Now that Smoke Williamson has been added to the fold, things are looking a little differently for the Pitt check list. I will update as things change. This is not every player that Pitt is pursuing, but rather the the best prospects that they currently have a chance with.
Damon Wilson, Our Savior New American School (Centereach, NY)- The 6'5" guard has already committed to the Panthers and there's no reason to think that will change since he was recruited by Brandin Knight. Wilson continues to get good reviews this season. His scoring still needs to get a little better though he does have some good offensive skills. Wilson's defense and quarterbacking skills are his real positives. He is very skinny and long which helps him see the floor, play defense, and get into the lane. He is also very savvy and clutch at the end of games.
Jarred Reuter, Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, MA)- This is a kid that Pitt fans would love. A big, rugged 6'8" 240 pound power forward that could also play center, Reuter also has a very nice skill set for a big man. He's basically a tough guy with skills, and he plays hard and tough on every possession. The Massachusetts native was good enough a few years ago to get very early offers from Florida, Indiana, and UConn but he got out of shape and didn't progress like many expected. So the offer list you see on recruiting websites may not be his actual offer list. For instance, Florida and UConn no longer have committable offers for him. But he's since had a bit of a resurgence and picked up offers from Pitt, Indiana, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Cincinnati, Seton Hall, South Carolina, Temple, LaSalle, Kansas State,
Cheick Diallo, Our Savior New American School (Centereach, NY)- Obviously this is the one special player on the list that could change everything for Pitt. At one point many thought that the Panthers were the favorite. Now that the 6'9" Diallo has had a huge summer, the competition is getting even more brutal. When schools like Kansas get involved, basketball prognosticators immediately think a kid will go there, and usually they do, but it's my understanding that Pitt is still very much in the thick of it with Diallo.
Mustapha Heron, Sacred Heart HS (Waterbury, CT)- Just like Diallo, people are predicting he'll go to Kentucky despite the fact that Kentucky hasn't even offered him. One prediction on a national website even has him going to Kansas State (Kansas State?!?!). Here's the facts. As of now, Heron has never expressed an interest in anybody but Pitt. He doesn't even talk about anybody but Pitt. And when he does talk about Pitt he says he loves the coaches and the players. Yes, until he signs with Pitt nobody can say for sure that he will end up a Panther. The only school that I can see him theoretically changing his mind for is Kentucky, and that's only if Kentucky goes all out for him, something they have shown no signs of yet. In fact, they've been offering other guards. And then Heron would actually want to go to Kentucky, too, something that may not happen. Bottom line, a lot would have to happen for Heron to go anywhere other than Pitt and so far there are absolutely no signs of that happening.
As for him as an actual player, the 6'4" Heron can play the one, the two, or the three in college, and he's so developed already that he will be an instant impact player in college.
Maverick Rowan, Lincoln Center Performing Arts Charter School (Midland, PA)- The 6'7" sharpshooter has already committed to Pitt, and he's considered so committed to the Panthers that no others schools even call him anymore. He silenced the last of his critics this summer by scoring against the best prospects in the land. He will probably be a three at Pitt, and he should score a lot of points. Top 50 caliber player.
Kassoum Yakwe, Our Savior New American School (Centereach, NY)- Offered by the Panthers a long time ago, the 6'7" power forward is a highly athletic rebounder and shot blocker. He had an injury plagued season but he's still being pursued by Pitt, as well as the likes of Kansas, Syracuse, and Villanova. Best friends with Diallo, so whoever gets Diallo may also get Yakwe.
Omari Spellman, MacDuffie School (Granby, MA)- The Panthers just offered the 6'8" 240 pound power forward yesterday, and they aren't alone. Spellman is already well travelled. He went to two different high schools in New York, before spending this past season in Ohio. He recently transferred to MacDuffie since eligibility issues due to transferring may have cost him his senior season. A big kid who can move out and hit the jumper with ease, Spellman is a top 40 talent with offers from West Virginia, Cincinnati, Villanova, Virginia Tech, Seton Hall, Iowa, Florida, Miami, and Wake Forest.
Bruce Brown, Vermont Academy (Saxton's River, VT)- The Boston native was already checked out by Bill Barton, who is also recruiting talented KJ Santos at the school, but Smoke Williamson is also very familiar with Brown, who was offered by UMass when Williamson was there. A strong 6'3" SG with great defense and great hops, Brown is a fast riser. Pitt hasn't offered yet, but they've been in contact. Michigan, Minnesota, Wake Forest, Xavier, and Boston College are some of his early offers.
Corey Manigault, Paul VI HS (Fairfax, VA)- Pitt knew about him before Williamson arrived, but he was offered by Williamson at UMass so this is a kid that both Williamson and Jamie Dixon like. Dixon himself called him a few days ago to check in on him. The 6'8" nephew of playground legend Earl "The Goat" Manigault, he tells me that he is projected to be 6'10" and that he already has an incredible 82" wingspan. So far he's all potential, and hasn't been a force yet in high school, but he's somebody that has the potential to explode.
Jordy Tshimanga, MacDuffie School (Granby, MA)- It's hard to believe that both Tshimanga and the 6'8" 240 pound Spellman are going to be on the same team as Tshimanga is 6'11" and 280 pounds. The Montreal native, who is nicknamed "La Foudre" (French for thunder), needs to get in better shape, but when he's not winded he can move very well for such a big man. He was recently ranked in the top 60 by ESPN. Pitt just called him.