Dixon evaluates Virginia big man

University of Pittsburgh Head Basketball Coach Jamie Dixon continues to search for talent despite the loss of his top two assistants. It appears he is closely scrutinizing a massive center from Alexandria, VA. Will this be the player to eventually replace Aaron Gray? Read on for details.

"There are a tremendous amount of teams looking at Mike. Pittsburgh is definitely one of them," states Bishop Ireton Head Basketball Coach Chuck Driesell. Coach Driesell was referring to his star center Mike Williams (6-foot-11 inches, 265 pounds). "Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Maryland, Virginia, Illinois and Georgia have expressed heavy interest in him."

Scout.com ranks Williams a three-star prospect and one of the top centers in the class of 2007. He has been a two-year starter for Ireton High School and the starting center for the AAU DC Blue Devils.

"Mike is a massive center that is continuously getting better. This is a very important summer for him. He will be playing seeing plenty of AAU action and there is a possibility he will be playing for the national team. Mike may have to fly to Germany to try out for the team. A big summer could catapult his recruiting."

Coach Driesell was quick to talk about some of the improvements Mike was making in the off season. "He has committed himself to conditioning and spending a lot of time in the gym. He's always been big at 260 to 265 pounds but he's shifting more of that weight to muscle," he said. "I have noticed a big difference with his bench press and legs. His bench has improved considerably and I have noticed definition in his legs."

Coach Dixon is currently pursing a number of quality big men including Anthony McClain (7-foot, 225 pounds) from Fort Washington, MD, Josh Southern (6-foot-9 inches, 240 pounds) from Saginaw, MI, Hamidu Rahman (6-foot-11 inches, 240 pounds) from Somerset, NJ, Ayodele Coker (6-foot-10 inches, 240 pounds) from South Kent, CT and Matthew Bryan-Amaning (6-foot-9 inches, 235 pounds) from South Kent, CT. The Panthers have already extended scholarship offers to McClain and Bryan-Amaning.

"Mike is developing and improving his game. He's a force on defense and his size takes up plenty of space on the basketball court. It's taken him some time but his offensive game is really improving. He's learned a number of new and effective shots in the paint."

"It's early right now but Pittsburgh is definitely one of the schools he will strongly be considering."

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

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