Blair high on Pitt

Class of 2007 blue chip power forward Herb Pope (6 foot 8 inches, 228 pounds) from Aliquippa High School in Aliquippa, PA already verbally committed to University of Pittsburgh Head Basketball Coach Jamie Dixon. With Pope in fold, the Panthers have set their sites on his burly AAU teammate DeJuan Blair (6-ft-8 inches, 250 pounds) from Schenley High School in Pittsburgh, PA.

"I'm looking at a bunch of schools right now," stated Blair. "I like Pitt, North Carolina State, Cincinnati, Wake Forest, Louisville, Illinois and Kansas. You could say I don't have any favorites at this time."

Blair is currently averaging 17 points, 10 rebounds, 4 blocked shots, 6 assists and 2 steals per game. He was the starting center for the AAU Pittsburgh JOTS and played along side Pope at power forward. DeJuan, along with his athletic teammate D.J. Kennedy (6-ft-6 inches, 195 pounds), have started to generate a tremendous amount of interest from upper echelon basketball programs.

When asked to specifically comment on the Pitt Panthers, Blair replied, "I like Pitt. I like them quite a bit. There are a lot of people telling me to stay close to home."

"Pitt is a good school and they have a good basketball team. My family, especially my mother, likes to come to all of my games. I really don't want her driving all over the place. If I go to Pitt, she could see me play all the time."

The Panthers haven't officially offered Blair a scholarship, but Coach Dixon and staff seem to be very close. They have attended a number of Schenley High School games and practices. Blair indicated that Pitt may be receiving external support. "Herb (Pope) is recruiting me pretty hard. He wants me and D.J. to come to Pitt with him," he said.

Blair and Kennedy are often referred to as a "package deal". DeJuan was quick to validate those rumors. He emphatically replied, "Yes, D.J. and I would like to play for the same team. You could call us a package deal. We're trying to bring our point guard Jamal "Onion" Bryant with us as well."

DeJuan, referred to as "Baby Shaq", is capable of playing power forward or center on the next level.

Harry G. Psaros can be contacted at harrypsaros@msn.com.


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