It bears repeating, but Stanford absolutely must land several talented big bodies in this coming 2004 recruiting class after failing to sign any to basketball scholarships this year and signing just two total (Matt Haryasz, '02 and Rob Little, '01) in the prior two classes. Several forwards are on the board, including Davis Nwankwo, Kevin Langford and Maarty Leunen, but true centers who can live up to the talent and expectations set by Stanford's history of tall trees are an important part of the Stanford search. Arlington, Virginia center Peter Prowitt is one of the more talented true centers in America in the current high school junior class, averaging 23.1 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.3 blocks this year. He led his Potomac School team to a 23-4 record and the Virginia Independent Schools State Championship, scoring more than 38% of the team's points while shooting 70% from the field. And he is on campus this weekend for an important unofficial visit with Stanford.
Already presenting an imposing presence in the low post with his 6'10" 250-pound frame, Prowitt would like to fill out his frame to 265-270 pounds. By comparison, Rob Little carried 275 pounds at the beginning of the season on his 6'9" frame, and Joe Kirchofer weighs in at 230 pounds. Matt Haryasz weighs just 210 pounds today. No, Prowitt is by any measure a legit big body, who will project even bigger in college.
This is not the first unofficial visit for Prowitt, who came out to Stanford in mid-October and observed the first weekend of practices. He went to the Stanford football game that day with assistant coach Tony Fuller, took a golf cart tour of the campus with assistant coach Eric Reveno, and took a look at the first practice of the year. Coming full circle, Prowitt will observe today the final regular season game of the year for Stanford as he watches them take on Cal at Maples Pavilion.
What did the visiting junior think of what he saw during the weekend? Prowitt fills us in: "It was my first time at Stanford, and it was amazing. Just awesome. All the players were exceptionally nice - cool guys. They all seemed pretty happy. I wanted to ask them how they handle the academic and athletic loads at Stanford, and they told me that if you stay on top of things, it's a manageable amount of work. One thing that was really impressive was seeing the names on buildings around campus: Bill Gates, Hewlett and Packard."
Prowitt comes from the same neck of the woods as Stanford sophomore Rob Little, and the two know each other. When Prowitt came out on that visit, he took a chance to chat a little with Little about the experience of being away from home. "He says it's just like home, but better weather," Prowitt reports of the feedback. And now that he is making a second trip to The Farm this weekend, Prowitt wants to dig deeper with Little. "I really want to hang out with Rob, and really want to get to know the players much better and hear about their experiences," Prowitt says.
This second look at the school might signal to you a rapid maturation for the erstwhile Cardinal in the recruiting process, and you would be correct. Prowitt has had a lot of conversations with the Stanford coaches by phone, and they have several times come out to watch games and practices in Virginia. A 3.3 student in the classroom who scored a whopping 1330 on the SAT in December, he has just recently completed and submitted his Stanford admissions application. This is admittedly a very busy time of year for the Stanford Admissions Office, given that they are sending out acceptance notices by April 1, but Prowitt is hopeful that he can hear an answer by the end of March. In anticipation that he might be in a position then to receive a full offer from the Stanford coaches, and possibly accept, this is an important visit for the high profile big man to get his questions on the Card answered.
"The place where I can grow the most as a basketball player and as a person is the place I will end up choosing," he proclaims about his decision criterion.
On the basketball court, this was a season of tremendous personal growth for Peter Prowitt. Though he admits he still has work ahead of him on his lateral quickness and explosiveness, as well as his shooting range, the Virginian made great strides in his confidence and control in games. One important turning point came against Georgetown Prep, one of the top D.C. area powers that boasts one of the nation's most talented frontcourts with 7'0" junior Roy Hibbert and 6'8" Davis Nwankwo. Though Potomac is a small school with just 184 boys across all grades, they played tough and trailed Prep by just eight points at the end of the third quarter. "It was a big test for me," Prowitt reflects. "I knew I couldn't just bang in the post and dominate on the merits of my size like in other games. I had to come outside and take [Hibbert] off the dribble. I was a little surprised that I could do that, and it was a big confidence boost for me."
Against Roanoke Catholic in the semifinals of the state championships, Prowitt faced one of his toughest tests of the year, and came through with a defining performance. He matched up against 19-year old Roanoke senior Paulius Joneliunas, a very skilled 6'10" center from Lithuania who is drawing major recruiting attention today. Dave Odom is pursuing him aggressively at South Carolina, and offers have also come from the likes of Virginia and Utah. In this semifinal matchup, Joneliunas was held to just two points in the first half, while Prowitt put up 17 points of his own. Potomac would coast (maybe a little too much) in the second half to a 53-49 victory, with Prowitt closing the game at 21 points and 12 boards.
Earlier in the season, Prowitt put up 37 points in a 66-50 win over Flint Hill on an incredible 16-of-18 shooting from the field. He also ripped down 11 boards in the game, while blocking six shots and going 31 minutes without ever turning the ball over. That's a model of efficiency and productivity in the paint, which is why schools are excited about his college prospects.
Recruiting attention has come from Stanford, Ohio State, Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech an