Big Man on Campus (Literally!)

Good things happened the last time Virginia center Peter Prowitt came to Stanford's campus on March 8. The Card smacked down the barely Bears from across the Bay, and soon thereafter Prowitt gave his verbal commitment to Mike Montgomery. The 2004 6'10" center is back and today started the Stanford High Potential basketball camp. We caught up with Prowitt just before traveling to the West Coast and got all his latest and greatest.

If you put Stanford's first commitment of this 2004 recruiting class out of your mind since his March verbal, then you've made a big mistake.  6'10" Peter Prowitt has been plenty active throughout the spring, and his summer has just started in spectacular fashion.  He was given the high honor of being invited to the 2003 NBPA Camp in Richmond (VA), with only 100 top players in the country invited by Bob Gibbons to attend.  That already put Prowitt in elite company, but what he did at the camp last week is even more telling.

"It was so cool!  It will be hard for any camp I'll attend after this to top it.  The talent level was amazing.  There were three kids who could go straight to the NBA," Prowitt exclaims.  "I also got to go up against current and former NBA guys like Mark Jackson and Stanley Roberts.  It really helped me assess my game and my weaknesses - especially my offensive game and my post moves.  I thought my jump hook was hard to stop, for example, but these guys were able to get it.  So they helped me change a few things and now it's totally unstoppable."

Prowitt also described some memorable opponents and matchups during the various games.  "I had some good battles with Mohamed Tangara, and Robert Swift was really fun," he begins.  "I really defended Rob well.  I would meet him early by coming out on him, and I would also push him off the blocks.  And then there was Randolph Morris - whoah.  That was really difficult.  I had to really hustle to try to score, and defending him was an uphill battle.  Every single game was difficult."

As it should be against top 100 talent filling every spot on every roster.  One difficulty in a camp of such dense talent is getting everybody on the floor, so the NBPA uses a rule whereby players each play exactly two quarters in a four quarter game.  That guarantees rotation, and it also make the stats interesting.  On the one hand, the number of minutes is low, which understates production by what we typically look for in a full four quarter high school contest.  But on the other hand, minutes are equally spread and stats across various participants should be comparable.

Prowitt averaged 4.4 boards per game (over 11 games), which placed him an amazing #4 in the entire NBPA camp.  The aforementioned Tangara dominated the field at an 8.5 average, but Prowitt outdistanced notable national PF/C talents like Swift (3.5 avg.), Morris (3.4), Dwight Howard (2.9), Greg Stiemsma (3.5), David Burgess (2.9) and many others.  The Stanford center commit also scored 6.4 points per game, which placed him above the median at the camp.

For his performances, Prowitt was duly recognized as one of the better players at this elite camp.  Chris Johnson of HoopScoopOnline was in attendance throughout and afterward ranked the top 75 players from the camp.  He placed Prowitt #46 overall, ahead of several familiar nationally elite talents like PG Jason Horton (#56), PF Rob Kurz (#69), C David Burgess (#74) and SF Marcus Monk (#75).  "I really proved that I deserved to be there," Prowitt proudly concludes.  "I proved that I'm one of the top 15 or 20 centers in the country."  As further evidence, PrepStars earlier this month released their national list of top centers in this 2004 class and put Prowitt at #16 - and that was before this NBPA performance.

But putting individual accolades aside, the Potomac School rising senior learned some things about himself and where he wants to focus his summer.  "I thought I was big and strong before the camp," he admits.  "But some of those guys were just a different level than who I have pushed around before.  I've lost some weight lately, now down to 244 after being 250.  I need to get back to work in the weight room.  Though the most obvious difference with the competition at the camp was the athleticism - jumping and mobility.  Of all the immediate things I can address, I need to work on my jump shot."

On the recruiting end of things, the enthusiastic Stanford commit made sure to spread the word about the Cardinal to various targets at the camp.  "It was like serving as an assistant coach," he laughs.  "It was cool.  I talked to several guys about Stanford, like Marcus Monk, Clent Stewart and Zach Woolridge.  Arkansas is really on Marcus, and Woolridge seems very interested in Stanford."

Prowitt will keep his recruiting cap on throughout his busy summer schedule as well, which includes the rapidly approaching Nike All-American Camp in Indianapolis (IN), the Peach Jam in North Augusta (SC) and the AAU Nationals in Orlando (FL).  On top of those big individual and AAU team events, he is playing in two summer leagues with his high school team.  His last game produced a sprained ankle, which unfortunately will keep him from running and playing at the Stanford High Potential Camp this weekend.  "I have the Nike Camp in a week and don't have long to get this well again," he says of the ankle.  Doctor's orders will keep him on the sideline for much of the camp, but he is already looking to use the extra time to hit the weights hard in Maples Pavilion.  And he is not lacking any enthusiasm about the camp on the Farm.  "My main motivation is to get to know the coaches and to get acclimated," he figures.  "Their motivation is to assess where I am.  I think it should be fun."

Back in the spring, Prowitt played with the D.C. Blue Devils in several events, including the Boo Williams Invitational and the Kingwood Classic.  His best game came at the Boo, when he just missed a triple double with 12 points, 15 boards and 8 blocks.  But his production has not always been so pleasing with the Blue Devils, and he recognizes that something in the scheme or chemistry isn't working just right.  "Sometimes I don't feel I'm playing as well as I can," he opines.  "I don't know if it's the system or my chemistry with the other guys on the floor - though they're great guys.  There is something particularly with my coach's system though that doesn't work right for me.

But the spring wasn't all about basketball for this rising center talent.  He says he spent the last month of school hitting the books harder than ever, focused more on grades than hoops.  "It's funny but I've actually improved my grades since I was accepted to Stanford," he amusingly notes. 

Peter won't be the only Prowitt to watch at the High Potential Camp this weekend on Stanford's campus.  He is accompanied for this trip by his younger brother, Tim, who will be an 8th grader this coming fall.  Yep, that makes him the recruiting class of 2008.  And though that might make your head spin, the insanity of today's recruiting game dictates that you get as early a bead as possible on these kids.  And even the great Dave Telep of TheInsidersHoops will take notice of 2007 and 2008 kids at national events.  Says the elder brother about Tim Prowitt, "He's a little shorter than I was at that age, but he's a widebody.  He could be a Charles Barkley-type power forward.  He can stroke it and he plays nasty!"  I'll check Tim out and report back on your first glimpse at the Stanford 2008 recruiting class...

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