Jeff Capel and the Pitt coaching staff are in the mix for a number of blue-chip recruits, and over the past few days, they got the opportunity to build on their momentum and improve their standing with R.J. Davis and Donovan Johnson. Both are consensus four-star recruits who have been coveted by more than a dozen schools each, and both are considered the No. 10 player at their respective positions in the 2020 class, according to 247Sports.
Johnson was on Pitt’s campus for an unofficial visit on Thursday, according to Jake Weingarten of Stockrisers. The 6’7”, 185-pound small forward out of Moon Area High School in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, is the younger brother of former Pitt standout and recent first-round NBA draft pick Cam Johnson. And while his proximity to Pitt has allowed him to take multiple visits, he said this one was different.
”It was different than the other times I’ve visited,” Johnson told Mike Vukovcan of Pittsburgh Sports Now. “This time it was like they really wanted to show me things, changes and what we’re like now. They’re definitely moving in the right direction with their facilities and trying to make them top of the line. Coach is really trying to change the program around for the better.”
Johnson was ruled ineligible to play his senior year of high school basketball at Moon by the WPIAL, and as a result, he is still working on a plan for next season. Initially, there was speculation that the eligibility issue could prompt Johnson to reclassify to 2019. However, for now, he said he is looking at prep school options, considering staying at Moon and weighing other options. Johnson added that a decision would come in a few weeks.
One day after Johnson’s visit, Pitt hosted another elite recruit in Davis. The 6’0”, 161-pound point guard out of Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, New York, has been on Capel’s radar for well over a year, as the coach’s first move after assembling his staff at Pitt was to take a trip to New York to see Davis in April 2018.
It appears that focus has paid off to an extent, as Davis included Pitt among the first four schools he planned on visiting. It also appears the visit was a success, as it just so happened that Davis crossed paths with Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry, a former teammate of Pitt assistant coach Jason Richards, at Pitt’s practice facility.
Pitt still faces significant competition for both Davis and Johnson, and no decision date has been set by either recruit. But it’s evident by the volume of interactions between Capel’s staff and Johnson, the quality of Davis’ visit, and duration of Pitt’s pursuit of both Davis and Johnson that Capel is pulling out all the stops to get both players in blue and gold.