Pitt Hoops Recruiting: D.C. Assault

The large majority of the Pitt basketball roster contains players from New York and New Jersey. With the recent hiring of assistant coach Mike Rice and director of basketball operations David Cox, Pitt fans can expect an influx of talent from the Washington D.C. area. We recently spoke with D.C. Assault Head Basketball Coach Curtis Malone about the Cox hiring and a few Pitt targets.

"I have known David Cox for the last five years," stated Curtis Malone, head basketball coach the AAU powerhouse D.C. Assault. "David is like a little brother to me. Pitt fans are going to be happy to have him. He's a good, hardworking, family oriented person."

"David is very bright and very energetic. He's one heck of a coach and I fully expect him to be a success in Pittsburgh. I think he's going to be a huge asset when it comes to getting players from our area. He already has a ton of connections."

"We want to see David succeed at Pitt. I can assure you we will do whatever it takes to help him succeed. The players he gets from this area may take the Panthers over the top."

Coach Malone was quick to complement the hiring of assist coach Mike Rice as well. "I dealt with Coach Rice several times. He's a great guy and he's highly personable," he said. "Coach Rice did a great job running the camps for the Hoop Group Eastern Invitational. He's a hard worker and a great hire for Coach (Jamie) Dixon."

The University of Pittsburgh recently received a verbal commitment from 6-foot-6 inch wing forward Darnell Dodson from Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, MD. Dodson has been a key contributor to the D.C. Assult program.

Coach Malone was quick to offer insight on the newest Pitt Panther. "Darnell is a very talented player. He's a smooth scorer with unlimited potential," he said. "Although he was being recruited by the ACC and Big East, I still believe he's a sleeper that's just as good as some of the more heavily recruited players out there."

"Darnell needs to have a strong senior year and develop his body. He has the talent to compete in the Big East, but he's probably not strong enough right now. Once he gets physically stronger, he's going to a very good player. He's a excellent shooter that can put points on the board."

The Panthers have become heavily involved with Dodson's teammate Julian Vaughn from South Lakes High School in Reston, VA. Scout.com ranks Vaughn a "four-star" recruit and the 12the best power forward in the nation.

"Julian is 6-foot-10 inches, 240 pounds and he's a bit of a combination between a power forward and a center. He can play either one, it all depends on the schools system," stated Malone. "Everybody is looking at him right now. Schools from Kentucky to Florida to North Carolina to Pittsburgh."

"Julian could probably compete right now in the Big East. He's a little more advanced physically. Julian is more of a finesse player. He's somewhat unique in that he's a high school big man that can set put on the perimeter and hit a jump shot or three pointer."

"Julian is a very polished player and he's going to have a lot of schools to choose from. I'm sure the connection with David (Cox) will help Pitt."

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

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