Pitt men’s and women’s basketball teams sign 2017 recruits


Pitt men's basketball head coach Kevin Stallings previewed the Panthers' first true road game of the season at Maryland Tuesday night. Wenhao Wu | Senior Staff Photographer

By Steve Rotstein | Sports Editor

Even though the 2016-2017 basketball seasons are just days away, both Pitt men’s basketball head coach Kevin Stallings and women’s basketball head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio solidified their rosters for next year on Thursday.

Stallings officially inked four players to the Panthers’ 2017 recruiting class on National Early Signing Day: Terrell Brown, Marcus Carr, Aaron Thompson and Jared Wilson-Frame.

Meanwhile, McConnell-Serio unveiled the three additions to the women’s team’s 2017 class later Thursday afternoon: Jaala Henry, Cara Judkins and Pika Rodriguez.

Starting with the additions to the men’s team, here’s how the recruits break down:

Brown, a 6-foot-9, 225-pound power forward from Barrington, Rhode Island, is a three-star recruit, according to Rivals, who verbally committed to join the Panthers on Sept. 4. He will finish up his high school career at the Tilton School in Tilton, New Hampshire.

“Terrell is a guy that we identified in April, right after we got the job, and made him a priority,” Stallings said in a press release. “We really like his upside … He is a guy that can come in and really add some athleticism and skill to our frontcourt.”

Carr is a 6-foot-2, 160-pound point guard from Toronto who verbally committed to Pitt on Oct. 26. He plays for Montverde Academy in Montverde, Florida, and he chose the Panthers over offers from schools such as Baylor, Cincinnati and Stallings’ former team, Vanderbilt. He is also a three-star recruit, according to Rivals.

“Marcus is a guy that I had recruited while at Vanderbilt,” Stallings said in the release. “He is a guard who is equally as good with or without the ball. He is really good at making other people better with his passing but is also a very good shot maker.”

Thompson is a 6-foot-2, 175-pound point guard from Fairfax, Virginia. Thompson, another three-star prospect, according to Rivals, plays for Paul VI Catholic High School — the same school that produced Pitt true freshman forward Corey Manigault. He chose the Panthers in May over offers from several Power Five schools, including Miami, Vanderbilt and defending national champion Villanova.

“Aaron is another guy that I had recruited at Vanderbilt,” Stallings said in the release. “He’s the kind of competitor that I want to have in our program. He is an elite defensive player with elite toughness.”

Unlike the other three high school recruits, Wilson-Frame is making the transition to Pitt from Northwest Florida State College in Niceville, Florida. Wilson-Frame, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound shooting guard, averaged 15.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game last season and is the No. 3 junior college recruit in the 2017 class, according to 247Sports.

“When we assessed the needs and size of this class, [Wilson-Frame] was one of the first junior college players we thought about and called on,” Stallings said in the release. “He is a wing player with a lot of ability and great physicality … He has extraordinary range on his jump shot as well as the athleticism to finish at the goal.”

With the additions to the women’s team, McConnell-Serio took a big step toward strengthening the Panthers’ frontcourt by adding three forwards to the team’s roster for next year.

“The 2017 class fills immediate needs for our program,” McConnell-Serio said in a press release. “Pika, Jaala and Cara provide us with depth and instant offense … We are thrilled to welcome them to our Pitt family.

Henry is a 6-foot-3 forward from Riverdale, Maryland. Henry, who helped lead National Christian Academy to a perfect 31-0 season in 2015-2016, is the No. 20 forward prospect in the country and received a 90 scout’s grade, according to ESPN.

“Jaala Henry fits our system both offensively and defensively,” McConnell-Serio said in the release. “She will allow a high-possession game and has the potential to impact our interior game immediately.”

Judkins is another 6-foot-3 forward out of Bethesda, Maryland. Like Henry, she too is ranked as the No. 20 forward in the country and received a 90 scout’s grade from ESPN.

“Cara Judkins is a true center with exceptional hands and footwork,” McConnell-Serio said in the release. “Her strength and versatility on the block make her a constant threat.”

Rodriguez is a 5-foot-11 forward from Hartford, Connecticut. She helped lead Capital Prep Magnet School to a 25-4 record in 2015-2016 while averaging 16.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and one steal per game.

“Pika Rodriguez can flat-out shoot the ball and with deep range,” McConnell-Serio said in the release. “She impacts the game at both ends with her size, ability to score and great instincts.”

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