Pitt pursues massive prep center

The University of Pittsburgh basketball program will need to add a slew of big men to their roster after the departure of center Aaron Gray and power forward Levon Kendall. It appears that Pitt Head Basketball Coach Jamie Dixon is in hot pursuit of a massive center from Connecticut. Read on for details

The University of Pittsburgh has been pursing a number of quality center prospects. The three most viable options appear to be 7-foot, 240 pound Anthony McClain from National Christian Academy in Fort Washington, MD, 6-foot-10 inch, 260 pound Hamidu Rahman from Franklin High School in Somerset, NJ and 6-foot-10 inch, 270 pound Ayodele "Dele" Coker from South Kent School in South Kent, CT.

The PantherDigest.com recently spoke with South Kent School Head Basketball Coach Raphael Chillious to talk about the status of Dele Coker.

"Dele is looking at Pitt, St. John's, Indiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Clemson," stated Coach Chillious. "Most of them have offered a scholarship."

"Coach (Jamie) Dixon has been the main guy recruiting him. Coach (Orlando) Antigua has assisted him but Coach Dixon has been personally recruiting Dele. Pitt needs big men and I believe Dele has the size and talent to go to a program like Pitt and contribute."

When asked about his strengths, Coach Chillious stated, "He's 6-foot-10 inches tall and roughly 270 pounds. Dele has little fat; he's a block of muscle. He's a very physical player and he has a non-stop motor. I believe those attributes alone get him through his freshman year at a big time program."

Scout.com ranks Coker a "four star" player and the 18th ranked center in the nation. Dele significantly elevated his game over the summer. His stellar performance at the NIKE camp and contributions to his AAU team the Albany City Rocks drew the attention of upper echelon programs throughout the country.

"I'm not sure if he dramatically improved over the summer. I think his confidence greatly improved," stated Chillious. "Dele was finally able to showcase his talent on the basketball court. He's further along on defense. Dele is a strong rebounder and shot blocker. His offense game is coming along. He has some nice low post moves. When he puts it all together, he's going to be a true force."

"Dele is high on Pittsburgh. He hasn't set any visits yet, but I can say with confidence that Pittsburgh will be one of them."

Coach Dixon continues to keep a close eye on another South Kent School player. Massive 2008 prospect Christian Morris (6-foot-9 inches, 270 pounds) already holds scholarship offers from Rutgers and St. John's. The Panthers may be the next Big East school to add to his offer list.

"Christian (pictured right) is a massive young man that has shattered a few backboards with his strength. He projects as a "5" (center) on the next level."

"Christian and Dele go head to head all the time at practice. It's like watching a pair of moose crash into each other. They are both big and talented young men."

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

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