Pitt's switch to ACC already paying dividends

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Pitt's move to the Atlantic Coast Conference was expected to open new recruiting territory for the Panthers. It just wasn't expected to yield a prospect so soon.

Josh Newkirk, a 6-foot-2 point guard from Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, N.C., gave coach Jamie Dixon a verbal commitment Wednesday. He will enroll at Pitt in the spring and will join the Panthers for their first season in the ACC next fall.

Newkirk is the second high school senior to give Pitt a verbal commitment.

Mike Young, a 6-foot-8 power forward from St. Benedict's Prep in New Jersey, was the first in early August.

Newkirk is the No. 119 prospect in the Rivals.com top 150. He is a senior and visited Pitt over the weekend. He had been scheduled to visit Georgia Tech this weekend and Memphis the next, but canceled those trips.

"There was no need to wait," Newkirk said Wednesday night. "I had a great time on my visit and I have a great relationship with coach Dixon."

Newkirk will be one class behind freshman point guard James Robinson, but he doesn't view that as a problem. Dixon sold him on the idea that both will play, possibly together at times.

"I can do things he can't do and he can do things I can't do," Newkirk said.

Newkirk is a quick and athletic guard and is at his best in the open court.

When asked if he would have committed to Pitt if the Panthers were still in the Big East, Newkirk said: "I don't know. That would have been something to consider."

One thing Newkirk will be looking forward to doing is going home to play some conference games against North Carolina, North Carolina State, Duke and Wake Forest.

"I looked at those schools a little, but I feel like they overlooked me," he said.

"I can't wait to go back to play those games."

pittsports

Ray Fittipaldo: rfittipaldo@post-gazette.com and Twitter @rayfitt1.


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