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Pitt hosts elite recruits during NC State game

Four recruits with four-star ratings were in attendance at the Pete on Saturday

NCAA Basketball: N.C. State at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt faced a beatable NC State team at the Petersen Events Center on Saturday afternoon but ultimately came up short for its seventh straight loss. Although the Panthers fell to the Wolfpack in a 79-76 game that came down to the last shot — a heartbreaking miss by Sidy N’Dir — it was one of the team’s better efforts of late, and it came before a quartet of promising recruits.

The group of recruits included Gerald Drumgoole, Donovan Johnson, Darius Miles and Ethan Morton, according to Jake Weingarten of Stockrisers. Each Pitt target holds a four-star evaluation from the 247Sports composite ratings, which also includes each of them among the top 125 players in the nation in their respective recruiting classes.

Drumgoole, a 6’6” small forward out of La Lumiere School in La Porte, Indiana, was the lone 2019 recruit in attendance. He averaged 19.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists in his junior season at Irondequoit High School in Rochester, New York, prior to transferring to La Lumiere, and Pitt has been pursuing him heavily in recent weeks. He discussed his interest in the school in January.

”Pitt is a really good basketball program, and I really like the coaches because they know the game,” he told Mike Vukovcan of Pittsburgh Sports Now. “I also believe they know how to develop players and could help take my game to the next level.”

Morton and Johnson represent two of the top local prospects of the 2020 class. Morton, a 6’5” point guard out of Butler Area Senior High School, was averaging 27 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists per game as of Feb. 4. Pitt faces significant competition for his services, as he holds offers from 22 schools, including Indiana, Ohio State, Purdue, Marquette and Michigan.

Johnson, a 6’7” small forward out of Moon Area High School, was averaging 22 points per game as of late January. He also happens to be the brother of former Pitt guard Cameron Johnson, and he discussed his visit to the Petersen Events Center with Pittsburgh Sports Now on Sunday.

”It meant a lot to me that they invited me, and it gets me really excited,” Johnson said. “I also appreciate that [Pitt assistant Jason Capel] believes that I could be worthy of playing there, and it honestly means a lot to me. … Coach Capel is an amazing coach, and it would honestly mean a lot [to receive an offer from Pitt] — especially with my family having such strong ties there.”

Miles is a 6’6” small forward playing at St. Charles High School in Waldorf, Maryland, and he has ties to current Pitt star Xavier Johnson, who also played in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area. The forward was averaging 17 points, five rebounds and five assists as of late January.

Pitt head coach Jeff Capel and his staff have yet to land their first recruit of the 2019 cycle, but they have a few promising candidates in the mix. In addition to Drumgoole, 6’8” frontcourt contributor Karim Coulibaly also includes Pitt among the top schools he’s considering.

Capel and his staff also appear to be laying some solid groundwork for the 2020 cycle, as Pitt was among the first major programs to show interest in 6’8” power forward John Hugley. The frontcourt star out of Brush High School in Cleveland has since visited Pittsburgh several times. If Capel can convince a few players of this caliber to commit, the team could be in good shape in short order.