Pittsburgh Basketball: Analyzing Panthers 2021 incoming recruiting class – Busting Brackets - Techy Hunters


Monday, August 23, 2021

Pittsburgh Basketball: Analyzing Panthers 2021 incoming recruiting class – Busting Brackets

Pittsburgh Basketball Ithiel Horton Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Basketball’s 2021 recruiting class includes a few solid transfers.

Jeff Capel came to the Pitt Panthers, known as a fantastic recruiter. Capel has done a fantastic job in that department, with each of his first three recruiting classes ranked in the top 50 in the nation according to 247Sports.

The problem the 46-year-old coach is having is keeping the talent in Pittsburgh as six players from his first two classes have transferred.  Justin Champagnie, who left early for the NBA, has signed with the Toronto Raptors on a two-way contract.

Here is a look at the Panthers 2021 recruiting class.

5. Nate Santos

This season, the 6-8 incoming freshman forward could see a little time on the floor due to his shooting prowess, although I’m not expecting him to see much time. It will all come down to his development overall, the lineup Capel uses, and if he can beat out a few players for playing time — William Jeffress and fellow newcomer Chris Payton.

 “Nate is an exciting player with a knack for putting the ball in the basket,” said Capel. “He has shown the ability to score at all three levels in a very good high school basketball league. We like his shooting ability, size and competitiveness. Nate’s desire to be a terrific teammate and impact winning in any way possible will be a great addition to the culture we are building. We look forward to helping him continue to develop in our program.”

The 3-star recruit chose Pitt over Xavier, Creighton, Georgetown, Mississippi, Dayton, Virginia Tech, New Mexico, and East Carolina, among others.

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4. Chris Payton

The 6-7, 215-pound, highly regard athletic junior college transfer is excellent around the rim. He could see some time at all three frontcourt positions (mostly 3 or 4) as he is an outstanding offensive rebounder and fantastic shot blocker. He has a soft touch and does have the ability to knock down an occasional 3-pointer.

 “Chris is a terrific athlete who has used his time at the junior college level to develop into a high major prospect,” Capel said. “We are excited about the competitiveness, toughness and ability to play above the rim we have seen from his play and believe he will fit in well with the team we are building. Chris has the ability to play multiple positions on the floor and impact the game in a variety of ways.”

Prior to choosing Pitt, the Bloomington (IL) native held offers from Texas A&M and Missouri. Payton averaged 12.5 points and 10 rebounds per game while shooting 56.9% from the field, 71.1% from the free-throw line, and 33% from long distance for Indian Hills Community College.

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