Michigan PF holds Pitt offer

University of Pittsburgh Head Basketball Coach Jamie Dixon has been in hot pursuit of many 2007 blue-chip big men. One of the best recruits on the Panther's radar screen happens to be power forward Josh Southern (6-ft-9 inches, 235 pounds) from Saginaw High School in Saginaw, MI.

"Pittsburgh has offered me a scholarship and I'm definitely going to consider them," stated Southern. "Kentucky, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Michigan, Boston College, St. Johns, Ohio State, UCLA and Miami (FL) are some other schools I would consider. I'm pretty sure all of them offered."

"I had Coach (Tubby) Smith from Kentucky and Coach (Tom) Izzo come check out one of my practices recently."

Scout.com ranks Southern the 13th best power forward / center in the class of 2007. Pitt has already received a verbal commitment from standout 2007 power forward Herb Pope (6 foot 8 inches, 228 pounds) from Aliquippa High School in Aliquippa, PA. Scout.com ranks Pope the 3rd best power forward in the nation.

Many experts believe that Southern will eventually grow into a legitimate center prospect. He was quick to indicate that he prefers one position over the other. "Right now I can't see myself playing center. I feel like a natural power forward. In a year, I grow two inches and gained 15 pounds. I guess there is a chance I could grow into a "5" (center)."

When asked about his strengths, Josh replied "Nobody beats me in the paint. I like to think I'm a dominating big man. I have worked hard on my low post moves and my defense. My shot blocking has improved. I have learned when to jump and when to anticipate the shot."

"You can't teach a desire to win. I have that. I want the team I play for to win championships."

Many believe Southern is a lock for one of the home state schools. He was quick to dispel that rumor. He said, "How can I not look at a school like Pittsburgh or Kentucky. With the Panthers, you have a team that has been one of the best Big East teams for five to six years now."

"It would be nice to stay close but I have to do what's best for me. I'm going to look into all of my options. Pittsburgh is going to be one of them."

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


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