Front Line Addition

West Virginia was looking for muscle to add to its front line in the class of 2009. Dan Jennings will provide it.

"I'm a natural inside," six foot, nine inch, 240-pound Dan Jennings told shortly after committing to West Virginia. "I like to clean up around the basket, and my strengths are in rebounding and blocking shots. I want to work on other aspect of my game too, but those things are what I'm best at. I'm a finisher."

Jennings, a native of Staten Island in New York, played last year at Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va. The move was critical for the big frontliner, who admitted he was wasting his talents at home.

"I was up to 270 pounds and was just eating and not working on anything," Jennings said frankly. "I wasn't working in class either. Oak Hill changed my life. It's in the middle of nowhere, so there's not much to do but work. I started working hard in the weight room and in the classroom, and I'm back on track now. I figured that since there weren't any other distractions, I needed to put my full attention on basketball and academics, and I'm back on point."

The past season was Jennings' senior year, and he has decided not to return to Oak Hill. Instead, he will play at either South Kent or St. Thomas More, both outstanding Connecticut prep schools, this fall.

"I'll take a trip up there soon and visit them both and see which one fits me best, and then I will decide," the well-spoken Jennings said. "I'll play there for a year, then be at West Virginia in 2009.

"This was a great decision for me," said Jennings of his call for WVU. "There aren't a whole lot of bigs there, and they will really need some inside players in the future. By the time I get there, I should have the chance to help early on."

Jennings knows it won't be easy, however. The New York native is obviously quite attuned to the Big East, and knows the type of play that's required to succeed in the rugged lanes of the nation's best and deepest basketball conference. While he's excited about that challenge, he also knows that he will also have to continue to improve to continue the dominating play he has shown on this year's summer tournament circuit.

"I'm going to work on my footwork and my handle, and also work on my 15-17 foot jumpers," Jennings said. "Those are the things that Coach Huggins told me I need to improve on, so I'll be concentrating on those this year."

Stay tuned to for more on Jennings, including the reasons he chose West Virginia and the influences other New york area players had on his decision.

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