Pitt basketball recruiting: Too early to panic?

Pitt Basketball coach Kevin Stallings is in the heat of recruiting season. What are his remaining options?

It’s been a historically brutal seven days for Pitt basketball in recruiting.

Five 2017 prospects who all were offered by Pitt and were seriously considering the Panthers committed elsewhere this past week.

It started with Tyler Polley, a power forward from Florida, who committed to UConn on Tuesday.

Aamir Simms, one of the highest-rated Pitt targets, gave his pledge to Clemson, and Miami big man Victor Uyaelunmo committed to USC on Friday.

Small forward Christian David announced on Saturday evening that he’d attend Butler, and, on Monday, Word of God Christian Academy (Raleigh, NC.) center Brandon Huffman chose North Carolina.

Fortunately for Pitt fans, Stallings aggressively pursued many recruits early on in the process. He and his staff still have remaining options, albeit lower-tier options for the most part.

As it now stands, Pitt’s projected roster for the 2017-18 season is paper-thin at the two and the four. The addition of Terrell Brown helps at the five, but Brown is a player that could play at the four or could stretch to the five, so a complimentary piece is ideal.

At the wing, Pitt has several options. This upcoming weekend, Pitt will host combo guard Marcus Carr (Monteverde Academy, Monteverde, Fla.), a Canadian who attends school in Florida. Carr tells me he has no planned official visits after this weekend, which is a good sign if you’re a Pitt fan.

It will be the first official visit for Carr, who underwent ACL surgery 13 months ago. Carr was recruited by Pitt coach Kevin Stallings during Stallings’ tenure at Vanderbilt.

Pitt assistant coach could be considered the ultimate bridge in Carr’s relationship to Pitt, as Sutton coached at Carr’s Monteverde Academy from 2004 to 2011.


Another wing, 6-foot-4 Matt Turner (Blair Academy, Blairstown, NJ.), is also garnering the attention of Pitt’s coaching staff. Turner is a sharpshooter with some wheels. Like Carr, Turner projects as a combo guard to eventually play alongside Pitt point guard commit Aaron Thompson.

From Scout.com recruiting analyst Evan Daniels:  “[Turner] is quick and tough for defenders to keep in front. A true combination guard, Turner played both on and off the ball and was effective in both roles. He’ll need to cut down on his turnovers, but he has a lot of raw ability and an impressive upside.”


At small forward, Stallings is pushing hard for Scout100 Kimani Lawrence.

From Scout’s report:  “Kimani Lawrence is one of those kids who just finds a way to be productive. He isn't elite at any one thing, but he does everything pretty well with no massive deficiency. While he needs work on his deep jumper and also some with his ball handling, neither area stands out as a massive liability. He will rebound well for a forward, and also can guard a multitude of spots. Lawrence is an ideal role player who stars in doing all of the little things.”

Lawrence will decide between Pitt, Florida, Texas, USC and Arizona State. He has visited Arizona State twice. He intends to be at USC this weekend and Pitt the following weekend with trips to Florida and Texas will follow up the Pitt visit.


David’s high school teammate, Jordan Nwora (Vermont Academy, Saxtons River, Vt.), has seen his recruitment blossom. Nwora plays AAU for the NY Rens and received a Louisville offer several weeks ago. The small forward’s recruitment will start heating up soon.


At center, the recruitment of power forward/center hybrid Sterling Manley was complicated Monday when he was offered by Roy Williams at UNC. This offer, oddly, came just hours after Huffman’s commitment to the Tar Heels.


Bottom line:  Pitt needs a couple of the above players to commit in order to help its chances at sustaining mild success in the ACC. Stallings will need at least four commitments by next fall. He’s swung and missed at several key targets, but the bleeding could stop early this weekend when Carr is on campus.

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