In early May, the Pitt Panthers lost an assistant coach who was a vital recruiter for Jamie Dixon. Barry Rohrssen decided to leave the program and join John Calipari and his Kentucky Wildcats. This was the second time Dixon has lost one of his assistants to Calipari. Kentucky targeted Rohrssen after another former Pitt assistant coach, Orlando Antigua, accepted the head coaching job at South Florida.
Rohrssen, also known as “Slice,” was a Pitt assistant for seven years from 1999-2006, and he was known for building a Pittsburgh to New York recruiting pipeline. He helped the Panthers win three regular season Big East Championships, three Sweet 16 appearances, and a 2003 Big East Tournament Championship.
Rohrssen was responsible for the commitment of 5-star shooting guard Mustapha Heron in the Class of 2016, so it will be interesting to see if he holds to his Pitt verbal over time.
On Monday, June 16th, Dixon hired UMass assistant coach Marlon “Smoke” Williamson, who has recruiting ties in the Midwest region.
As for an update on my previous recruiting report, some changes have taken place in the past few months:
The projected number of commits and players on the Pitt roster were over the scholarship limit, so a transfer or change of heart by some players was expected.
The Panthers lost a few players who never stepped on the court in a Pitt uniform.
After the departure of Rohrssen, it was announced in early May that four-star guard Detrick Mostella was heading to Tennessee instead of Pitt. Described as a very athletic scorer, I felt that Mostella was someone the Panthers could certainly use, especially with the loss of senior guard Lamar Patterson, who was recently drafted in the second round of the NBA Draft (48th overall) by the Milwaukee Bucks.
Aside from Mostella, it was reported last week by CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein that incoming freshman center Shaquille Doorson had decommitted from Pitt and plans to enroll at Rutgers. There are reports that Doorson was actually released from his LOI in January, which would explain Pitt landing a commitment from JUCO center Tyrone Haughton in early March. Haughton and local product Cameron Johnson from OLSH signed for the Pitt Panthers in middle April.
Here’s a look at the incoming Pitt basketball recruits for the Class of 2014:
- C (Junior College transfer( (Scout NR) (Rivals NR, 3*) (ESPN 20, 4*) Tyrone Haughton (Iowa Western) Council Bluffs, IA, 6-9/250
- PF (Scout NR, 3*) (Rivals NR, 3*) (ESPN 68, 2*) Ryan Luther (Hampton HS) Allison Park, PA, 6-7/190
- PF (Junior College transfer (Scout NR) (Rivals NR, 3*) Sheldon Jeter (Polk HS) Winter Haven, FL, 6-7/220
- G (Scout NR, NR) (Rivals NR, 3*) (ESPN NR, NR) Cameron Johnson (Our Lady Sacred Heart HS) Coraopolis, PA, 6-6/185
All four players have signed their letters of intent and will play next season.
Jeter, a Beaver Falls, Pa., native, decided to transfer from Vanderbilt, but was denied to go to Pitt this year. He will be eligible to play the next three seasons for Pitt.
If Pitt can hold onto the highly-ranked incoming recruits for future classes, look for the Panthers to be a Top 10 squad the next few seasons.
Here’s a look at the current Class of 2015:
- SG (Scout 24, 4*) (Rivals 4*) (ESPN 5, 4*, ESPN Top 100) Damon Wilson (Our Savior New American School) Centereach, NY, 6-4/180
And here is the current Class of 2016:
- SF (Scout 5, 5*) (Rivals 4*) (ESPN 5*, ESPN Top 60) Mustapha Heron (Wilbraham And Monson Academy) Wilbraham, MA, 6-4/185
- SG (Scout 14, 3*) (Rivals 4*) (ESPN 4*, ESPN Top 60) Maverick Rowan (Lincoln Park Performing Arts) Midland, PA, 6-5/175
Brett is a Pitt staff writer at City of Champions. Follow him on Twitter @BJoseph21