We reported to you earlier this month that top Virginia center Peter Prowitt was coming the weekend of March 7-9 to take his second unofficial visit to the Stanford campus this year, including a seat at Maples Pavilion to watch the season's last home game (against Cal). Prowitt was not only showing his strong interest in the Cardinal by way of this cross-country trip, but also did so by completing his Stanford admissions application in late February. In our last report, we anticipated Prowitt's admissions decision to come at the end of March, but the 6'10" junior received a surprise phone call much earlier.
Prowitt with mother, Nancy
Cardinal head coach Mike Montgomery made the call to Prowitt Wednesday evening with the news that he had been accepted by the Admissions Office, and was now being offered a full scholarship to Stanford. Unlike some programs at Stanford like football that make conditional offers to prospective recruits before they clear admissions, Stanford men's basketball under Montgomery has held a clear policy if not making any kind of offers prior to an admissions response. So in one phone call, the recruiting game had changed dramatically for the Virginia junior. Prowitt had considered the Cardinal in his top three list of schools previously, with Ohio State and Princeton rounding out at the group, and the Buckeyes had taken an aggressively stance with their early offer during Prowitt's junior season. The highly acclaimed center had been very excited about the Cardinal, and there were suspicions that this move if/when it happened could put him over the top.
"I was extremely surprised to get the call. Coach Montgomery knew that this was a lot for me to digest and he told me I should sleep on the news for a night and talk with my parents before reacting to it," Prowitt explains. "He was totally in synch with how I was feeling, and it was great for him to take that stance. He wasn't pushy at all. So I did take that night and talked it over with my parents, but that was a pretty quick discussion."
Prowitt called Stanford back on Thursday and enthusiastically gave his verbal commitment to the Cardinal. He tells The Bootleg that his visit over the prior weekend had answered all his questions and made a strong impression on him. The mix of academic, social, political and athletic opportunities had him bordering on giddy about the prospects of being a Stanford man. "With my personality and interests, Stanford is the perfect blend for me. It raises your cultural and political awareness; I think I'll truly grow as a person while there. On the basketball side, they just have Rob Little who will be a senior when I arrive and Matt Haryasz who will be a junior, so I think I'll get meaningful minutes my freshman year. Rob can be a guiding senior for me that first year, and then I can step up my sophomore year."
But beyond all the dimensions and checklists Prowitt considered in viewing Stanford versus other schools, he says that the time he spent with the current Cardinal players was the most impactful part of his visit. "My first visit just let me get an overview of the school and program, but the main thing this time was hanging with the guys," he reveals. "I had a great time getting to know them. They're all quality guys and made me fall in love with the place. The coaches are great and the school is great, but the players honestly are the biggest attraction at Stanford."
The only downside to making this big decision is that Prowitt has to tell a number of disappointed coaches that he is going another direction, and that is not a process he is looking forward to. Prowitt says that when he made his commitment on Thursday, his Potomac School head coach made initial phone calls to the schools to break the bad news. The sought-after junior is next composing lengthy letters of gratitude and explanation to the programs to articulate his decision. "This is the part I am uneasy about," Prowitt admits. "But I talked with Dan Grunfeld during my visit about telling schools no. He said it's part of the business of college basketball, and they will totally understand. That was reassuring to hear."
The impact of this commitment comes on two levels for Stanford basketball. On the most superficial level, the Card get a talented true center with good size and a nicely developed frame. That is not just welcome, but was desperately needed after failing to land any basketball scholarship player taller than 6'5" in the 2003 class (current high school seniors). Stanford needs to pull in no less than three post players in this class, and their numbers at the center position are weaker than their prospects for power forwards. Prowitt's commitment is a big deal, though the push for two more top big men will continue. The more subtle dimension of this last week's events is that Stanford basketball has received the earliest admit and commitment in the program's history. In fact, we at The Bootleg have not learned of any other high school junior who has previously been admitted as early as mid-March during their junior year. "I'm so excited to be a part of history like this," Prowitt says. "It's just an honor to be accepted so early." The review of junior prospective athletes before the completion of their sixth high school semester is a new and rare occurrence at Stanford, and consequently Prowitt's application and acceptance is a landmark event in our eyes. There are few applicants who might hold such an academic profile like Prowitt, with a solid transcript and early high SAT score (1330), but now the coaches recognize that they can go after a recruit this early and complete the battle. In years past, even the strongest students have had to wait until after their junior year to apply to Stanford.
Prowitt still has his official visit that he can take sometime this spring or fall to The Farm, which comes on Stanford's dime and allows him to receive the wining and dining (aka "red carpet treatment") that recruits so enjoy. So look for him to make at least one more trip out West. On top of that, Peter and his younger brother are coming this summer to take part in Stanford's basketball camp. That camp will be one of many travels that the Cardinal commit will make in a whirlwind basketball "offseason" AAU circuit. He will play with the D.C. Blue Devils, and hit several destinations ranging from the Eastern seaboard to Indianapolis to Houston. A notable member of the Blue Devils roster is fellow Stanford post recr