Florida. He also includes the likes of Miami, Florida, and UConn in that final grouping he released in July. Hard to say with him, but visiting helps any recruitment.
If you clicked on the link for that Matt Steinbrink tweet, you will see that Pitt also has a visit in October lined up for four-star forward, Aamir Simms. Like Aaron Thompson, Simms is from the DMV area. The Pitt staff seems to at least be active in the talent-rich area, and assistant coach Kevin Sutton was coaching for Georgetown as recently as last season, so there is familiarity there. Pitt is in a final four for Simms along with VCU, Miami, and Clemson.
These are just some of the big names left on the board, and ones that appear to have included Pitt in their final grouping. Of course, there are other prospects on the horizon. Marcus Carr is a 6’2” three-stat combo guard from Florida, and is actually being projected to commit to Pitt by three recruiting experts on 247sports.com. Pitt also recently offered three-point specialist, Matt Turner from New Jersey. He is a name to watch as well. Harry Psaros of Pittsburgh Sports Now has indicated three-star wing Aaron Wheeler will visit Pitt also.
With at least three spots to go, Pitt has work to do. The staff has worked themselves to be in position for a number of top prospects, it’s all a matter of winning some recruiting battles and landing some of them. We’ll keep you posted on any commitments and updates.