Pitt made the top six of high-profile recruit Adama Sanogo last month after making a serious push to secure his services. However, the 6’9” center out of the Patrick School in Hillside, New Jersey, came to a decision about his future on Tuesday, and the news was not positive for Pitt, as he opted to commit to UConn. In addition, Sanogo will reclassify from the 2021 class to the 2020 class.
“I picked UConn because it’s the best place for me,” Sanogo told Evan Daniels of 247Sports. “I picked them because their coach uses their big man. I watched a lot of their games this year, and I liked how they played their big men.”
One of the big men Sanogo was referring to is Akok Akok, a 6’10” power forward who was of similar standing to Sanogo as a four-star recruit in 2018. Akok saw action in 25 games last season, averaging 5.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and a team-best 2.6 blocks per game as a freshman. UConn beat out Pitt for Akok as well, as he chose Danny Hurley’s program out of a top five that also included Georgetown, Pitt, Providence and Syracuse.
At the time, missing out on Akok left Pitt’s frontcourt thin, and the team paid a price for that last season, as a skilled Panthers backcourt received little help from its big men for much of the campaign. However, this time around, Pitt has a brighter outlook, as the program already has 6’9” power forward John Hugley and 6’7” small forward William Jeffress, both four-star recruits, in the fold for 2020.
With that said, landing Sanogo would have been a luxury for Jeff Capel, as the Panthers will welcome frontcourt additions Max Amadasun and Noah Collier as incoming freshmen alongside Hugley and Jeffress next season. And with Sanogo showing interest primarily in UConn, Seton Hall and Nebraska throughout his recruitment, the odds appeared to heavily favor him staying in the vicinity of the New York metro area for college.