When the early period ended, Pittsburgh
coach Jamie Dixon received letters-of-intent from point guard Isaiah Epps
(Plainfield, N.J./Hargrave Military Academy/Plainfield H.S.), forward J.J. Moore
(Brentwood, N.Y./South Kent Academy, Conn.) and guard Cameron Wright
(Cleveland, Ohio/Benedictine H.S.).
The trio will enroll at Pitt in August, 2010, but the Panthers only have two prospective spots open with senior guards Jermaine Dixon
and Chase Adams
leaving the program after this season.
"That's something, obviously, that will be addressed when the time comes,'' Jamie Dixon said. "That's how it works. We know the rules, so we're in good position on that. (But) it's a very good class, and I think we got three very good kids from winning programs. So, I'm excited about them. There's no question.''
Epps, a 6-foot-2, 170-pounder is a left-handed combination guard. He is described as a quick, agile point guard with elite level speed who will provide a new element to the Pitt program. One of the nation's most prolific passers, Epps is a pass-first player who makes his teammates better.
Epps has been compared to former Pitt point guard Levance Fields
for his unique passing ability, shifty ball-handling skills and spot-up shooting in clutch situations. Epps can shoot the 3, get to the hoop or knock down pull-up jumpers. On the defensive end, he's very creative with long arms that enable him to get steals. He is an intense, hard-working player with good speed, athleticism and court vision.
"Epps is a guy, we knew we needed a point guard in that class, and he's the guy we wanted,'' Dixon said. "He's a true point with a great feel for the game and a great understanding, but he just needs to grow and mature physically. But that's one of the things that will come in time.''
Moore, a 6-6, 200-pound forward who's stock soared this summer as his skill set improved to match his explosiveness. A good teammate and leader, Moore has emerged as one of the nation's most complete wing prospects. A big, aggressive, athletic wing with an impressive game, Moore excels at attacking the rim, is a versatile scorer and stellar on-ball defender.
Moore is an explosive leaper and streaky shooter with improving range who has good size for the perimeter. He has good hands and can catch off penetration and convert threes. Flying under the radar for the majority of his high school career, Moore was discovered by major NCAA Division I programs this summer with outstanding performances in Philadelphia and North Carolina
"His high school coach is a friend, so we've seen a lot of him,'' Dixon said. "We were on him early, and he just blew up over the summer. Some guys wear down as the summer goes on, but he just got stronger. ... I've always loved guys like that. And we like J.J. a lot.''
Wright is a 6-4, 195-pound guard described as a complete package as a player who fits perfectly into Pitt's style of play. He is physical and competitive, can defend and rebound in traffic, runs the floor, has a good mid-range game and his shot is improving. Wright is an athletic wing with size who slashes to the basket for lay-ups on north-south drives.
Wright is explosive and aggressive off the dribble and in the open court, attacks the rim with his slashing ability or power drives smaller players. He also has a presence on the offensive glass, is agile, has proven to be a tough defender and his athleticism is good. Wright plays with energy and urgency on both ends of the floor and will be a capable multiple position defender in Pitt's defensive system. Wright is also an honor roll student who has been said to work as hard in the classroom as he does on the floor.
"Cameron is a guy who's very athletic, but he's a young senior,'' Dixon said. "So, he'll continue to get better, but he can pass and he can defense. I think he'll shooting will improve. So, I think he's going to be a very versatile player. His program is achieving the most success in school history, so you have to like guys who turn programs into winners.''
Pitt (3-0) plays Wichita State
(2-0) Monday night at the Sprint Center. It's semifinal game of the O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic. Iowa
and No. 3 Texas
are in the other semi. The winners and losers play Tuesday night.
The Pitt men's basketball team has over-recruited the past few seasons, and this year is no different with three players signing early for the 2010 class.
Panthers sign three players in early period.
Isaiah Epps drives to the hoop.