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Many first-rate recruits have Pitt on list of possibilities

| Monday, July 12, 2004

HACKENSACK, N.J. -- A number of potential Pitt recruits fared well at the Reebok ABCD Camp this past week, but none left a bigger impression than Danny Green of St. Mary's High in Long Island.

The 6-foot-5 guard-forward exited the star-studded event Sunday as one of the highest rated campers. He sealed his fate Saturday night by amassing 26 points and 10 rebounds, just hours after piling up 15 points and four boards in an earlier game.

The question surrounding Green, a senior-to-be, and many of the ABCD alums is where they plan to go to college. Eight of the 200-plus campers are considering Pitt, which already has a commitment from senior-to-be Mike Davis of Xaverian High in Brooklyn.

"Pittsburgh is definitely in my top three," said Green, who averaged 18 points and nine rebounds at St. Mary's last season. "My list right now is St. John's, Virginia, Miami, Pittsburgh and Connecticut. Every one of them has offered except Connecticut. I'm not definite who my finalists will be, but I do know Pittsburgh will be one of them."

Like most of the campers at ABCD, Green said Pitt intrigues him because of its recent run of success, and the fact it has built a pipeline into the New York-New Jersey metro area.

Pitt's 2004-05 roster features seven New York natives.

"That's a big plus," said Green, who recently removed North Carolina State from his list. "It's like a second home."

In addition to Green, Pitt is looking closely at Tyrell Biggs, 6-8, of Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, N.J., John Garcia, 6-8, of Brentwood High in Bayshore, N.Y., Ricky Torres, 6-5, of St. Raymond's in the Bronx and Ben McCauley, 6-9, of Yough.

Players such as Curtis Kelly, 6-8, of New York City's Rice High, Ahmad Nivins, 6-9, of St. Anthony's in Jersey City, N.J., and Eugene Harvey, 5-11, of St. Benedict's in Newark, N.J., are also on Pitt's radar -- and vice versa.

Biggs, a powerhouse at 250 pounds, struggled the first day of competition here, but reeled off 14, 15 and 15 points in consecutive games and made it clear that he is one of the more dominating inside forces in the high school game. The publication HoopScoop rates Biggs as the nation's 17th-best prep player in the class of 2005.

Biggs said he's received scholarship offers from Pitt, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia, Duke and Miami, adding that he has a good rapport with Pitt assistant Barry Rohrssen and Connecticut assistant Clyde Vaughn, a Pitt alum.

"I'm feeling comfortable with those guys," said Biggs, who plans to take official visits in the fall. "I just don't know what I'm going to do right now. All the schools have something to offer. I'm going to take some visits and see what I like. I do know I like the Big East and the ACC because of the way they play. But I haven't ruled anybody out."

Torres, ranked 99th by HoopScoop, was among the top outside shooters at the camp. He said he is looking at nine schools, including Pitt, UConn, St. John's, Seton Hall, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Miami, N.C. State and Xavier.

He took an unofficial visit to Pitt in June, saying, "It was a great experience." Pitt could have an inside track on Torres because his high school coach is Oliver Antigua, the younger brother of Pitt's director of basketball operations, Orlando Antigua. Oliver is also a Pitt grad.

"That's a benefit for me, but I don't have an idea right now," Torres said.

One of the sleepers at ABCD was Garcia of Bay Shore, N.Y. The lanky big man hit nearly 70 percent of his shots and outplayed Biggs in their head-to-head matchup. Garcia went 6 of 6 from the floor and finished with 13 points and seven rebounds vs. Biggs, who finished with seven points and eight boards, finishing 1 of 8 from the field.

Garcia said Pitt, DePaul, Providence, Villanova, Seton Hall, Richmond, Virginia Tech, St. John's and Rutgers are all recruiting him. Pitt, according to Garcia, has not offered, but is staying in close contact.

"I'm came to this camp to prove myself," he said. "I didn't get invited until two weeks ago. I got disrespected, but I think I showed what I can do."

McCauley also showed he can play with the nation's top players, and he might have opened a few more eyes this past week. He's considering a number of schools, including Pitt, NC State, UCLA, Xavier, Ohio State and Virginia.

Nivins, who began playing organized basketball just two years ago, has received offers from Clemson, Seton Hall and St. Joe's. Pitt has shown interest, but has yet to offer a scholarship.

"If they did offer, there's a chance I'd take it," Nivins said. "I know they have that New York connection and I like it. I like what Chris Taft did there last year. I wouldn't mind being a part of it."

One player who was of particular interest at ABCD was 6-6, 235-pound Lawrence Wilson of Akron St Vincent's-St. Mary's, the school that produced LeBron James. He plans to accept a football scholarship, but wants to play both sports. Pitt has offered and said he can do both. Ditto Notre Dame. He is waiting on Ohio State.

Wilson recorded 17 sacks last season in football last season, even though he often got triple-teamed. He averaged close to 16 points in basketball.

"I'm still trying to sort it out," said Wilson, who took an unofficial visit of the Pitt football facilities earlier this year. "I like that Pittsburgh is close to Akron, so my family can get there. It's going to be a tough choice. I just want to take my time and do the right thing."

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