Duquesne receives commitment from high-scoring guard
You've heard of B.J. and T.J• Say hello to P.J.
P.J. Torres, a 6-foot-4 combo guard who averaged 21.2 points, 9.3 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game for New Rochelle (N.Y.) High School, has given Duquesne University a verbal commitment for the 2011-12 season, the third player to commit to the Dukes.
That Torres is known as "P.J." gives Duquesne three players with similar monikers. Junior B.J. Monteiro and freshman T.J. McConnell, the Atlantic 10 Conference rookie of the year, were starters last season.
"I'm very impressed with what they've accomplished since coach (Ron) Everhart came there," Torres said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
"The coaching staff has worked hard to get the program to where it is now. I'm walking into a great position and I'm confident I can contribute right away."
Oddities aside, Everhart is hoping the addition of Torres will give the Dukes another dependable option in the team's athletic style of play. Duquesne's frenetic pace is defined by full-court pressure defense for much of the time.
"P.J.'s a genius on the court," New Rochelle coach Bill Murphy said. "He's brilliant. He's a unique kid, a lovable kid." Torres said he's proud of his versatility -- he's a dangerous scorer, rebounder and assists man. Murphy marveled at it, saying Torres "gets the ball in people's hands and does things with the basketball that others can't."
The addition of Torres gives Duquesne perhaps the best backcourt in the A-10. Besides McConnell, other returning guards are junior Eric Evans, sophomore Sean Johnson and freshmen Mike Talley and Jerry Jones.
Evans was a starter for the Dukes two years ago before suffering an injury that slowed his progress last season; Talley started along-side McConnell, giving Duquesne an all-freshman backcourt; and Johnson was a top reserve capable of going on periodic scoring sprees.
Torres and Murphy credited Duquesne assistant coach Steve Hall for tenacious recruiting. Torres said it was the deciding factor in his final decision.
"Coach Hall stayed consistent throughout the year," Torres said. "Some coaches wouldn't call for a while, but coach Hall was there from Day 1. Once he started recruiting me, you could tell the difference."
Said Murphy: "I can't always say I trust every coach, but I have to say I'd trust Steve Hall. Everyone knows what an amazing job he did."
Torres, who chose Duquesne over College of Charleston, Hofstra and Rhode Island, joins 6-9 Cheikh Fall, from Barstow (Calif.) College, and 6-7 Shakore Grant, from Malvern (Pa.) Great Valley High School, as verbal commitments to the Dukes.
College coaches are prohibited to discuss recruits until a signed letter of intent is received during the spring period, which begins today.