With his team off to a 4-0 start, Jamie Dixon has a lot to be pleased about. On the heels of his team heading to New York to take on Michigan on Wednesday, Dixon was able to comment for the first time on signees Mike Young and Josh Newkirk,
Even with his team's good start, Dixon has always aimed at concentrating on the present. His enthusiasm in talking about the two signees shows his excitement about the future.
"Two terrific kids, good students," Dixon said. "We won't be waiting until the spring, or the end of summer to see if they're going to qualify."
Young comes to Pitt as the No. 20 power forward in the country, after averaging 15.9 points, 11.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game as a junior. He also shot 72.8 percent (164-255) from the field last year.
"Mike, obviously, we're very excited about him," Dixon said. "He's getting bigger, he's getting better. He's playing good competition, and he's been at a good school. Generally, we don't want to go with guys that have been at a couple different schools, but its been for a good reason. He's made some good decisions. You don't like those situations, but they are a trend. I think for the right reasons, he made that choice. They're all good schools. You talk about Shady Side Academy, St. Bendict's and Hudson Catholic, and good coaches."
Dixon also sounds excited because of Young being a local prospect, and in a sense keeping someone like that in his own backyard.
"We're excited about him," Dixon said. "We saw him about a month ago, and he played real well. He shoots the ball real well, and he's a great kid. I don't know if we call him a local guy, or where he gets classified. It's good to have a guy with some roots in Pittsburgh."
Newkirk comes to Pitt as the first signee from the ACC region. He averaged 15.2 points a game as a junior, leading his team to an 18-6 overall record. Newkirk has been predominantly a point guard for his high school career, but is expected to be a strong combo guard at the next level.
Rarely does Dixon brag about where he gets recruits. His enthusiasm of getting a prospect from ACC territory was evident.
"Josh is a guy we knew about," Dixon said. "We just thought Duke and North Carolina, at the end of the day, would be there. They didn't offer, and that's the kind of guy you have to get. Most places, its based on your local recruiting. We obviously have to do it a different way; try to find a guy that's going to slip through the cracks. He was a guy they looked at, but weren't quite sure about him. That's the one you have to get. That's something we have to do, and most places don't. We have to go in other people's backyards and find the right guy."
He wasn't done there. Almost taking shots at other programs, he made a couple of other comparisons in taking prospects from other areas--Big East rivals--and how they went on to successful careers at Pitt. He also compared Newkirk as someone, like previous Pitt players, who comes to the Panthers after being overlooked by other schools.
"A Sam Young, that Georgetown and Maryland don't think are good enough," Dixon said. "An Aaron Gray, that Villanova and Rutgers don't think are good enough. You can go down the list, and that's what we've got to do. Point guards, you can never have enough of them, and we think we got a good one.
"I think it's good. I think it's a good thing. It's a different thing for us. Not too many schools have made a living of going into warm weather places and bringing them to the north. That's something that I don't think is going to be a regularity. It was a certain situation--a kid that wanted to play in the ACC. He wasn't the guy we thought we could get a year ago, but it fell that way. We're excited about it."