Oliva gives Hawks third 2015 commitment

Moments after securing an overtime win over LIU Brooklyn Tuesday night, the St. Joe's coaching staff received welcome news on the recruiting front. 6'8 Bergen Catholic (NJ) senior forward Pierfrancesco Oliva, just days after wrapping up his visit to Hawk Hill, made the call to end his recruitment. He is the third member of the Hawks' 2015 recruiting class.

In early August, St. Joe's landed two 2015 commitments in a matter of 48 hours, when Neumann-Goretti (PA) point guard Lamarr Kimble and St. Joe's Prep (PA) wing guard Chris Clover committed to the Hawks. Then, for the better part of three months, the recruiting front went cold for St. Joe's. That all changed on Tuesday night with the commitment of Pierfrancesco Oliva.

Oliva is a 6'8 native of Florence, Italy currently attending Bergen Catholic (NJ). At Bergen Catholic, Oliva is coached by former Davidson player Billy Armstrong. Over the summer, Hawk Hill Hardwood spoke with Armstrong about the uniquely talented Oliva. He was candid about the Italian native.

"He's good at all the things you can't teach," Armstrong told Hawk Hill Hardwood in August. "When we played the better teams that pressed, we’d have him bring it up because they’d put a 6’6 player in front of him, and they couldn’t stop him. He’s a point forward type. His instincts for the game are great. Offensively, he can make shots. He’s a little inconsistent, but he can make shots. His strength is his passing, especially inside-out passing. He got our guys so many open looks from three this year.”

One glaring need on this St. Joe's team is a player who can help swing the ball and direct offense out of the high post. Oliva's passing ability, both on the break and in the half-court set out of the high post, will be a major asset next season.

When speaking in August, Armstrong stated that Pierfrancesco is "an outstanding shot-blocker." Armstrong went on, saying, "he has great timing" on the defensive end. In terms of pace and speed of the game, his coach stated, "He has that vertical athleticism, and what I mean by that is that he’ll rise up and dunk on someone. Horizontally, the athleticism to just blow by his man isn’t really there. He also defers at times, and this year we’ll need him to be more aggressive."

Hawk fans hoping to catch Bergen Catholic play against top-level competition will have plenty of opportunities this season. Oliva's team will be squaring off against North Jersey powerhouses Saint Anthony's, Gill St. Bernard's, The Patrick School, and Teaneck. In addition, they will be traveling to California to play in the 2014 Surf Slam Holiday Tournament.

I will be speaking with 'Cecco' this afternoon, and a follow-up article to this will run tonight with quotes from the newest Hawk.

Hawk Hill Hardwood Top Stories