Werner prepares for PITT visit

University of Pittsburgh Head Basketball Coach Jamie Dixon is hoping to solidify his 2006 recruiting class within the next few weeks. It appears that the Panthers are one of four schools vying for a Top 100 forward Dan Werner. The PantherDigest.com recently spoke with Dan about his upcoming visit to PITT. Will the Wolfpack's loss turn into the Panthers' gain? Read on for details.

Blue-chip forward Dan Werner (6-foot-8 inches, 220 pounds) from Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft, NJ was recently granted an unconditional release from his letter of intent with North Carolina State due to the exodus of Head Coach Herb Sendek. Although the Wolfpack are still in the mix, Werner has opted to reopen his recruitment. The University of Pittsburgh happens to be one of his top four choices.

"I'm in the process of setting up a visit to Pittsburgh. Hopefully I'll visit there within the next two weeks," stated Werner. "Coach (Jamie) Dixon seems to be a really great guy and I look forward to meeting him in person."

Dan averaged 21 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists per game last season. He was named the 2005 Asbury Park Press Player of the Year. His team finished with an outstanding 27-2 record.

"I'm primarily looking at Pitt, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Rutgers, St. John's and St. Joes. I was set to visit Notre Dame on Friday but my flight was canceled. I'm going to have to fly up the next day. I believe I'll be visiting Pitt the week after. I'm only going to make four visits. Pitt will be one of them. I'm taking a hard look at the Panthers."

Werner was named the 2006 Associated Press New Jersey State Players of the Year, first-team AP All-State and the 2006 MSG Network/Daily News Tri-State Player of the Year. Scout.com ranks him a "four-star" recruit and 16th best power forward in the class of 2006.

Dan is a versatile player capable of playing a number of positions. He's known as a gritty player with outstanding perimeter skills. "I started the season as a top 300 player. My ranking changed after a strong season," stated Werner. "Your network, Scout.com, ranked me the 70th best player in the nation after the season."

"I'm primarily a perimeter player. I can post up if I have to, but I tend to stretch defenses with my shooting. I can hit the three-pointer if you need it. My best skill is probably my passing. I think it's my strength."

"Coach Dixon talked to me about defense. He told me that Pitt would never have won as many games as they have without playing tough defense. I think that's great and I'm willing to do that. I'm not the most athletic player, but I'm tough and willing to put in the effort."

When asked specifically about the Pitt basketball program, Dan was quick to reply, "I have never been to Pittsburgh and I look forward to visiting. I like the Big East conference as well and Pitt has been a major player in the conference."

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

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