Werner close to final decision

University of Pittsburgh Head Basketball Coach Jamie Dixon is hoping to solidify his 2006 recruiting class. The Panthers recently hosted talented forward Dan Werner from Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft, NJ. Is the Top 100 player ready to make a final decision? Read on for details.

"We just returned from visiting the University of Florida," stated Ron Werner, father of talented forward Dan Werner (6-foot-8 inches, 220 pounds) from Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft, NJ. "The visit to Florida was nice. We made an unofficial visit to Seton Hall prior to that."

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. Werner previously visited Pitt, St. John's, Notre Dame and St. Josephs.

"We have one final visit. Dan and I are going to visit North Carolina State over the weekend. He's going to take a four to five day rest and make a decision shortly after that."

Werner was originally committed to the North Carolina State. He eventually was granted an unconditional release from his letter of intent due to the exodus of Head Coach Herb Sendek. Although the Wolfpack are still in the mix, Werner has opted to reopen his recruitment.

Werner and his family visited the University of Pittsburgh in late May. When asked about their thoughts on the visit, Mr. Werner stated, "Pitt is at the top of his list. It's one of his very top choices. We were able to meet the Chancellor (Mark Nordenberg) and Coach (Jamie) Dixon was a gentleman the entire time we were there. The faculties and campus were very nice."

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.

Matt Rice, formerly an assistant basketball coach with St. Joseph's University, was recently added to Coach Dixon's staff. It appears the addition of Rice may factor into Werner's recruitment. "I was made aware that Matt Rice recently joined the Panthers' coaching staff," said Mr. Werner. "Coach Rice recruited Dan when he was at St. Joes and Dan really liked him. He's a quality addition."

"Dan should have a decision within the next few weeks. The University of Pittsburgh remains one of his top options."

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

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