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Pitt makes top eight of four-star recruit Mady Traoré

The 6'11" stretch four has drawn comparisons to NBA star Kevin Durant

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Capel and the Pitt coaching staff received some good news on Wednesday, as Pitt was included in the top eight of Mady Traoré, a coveted French power forward out of Bishop Walsh School in Cumberland, Maryland.

The 6’11”, 195-pound power forward holds four-star ratings from 247Sports and Rivals, and 247Sports ranks him as the No. 95 recruit in the 2022 class. Traoré's top eight came as a result of him ruling out 10 of the 18 programs that offered him a scholarship.

The eight teams still in the running for Traoré include Auburn, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Oregon, Pitt, USC and Virginia Tech. The 10 programs that Traoré has eliminated include Arizona, Arizona State, Cleveland State, DePaul, George Washington, Howard, LSU, Seton Hall, Tennessee and Wichita State.

In addition to playing at Bishop Walsh, Traoré is a member of the Team Thrill AAU program, and over the last few months, the lanky Frenchman with a 7’3” wingspan has drawn impressive comparisons for his size and style of play.

“Mady is a stretch four that has become so popular in the game today,” Team Thrill program director Donnell Dobbins told 247Sports in October. “If Mady continues to develop his shot and it becomes more consistent, he has Kevin Durant ability. He has the frame that’s similar to K.D., and he’s comfortable with the ball and as a playmaker.”

Given the comparisons he has drawn, it’s not hard to imagine the revolutionary effect Traoré could have on the Pitt program. But with that said, Pitt has been in this position before with similarly heralded recruits, such as Oscar Tshiebwe and Kofi Cockburn in 2019 and Ethan Morton and Puff Johnson in 2020, and it has tripped over the finish line. So if Pitt can land a prospect of Traoré’s caliber, it would mark a significant step forward for the program.

Traoré has yet to set a decision date, and as a 2022 recruit, a commitment is probably not in the offing in the near future. But if Capel and his staff can continue to sell Traoré on sharing a frontcourt with fellow blue chips John Hugley and William Jeffress, the program could perhaps position itself to land the coveted prospect and finally put to rest the frontcourt issues that have plagued Pitt for years.