Class Of 2005 Hoops Possibilities

This week the all important July evaluation period kicks off as shoe giants Nike, Adidas, and Reebok all hold "All-American" camps. Following those camps, high school players will cross the country to play in massive club team events from California to Florida.

Along the way, there will be a horde of college coaches watching every dribble, jump shot and dunk. Of course, Jamie Dixon and the rest of his Pittsburgh staff will be among the masses of coaches traveling from coast to coast in search of players who will fit into their programs.

As it stands, the Panthers have at least two more scholarships to give out -- there are three available, but Brooklyn (NY) Xaverian big man Mike Davis has already claimed his ‘ship -- and smart money says that they will be looking to add another big man and a guard with some scoring punch.

Of course, it is more than likely that current standout Chris Taft is going to have to take a long and hard look at the NBA Draft next Spring and it wouldn't be a surprise if the Panthers recruit like they are expecting Taft to leave. With that in mind, we'd like to profile a group of kids who are likely to receive looks from the Pitt staff this summer. For the moment, we'll focus on high school players.

Understand that this is by no means a full list, and that some players may not receive significant interest in the long run. However, it is a good place for fans to start when looking for players that they may want to follow over the summer. We'll do our best to check in with progress reports on these and other possible Pitt prospects throughout the summer and fall.

BIG MEN POSSIBILITIES
Mike Davis, 6-8 BF/C, Brooklyn (NY) Xaverian- Since Davis is already on the board we'll go ahead and start with him. A big and powerful bruiser, Davis is similar to the type of tough and underappreciated big man that Pitt fans have grown accustomed to. He's raw offensively and needs to firm up his body but he should be ready to go physically from day one. He isn't a tremendous athlete, but does have good timing on rebounds and is both a willing and capable defensive player.

Tyrell Biggs, 6-6 BF, Ramsey (NJ) Don Bosco- It shouldn't come as any surprise that the son of a former heavyweight boxer is one tough dude in the low blocks. Tipping the scales at around 260 pounds, Biggs is cut up and loves to deliver pain in the low post. He might be a bit undersized, but he makes up for it with his strength, surprising quickness, and a clever assortment of scoring moves. Defensively, he gives up a little athletically but makes up for it with his ability to push opposing big men out of the low post and out of their comfort zone. Some other schools involved with Biggs include Villanova, Maryland, Duke, Seton Hall, Rutgers and Georgetown.

Antonio Pena, 6-7 BF, Brooklyn (NY) Lincoln- Pena is finally going to get his chance to step out of the long shadow cast by diminutive PG, and lottery pick, Sebastian Telfair. It wouldn't come as a surprise if the underrated post man turned some heads with his scoring ability this summer. He isn't a high riser, but he is smart in the post and has proved to be a crafty scorer with either hand. He hits the boards, possesses typical New York toughness and he isn't afraid to get down and dirty on the defensive end.

Jamal Boykin, 6-6 BF/WF, Los Angeles (CA) Fairfax- Realistically, the Panthers would be considered a long shot to land Boykin, however he is a talented combo forward worth following. Pound for pound, there aren't any high school kids in the country who play with more heart or intelligence. He is capable of scoring with either hand on a variety of post moves and has the skills to step out for mid range jump shots and the occasional three pointer. He could probably play the wing in a big lineup but has to improve his quickness if he ever wants to defend out there for a big time program. He's capable of making an instant impact if he makes the right decision and others vying for his services include Georgia Tech, Duke, Illinois and Boston College.

Ryan Wright, 6-9 BF, Ontario (CAN) Mississauga- Heading into the evaluation period, you won't find a more red hot big man prospect than Wright. He's an athletic post who runs the court well and attacks the boards with relentless effort. He isn't the most polished player when it comes to footwork, but he makes up for it with effort and quickness. If he plays the way he is capable of, he has a chance to be a top 50, or maybe even better, type of prospect in the class of 2005.

Ben McCauley, 6-7 BF, Herminie (PA) Yough- A relatively local product who has generated tons of attention from hoops giants up and down the Eastern seaboard, McCauley will draw plenty of interest. Offensively he is a skilled player with advanced footwork and the ability to step out and nail jump shots with regularity. He's an average athlete with good strength and timing but will struggle from time to time with quick and athletic post players. North Carolina State, Virginia, Xavier, Cincinnati, and UCLA have all made their pitch for the talented McCauley.

Theo Davis, 6-9 BF/C, Bayside (NY) Cardozo- There was a time when this talented native of Canada was considered a prime suspect to make an immediate leap to the NBA, thankfully that talk has quieted down and Davis should be college bound. When he plays to his abilities, Davis is as talented a scorer as you will find in the low post and his jump hook is unstoppable when he gets rolling. He uses his athleticism and long arms to gleefully erase shots and control the glass and will be looking to repair a reputation that took some hits during the spring.

Vernon Goodridge, 6-9 BF/C, Philadelphia (PA) Lutheran- Effort and athleticism aren't issues for this slender but strong big man. He is looking to dunk everything in site and gets off the floor in a hurry. Does he need to add a little more skill to his offensive repertoire? Sure, but you can't overlook his commitment to swiping rebounds and rejecting shots at every opportunity. He's not the most publicized guy in the world but that will change once more scouts and analysts get a better look at him. As it stands, schools like UConn, Seton Hall, North Carolina, Florida State, St. John's and others figure to track his progress along with Pitt.

------ We would like to welcome Recruiting Analyst Eric Bossi to the Panther Report team. Eric will fill you in all the prospect targets for Pittsburgh. If you have any questions please go the message boards and post them for Eric to answer..

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