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Pitt among leaders for in-state recruit Dereck Lively II

The four-star center is ranked among the top 50 recruits in the 2022 class

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

Pitt added a potential frontcourt star in John Hugley last October, but the program will have another roster spot opening up with the departure of Terrell Brown after the 2020-21 season. One prospect Jeff Capel and his staff are currently in contact with is Dereck Lively II, a center in the 2022 class at Westtown School in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

On Saturday, Lively broke down his recruitment with Ryan McMullen of Zagsblog and listed Pitt along with Florida State, Memphis, Miami, Michigan, North Carolina and Ohio State as “the ones prioritizing me the most right now.”

“I’ve had great conversations with them,” Lively said of the Pitt coaching staff. “They reach out to me a lot. Again, a new head coach to the program in Coach Capel is building something that would be exciting to be a part of.”

The 6’11”, 200-pound center is a four-star prospect, according to Rivals, 247Sports and ESPN. Each of the three recruiting websites also ranks him among the top 50 rising juniors in the country, with his highest rating, No. 35 nationally, coming from 247Sports, and his lowest, No. 49, coming from Rivals. ESPN and 247Sports also count Lively among the top five prospects in Pennsylvania and the top 10 centers in the 2022 class.

Lively’s current school, Westtown, has become a nationally relevant program under head coach Seth Berger, and it has produced some of the best players in the nation in recent years. Westtown alum Mo Bamba committed to Texas in 2017, and Cam Reddish went to Duke in 2018. The two went on to become first-round NBA draft picks and now play for the Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks, respectively.

Last September, Pitt landed Westtown power forward Noah Collier who won a state title with Lively. So the two would be reunited in Oakland if Lively eventually decided to commit to Pitt. However, Collier and Lively are far from the only Westtown standouts to pique Capel’s interest, as the coach and his staff have also been in contact with 2021 recruits Jalen Warley and Franck Kepnang. And while Warley left Pitt out of his top 10, Pitt remains in the mix for Kepnang, a 6'11", 247-pound center.

With Justin Champagnie, Ithiel Horton, John Hugley, William Jeffress and Xavier Johnson all set to contribute in the coming years, Pitt has a solid core in place and could be an appealing landing spot for Lively by 2022. And with a commitment secured from top-50 prospect Jalen Hood-Schifino, a point guard currently playing at Montverde Academy, Pitt is off to a strong start in constructing its 2022 class.