The last time Pitt got a player from Seton Hall Prep, he changed the course of the program. Now coach Jamie Dixon and his staff are going back to that school for their third recruit for the class of 2008.
Ashton Gibbs, a 6-foot-2 point and shooting guard from Seton Hall Prep in New Jersey, gave the Panthers a verbal commitment late Friday. He is the first Seton Hall Prep player Pitt has signed since Brandin Knight, one of the top point guards in school history and now a member of Dixon's staff.
"I've known Brandin since I was a little kid," Gibbs said. "We're connected through Seton Hall Prep and him being in Pittsburgh was a factor. Brandin did very well there and I want to follow in his footsteps."
Gibbs, who took an unofficial visit to Pitt last fall, chose the Panthers over Seton Hall, Virginia and Virginia Tech. He was first recruited by former Pitt assistant Mike Rice, then by new assistant Tom Herrion once Rice accepted the head coaching position at Robert Morris.
Gibbs, who says his strong suits are his shooting ability and ballhandling, will sign his national letter of intent in the November signing period. He joins two other recruits in the 2008 recruiting class -- point guard Travon Woodall and small forward Nasir Robinson.
Gibbs is ranked as the No. 145 player in the '08 high school class by Rivals.com. Robinson is ranked No. 85, Woodall No. 120.
"I chose Pitt because of the academic tradition and the basketball teams they've had," Gibbs said. "And I had a bond with the coaches that I liked."
Knight, who served as video coordinator for Dixon last season, will be promoted to director of basketball operations. An official announcement is expected this week.
Ray Fittipaldo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1230.