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Jeff Capel goes on New York City recruiting ‘blitz’

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Capel scouted two ESPN 60 recruits during his visit to the Big Apple

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Florida State Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Just one day after putting the finishing touches on his coaching staff, Pitt head coach Jeff Capel traveled to New York City with assistant Tim O’Toole to scout top prospects in the basketball mecca and potentially reopen the pipeline that served Pitt so well during the Jamie Dixon era.

The first-year Pitt coach made stops at Archbishop Molloy, Archbishop Stepinac and Christ the King on Tuesday, according to Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog, who added that Capel keyed in on two members of the 2019 ESPN 60, including a five-star point guard and a four-star center.

Archbishop Molloy point guard Cole Anthony, a consensus five-star recruit who ranks sixth on the ESPN 60, and Christ the King center Kofi Cockburn, a consensus four-star recruit who ranks 39th on the ESPN 60, were the most notable prospects to draw a visit from Capel and O’Toole. Anthony is considered a Duke lean, per 247Sports, but Pitt offered him in May 2017.

With that said, Capel had a hand in convincing Anthony to consider Duke, as he visited him on behalf of the Blue Devils as recently as February. Obviously, that could benefit him now.

Cockburn comes in at 6’11”, 248 pounds and would add some much-needed size to the Pitt frontcourt if Capel and O’Toole could convince him to come to the Steel City. As with Anthony, they face some serious competition for Cockburn’s commitment, though, as he holds offers from Cincinnati, Syracuse and UConn, all of whom had staff on hand to watch him on Tuesday.

The Pitt coaches also paid a visit to Archbishop Stepinac, where they got a glimpse of 2020 guard R.J. Davis and 2021 wing Adrian Griffin Jr., who is the son of former Seton Hall forward and current Oklahoma City Thunder assistant Adrian Griffin. Stepinac also happens to be O’Toole’s old high school, and it won the 2018 New York State Federation championship.

“Capel is out in his first couple weeks on the road in New York seeing the young talent and potential that is here to get to Pitt and the ACC in the near future,” said Stepinac coach Pat Massaroni. “Capel is a high-level recruiter and has assembled a great staff as they are taking the proper steps to rebuild the program. New York and New Jersey are two great areas to start.”

Capel has already gotten to work locally, as he’s made trips to Butler and Kennedy Catholic to touch base with top Pittsburgh area recruits Ethan Morton, Maceo Austin and Oscar Tshiebwe. He’s also said to be interested in Robert Morris transfer Dachon Burke, who was released by the Colonials last week, drawing interest from Arizona, Marquette, Nebraska and others.