Blair still thinking PITT

University of Pittsburgh Head Basketball Coach Jamie Dixon is in the process of recruiting a number of quality players from the class of 2007. Rugged local prospect DeJuan Blair appears to be ‘ready made' for the Big East Conference. Where do the Panthers stand with Blair? Read on for details.

"Right now Xavier, Pitt, Kansas State, Akron, Miami (FL) and Indiana are the main schools in the picture," stated forward/center DeJuan Blair (6-foot-8 inches, 250 pounds) from Schenley High School in Pittsburgh, PA. "Xavier, Akron and Kansas State have offered me scholarships. Kansas State pulled the trigger not that long ago."

Blair was named Class AAAA 1st Team-All State by The Associated Press. He averaged 20 pints and 12 rebounds a game as a junior. DeJuan is a standout for his AAU team, the Pittsburgh JOTS.

"Right now I'm wide open and I have no favorites. I want to play this summer for the (Pittsburgh) JOTS and see where it takes me. Our team is going to be really strong. We have Herb Pope, D.J. Kennedy, Steve Swiech, Terrelle Pryor and Jawann Alston. Our goal is to win the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) championship this summer. I'll see who has offered me a scholarship after that and made a decision."

Blair has openly stated that he would like to play in college with his teammate D.J Kennedy (6-foot-5 inches, 190 pounds) and Jamal Bryant (5-foot-11 inches, 175 pounds). When asked if he Xavier and Kansas State have an advantage over other schools because they have offered he and Kennedy, DeJuan quickly replied, "Well, we would like to play together, but I think we'll make individual choices. We're still trying to see if we can get a scholarship for Onion (Bryant)."

"I still like Pitt and I would consider playing there. Coach (Jamie) Dixon is a great guy. I like the Big East and Pitt has done well in the conference. Staying close to home would be nice."

Blair is capable of playing power forward and center on the next level. His nickname is "Baby Shaq" due to his thick, broad frame. Wake Forest, Illinois, North Carolina State and Kansas have been in close contact with DeJuan within the last month.

J.O. Stright, the Pittsburgh JOTS Head Basketball Coach, has become a wildly controversial figure. He has quickly become the bane of the every Pitt fans' existence. The majority of Panther fans believe that Stright has a jaundiced view of the Pitt basketball program and uses his considerable influence to prohibit players from attending Pitt.

The controversy recently came to a boiling point when blue-chip forwards Herb Pope (2007 prospect) from Aliquippa, PA and Terrelle Pryor (2008 prospect) from Jeannette, PA verbally committed to the Panthers then quickly reopened their recruitment.

Blair was asked about Stright and what type of influence he has on his final decision. He quickly replied, "My parents have the most influence. They come first. I value how my father and mother feel. J.O. has the second most influence on me. He wants what's best for me but his input on my final decision is important to me."

"I like Pitt and I'm still very interested. I think they are one of my top options."

Harry G. Psaros can be contacted at

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