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Pitt Officially Signs Its 2011 Basketball Recruiting Class

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With little fanfare on Wednesday, Pitt basketball officially signed the four members to make up its 2011 recruiting class. And with equally little fanfare, head coach Jamie Dixon described the new recruits:

"Good size, good athleticism," coach Jamie Dixon said. "Obviously, we were focusing on size this year. They are good kids. They are going to get better. They work hard, and they play hard. That's why guys get better. These four kids will definitely improve. I am definitely excited about them."

Good size? Good athleticism? Good kids? Well, there's certainly a lot of 'good' about this class. Not exactly awe-inspiring stuff.

So what about the players? Well, Pitt inked a total of four, but none are ranked highly by most accounts. None of the four appear in Rivals' or's list of top 100 prospects, none are rated better than three-star recruits by either Rivals or Scout.

Pitt's four recruits are center Malcolm Gilbert, PF Jaylen Bond, SG/SF Durand Johnson, and PG/SG John Johnson. So what's there to like about this class?

Well, the 6'11" Gilbert is Pitt's first true center to sign with the team since 2007 since Gary McGhee did. He'll give the team some much-needed depth in a frontcourt that will lose McGhee next season.

Bond is rated as the No. 148 player overall and No. 27 power forward by Rivals. He averaged more than 18 points per game last season and was actually an ESPN top 100 recruit previously before slipping a bit.

There's the athletic John Johnson. Johnson may only be a three-star recruit, but he reportedly had offers from some big-time schools, including UCLA and Villanova. Ray Mernagh of the NBE Basketball Report likens him to a quicker Scottie Reynolds. Like Bond, he also was previously an ESPN top 100 player.

And Durand Johnson may be the best of the bunch. He's rated No. 115 overall and the No. 25 small forward by Rivals. Johnson had offers from more than 20 schools including Georgetown, Louisville, Maryland, and Xavier. He's yet another Baltimore kid who Pitt has had over the last few years (e.g. Jermaine Dixon, Chase Adams, and Aron Nwankwo) and's Dave Telep calls him a scorer.

This class may not have the superstars that 2012's does with Khem Birch and Steven Adams, but it again looks like Pitt has plucked some under-the-radar type guys that can come in and be ready to play.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.