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Gorman: Pitt makes its move with Kiski School 7-footer

| Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, 9:20 p.m.

Satchel Pierce was surprised when Pitt's Jamie Dixon and Marquette's Buzz Williams came to see him Tuesday at The Kiski School in Saltsburg.

“They got to see Satchel for themselves,” Kiski coach Daryn Freedman said, “and that was the seller.”

Suddenly, the 7-foot, 250-pound center had made a monstrous jump. Barely a mid-major recruit a year ago, he now has ACC and Big East scholarship offers. Pierce said Pitt, Miami, Marquette, Texas Tech and James Madison are his top five.

“He's a top-10 high school center in the country right now, with the things he can do,” said Freedman, who previously was an assistant in the NBA and at Northeastern and Duquesne. “He's come a long way.”

Never mind that Pierce isn't on Rivals.com's radar, and is the nation's No. 33 center by ESPN.

Pierce, who turns 19 next month, helped himself by reclassifying and repeating his junior year after the Akron native transferred from St. Vincent-St. Mary's last year.

“I think that's helped me mature more,” Pierce said, “and it'll help me develop my game better and get it to the speed of the college game faster than if I didn't reclassify last year.”

Freedman said Pierce knows “every post move in the book,” and is most impressed with what a quick learner he is.

“Every time I'd teach him a move, within five minutes he'd get it. Then you'd see him that night, using it in a game,” Freedman said. “The kid's got a lot of work to do still — he's not a finished product — but he will be ready to play next year.”

The turning point, however, came when Pierce was invited to the NBA Players Association Top 100 camp this past June.

Pierce performed well, but was told he had commitment issues when it came to his conditioning.

Since then, Pierce has been awaking at 5:30 a.m. for three-a-day workouts. He lifts weights, does team conditioning and plays pick-up games after school.

“It made me realize the amount of work that I needed to put in if I wanted to get better and be the best I can be,” Pierce said. “I had to put more dedication to it.”

Pierce said he wants to pick a school based not so much on location but where he will be a good fit and best develop.

He plans to visit Pitt, possibly this weekend, but wants to make more official visits before choosing a college.

I really like their program,” Pierce said. “They develop their bigs really well, and it's a winning program. Being in the ACC helps a lot, and I like what Coach Dixon is doing with his team.”

We will soon see if Pierce, once the seller, is sold on Pitt.

Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at kgorman@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.

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