Wallace studies Aaron Gray

The University of Pittsburgh received at verbal commitment from center prospect Austin Wallace (6 foot 9 inches, 225 pounds) from La Salle Academy in New York, NY in October. He was labeled a "sleeper" and "up and comer" by several well known recruiting publications. Those labels are soon to be shed after a solid senior season.

"We are currently 10-5 right but we just beat Bishop Ford High School. They are the number one team in our league," stated Austin Wallace. "I'm averaging 19.4 points, 17 rebounds and 5 blocked shots a game."

Wallace is a young prospect that continues to grow. He went from 6 foot 7 inches, 210 pounds to 6 foot 9 inches, 225 pounds in one year. Austin is a true student of the game and he continues to improve this season.

"Coach (Jamie) Dixon and my coach have told me to keep the ball high. When you put the ball low and dribble too much, you lose the ball in the paint and turn it over," said Wallace. "My second game of the season, I kept putting the ball low and I have seven turnovers. My coached really ripped into me for doing that I didn't forget. I have been working on keeping it high and I'm scoring 20, 25 and 30 points in games."

Austin is constantly attempting to improve his offensive repertoire. "I have been working on turn around face up shots and turn around hooks. My offense keeps getting better and better, especially my jump shot. I'm almost 6 foot 10 inches tall, so it's easy to shoot over people," he said.

Wallace has been paying close attention to one of the top centers in the nation, Pitt's Aaron Gray. "Aaron has improved so much. He's fundamentally sound and a great center. I love to watch him play," he said. "Coach Dixon told me that Aaron had to learn some of the fundamentals I'm working on. I hope I can improve some of those things before I get to Pitt. I want to contribute early."

Wallace set the record for blocked shots at the Big Apple Challenge earlier in the season. He registered 13 total blocks. Austin chose the Panthers over Georgetown, Florida Atlantic, Purdue, Marquette and Fordham. Wallace, a mature and articulate young man, is an outstanding student that will have little problems qualifying academically. He has already scored over 1200 on his SAT.

"I'm very excited about next year. I weight 225 pounds right now and I believe I'll be around 6 foot 10 to 6 foot 11 inches tall by the time I get to Pittsburgh. I need to gain more weight," said Wallace. "I look at guys like Aaron Gray and Tyrell Biggs and I realize I need to weight at least 250 pounds. The Big East is a physically tough conference and I want to make an impact. I'm hitting the weight room every day."

"The future for Pitt looks bright. You have Levance (Fields), Ron (Ramon), Tyrell (Biggs) and Sam (Young) as a great core for the future. It's a young and upcoming team. Hopefully I'll be the center in that mix."

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

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