Darnell Dodson enjoys visit to Pitt

The University of Pittsburgh hosted a pair of talented basketball prospects over the weekend: Pitt commitment Darnell Dodson from Eleanor Roosevelt HS in Greenbelt, MD and Chris Wright from St. Johns College HS in Washington D.C. The PantherDigest.com spoke with Dodson about his weekend activities. Read on for details.

"I had a great time this weekend. It was a lot of fun," stated small forward Darnell Dodson (6-foot-6 inches, 209 pounds). "I really liked the visit. We were able to meet most of the team and see a little bit more of the campus."

Dodson was the first player to join the Panthers' class of 2007. He joins fellow class of 2007 members Bradley Wanamaker (6-foot-3 ½ inches, 200 pounds) from Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia, PA and Gary McGhee (6-foot-10 inches, 240 pounds) from Highland Senior High School in Anderson, IN.

"I arrived in Pittsburgh Saturday afternoon. I spent a lot of time with most of the team. I felt very comfortable with them. It felt like I knew a lot of them for a long time," he said. "We ate at the Cheesecake Factory that night. It was nice."

Dodson chose the Panther over offers from DePaul, Rutgers, Providence, George Mason, Virginia Tech, Boston College and Maryland. Scout.com rates Darnell a "three-star" player.

Blue-chip point guard Chris Wright (6-foot-1 inches, 180 pounds) from St. Johns College High School in Washington D.C. visited the Panthers as well. He and Dodson are fairly close friends and Darnell did his best to convince him to join Pitt's class of 2007.

"Chris seemed to have a really good time. It looks like he's going to decide between Pitt, Georgetown and North Carolina State. He kept his feeling pretty tight lipped," he said. "Chris and I are pretty tight and I was trying to talk him into joining the Panthers. I like our chances."

Dodson emerged as one of Maryland's top players as a junior. He averaged 15.6 points, 8 rebounds, 2.9 steals and 2.8 assists per game. Darnell led Eleanor Roosevelt (25-2) to the Maryland Class 4A championship game. He shot 43 percent from 3-point range.

Dodson spent time speaking with several of the Panther's athletic trainers and academic staff. The highlight of the trip was a cookout at Jamie Dixon's house.

Darnell is well aware of the physical play associated with the Big East Conference. At a relatively thin 210 pounds, the coaching staff indicated that he should add an additional 10 to 15 pounds. "It looks like they would like have me play somewhere between 220 to 225 pounds," he said. "I plan on hitting the gym pretty hard."

"My main focus now is winning a championship this year. I can't wait to join the Panthers after that."

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

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