Piotrowski High on Terps

2011 big man Luke Piotrowski from Atlantic Christian, NJ has the Terps very high on his list.

Six-foot-eleven players who can shoot the ball do not come around every day, but when they do, they are in high demand, something that Luke Piotrowski '11 of Atlantic Christian (NJ) has learned firsthand.

Having recently completed his high school season, the big man lists “Maryland, Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon State, St. Joseph's, Providence, and a couple other schools in the Big East and ACC” as the programs recruiting him.

Maryland, Arizona, Arizona State, St. Joseph's, and Oregon State have already extended scholarship offers to the 6'11, 220-pound junior.

While it is still somewhat early in the recruiting process for Piotrowski, he has started to think about which schools are his favorites.

“I mean, the only schools I've been to so far are St. Joes and Maryland. I've always been a Maryland fan since I was little, when they were in the Final Four, so I guess I'd say they are, but once I take more visits I'll be able to gauge [it better]. I'd say they're all pretty even.”

One advantage that Maryland has is that Piotrowski would prefer to stay relatively local, though that is not a sure thing.

“Yeah, I think [location will be a factor]. I would like to stay close to home. With that said, I don't think it would be too big a deal, but with Arizona or Arizona State, if I went out there and it was the right fit [I would go there], but would prefer to stay relatively close to home.”

Piotrowski is primarily being recruited by Chuck Driesell from Maryland. “He's pretty basic. I talk to him on the phone pretty often. He can only call once a month so not too often. He came up to my school last year and he was explaining to me what he likes about my game and how I'd fit in at Maryland, that I'm 6'11 and pretty versatile and mobile. I know at college it's all business, but it seems like he & Coach Williams make you the best player you can be.”

Asked for his thoughts on the Maryland program, Piotrowski replied, “Like I said, since I was younger I've been a fan. They were always my favorite team, and then as I got older it became a reality that I could be going there,” said the Garden State standout.

“As far as the coaching staff goes, I talk to Coach Driesell and I had an opportunity to talk to coach Williams when I went up there. Coach Williams is a great coach, it's a great situation there. As far as proximity, it's only about three hours from my house, which is great, and it's a great coaching staff and a great academic school.”

Piotrowski went into some more detail about his visits to College Park. “Last year I went up to the North Carolina game when they won in overtime and that was just great. The Comcast Center is an incredible atmosphere. You can tell fans are crazy about basketball. After game I talked to coach Williams and Coach Chuck showed me around the Comcast Center, but I didn't get to see campus.”

“This year I was gonna come up early to get a tour [before] I think it was the UNC game, [but then] the snowstorm hit so I didn't get to go, but we came a few weeks later for the Georgia Tech game. I just went to the game and Tucker hit that shot so it was a good game. I wanna take another unofficial. We were planning on going this week because I had off from school, but it was a dead period so I couldn't go.”

“No, I don't have any date set or anything. Personally I think I wanna make an early decision so I can focus on school and even getting better, but as of right now I don't have a timeframe,” said Piotrowski on when he wants to make his college choice.

At 6'11, Piotrowski can do some things at his height that most other big guys cannot do. Asked what position he sees himself as, he replied, “4 or 5, I'm sort of like a face-up 4, but since I'm 6'11 I can play the 5 too.”

What does Piotrowski feel are the strongest points of his game? “Definitely just being 6'11, and I have a good shot for my size and also decent ball-handling skills and I can move pretty well too. I'm pretty versatile. If they put a slower guy on my I can take him inside and if they put a smaller guy I can take him inside too. I guess my versatility. One of the things I wanna work on is my strength for when they put a bigger guy on me.”

Piotrowski is coming off of a successful high school season at Atlantic Christian, which one of the better teams in New Jersey.

“It went really well. I can't remember what our record was, 24-6 maybe, 24-5. The conference we play in is a Christian League conference and the competition isn't too strong, but we played some good showcase games and out-of-conference games that we won and some close games that we lost. Like we played St. Bens and we lost but it was a good experience for our team.”

The junior's high school coach is not only the person handling much of his recruitment, but someone with whom he is quite close.

“I mean I definitely have my dad [helping me out]. My dad's my high school coach too. He pretty much handles everything; he definitely talks to a lot of people the most. It's pretty convenient that he's my high school coach because he gives me an honest opinion and directs me in the way he thinks I should go.”

His father is quite an accomplished basketball player in his own right too. “He played, he went to La Salle University in Philadelphia and then played for the Portland Trail Blazers for a year or two and then played in Europe too.”

Piotrowski recognizes how his father has helped him with his game. “It definitely helps a lot. Obviously he passed his size down to me, he's 7'0. He's been there, he knows what it takes. Sometimes it's hard because he my dad and u don't wanna listen . . . but I respect him because he's been there.”

Although his father played at La Salle, it does not appear that Luke will be an Explorer as well even though he said they are recruiting him. “Yeah, but I don't wanna say we told them no, but [they are] not [recruiting me] as hard. It's not a school I would be interested in, but I have talked to the coach, Coach [John] Giannini.”

In addition to having an ex-NBA player as a father, Luke has an older brother who is no slouch either. After graduating from Atlantic Christian in the class of 2009, Mat Piotrowski is doing a post grad year at Lawrenceville School (NJ) and has yet to make a college choice.

“My brother, ever since we were young we used to play one on one. I didn't hit my growth spurt until my freshman year so that might be why I like to drive, because I was always smaller than him. . . .We've always been together, pushing each other, working hard together, because we know we both can play at the next level.”

Would Luke like to play with his brother at the collegiate level? “It's definitely been in discuss since we were younger, like a package deal kind of thing, but it's definitely something I'm interested in. If he went to a school I was interested in, it wouldn't make me go there, but it wouldn't deter me. It would definitely appealing, but I don't think it would affect my decision too much.”

Luke Piotrowski is clearly heavily interesting in the University of Maryland, but it might be a number of months before he makes it know whether or not he will attend the ACC school for his college ball.

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