Newly appointed Pitt head coach Jeff Capel fielded questions about his status as an elite recruiter during his introductory press conference on Wednesday, with one reporter asking him if his affiliation with Pitt, rather than Duke, would hurt his efforts on the recruiting trail.
For his part, Capel seemed to have no doubt that he would be able to sell recruits on Pitt.
“Do I think we can get in the door? Yeah. I mean, we got in the door with guys who maybe were above us when I was at VCU. And we certainly got in the door with guys people didn’t think we could when I was at Oklahoma. So I have no doubt that we can do that here,” he said.
“There’s a brand here. Being a part of the ACC, there’s a tradition here. There are facilities here. There are resources here. You have a great city. You have a great academic institution. I don’t see why we can’t.”
Capel was named the top recruiter in the nation by ESPN two years ago, and he’s responsible for the bringing some of the most coveted prospects in the country to Durham during his seven-year tenure under Hall of Fame head coach Mike Krzyzewski at Duke. Some of the players he recruited include Justise Winslow, Brandon Ingram, Marvin Bagley III and Jahlil Okafor.
He was also able to land Blake Griffin at Oklahoma, so his talent has traveled well in the past.
The former Duke assistant was later asked if there were any specific geographical recruiting areas he would focus on as a coach at Pitt, and although he noted the East Coast will be one area of emphasis, he’s undaunted by the prospect of reaching beyond that footprint.
“I believe I can recruit a kid from anywhere if I get to know him and get to know the parents and build a relationship,” he said. “I think we have the resources and things here, if we can get a kid on campus, where they would see the things that we would talk to them about.”
“So I’m not putting a limit on just the East Coast or any particular area. We’re going to go after the best players, wherever they are.”