Mark Alstork, a graduate transfer from Wright State, is a player Pittsburgh Sports Now has been following since he expressed interest in spending his final year of collegiate eligibility at Pitt. The 6-foot-5-inch, 190-pound guard visited the University of Pittsburgh this weekend to assess the men’s basketball program in person. Pittsburgh Sports Now spoke with Alstork Sunday afternoon to learn how his visit went, and where the Panthers currently stand in his recruiting.
“It was phenomenal,” Alstork said, regarding his visit. “It was a great experience. Very knowledgeable coaches – great, great people. Not only are they great coaches and know what they’re talking about basketball wise, they’re great people to be around. They don’t make me feel weird, or nervous, or skeptical of doing anything, or forcing me to do anything that I didn’t want to do. Just real, real good coaches to be around, and nice people to be around. I think the visit went real well.”
Alstork’s visit this weekend was short, but he managed to see everything needed in order to properly assess Pitt as a potential destination. As he was presented with what Kevin Stallings and the Pitt men’s basketball program can provide its players, he maintained a business-first approach to how he received the information.
“I worked out a couple of times. My biggest thing was working out a couple times. I went over presentations with the strength and conditioning [coach]. I went over presentations with Coach [Matt] Woodley – the guy that just came from the NBA – about my numbers and what it will take to get there (the NBA), and where I’m at and where I need to be. Just a lot X’s and O’s stuff; not really about me seeing campus or me seeing how the night life is – you know, typical freshman things. It’s more of a business decision for me, so it was more of business-type meetings with the coaches.”
Mark views his transfer as a business decision, since his goal is to find the program that can best prepare him for a career in the NBA. When Pittsburgh Sports Now last spoke with Alstork, he was even considering a potential jump to the NBA in place of playing his senior season. However, after receiving feedback on where he projects in the 2017 NBA draft, a move to the pros is no longer a factor at this time.
“I received feedback,” he said. “I think it’s best for me to come back my final year and basically continue to get better, continue to work hard, continue to grind [and] continue to prove myself more and more so that next year I can be in a better position.”
Alstork met with many members of the Pitt basketball coaching staff this weekend. Coach Matt Woodley provided Alstork with NBA-related advice and professional player comparisons. Strength and conditioning coach, Garry Christopher, informed Alstork of how he can transform himself physically for play in the ACC. Dan Cage, who Alstork labeled as a “remarkable host,” continued developing his already stellar relationship with the potential Panther. And of course, head coach Kevin Stallings offered a presentation to Alstork, which included apprising the guard of the role he would be expected to fill at Pitt should he choose the Panthers.
“He was just saying with the ability I have, just coming in and actually being a leader and being able for the younger guys coming up in the program to have somebody to see how things are done. … Just being a leader. Being somebody you can count on each and every day.
Alstork plans to announce his decision on May 20th. In the weeks leading towards his decision, Mark will visit Georgetown, Illinois, Louisville, LSU and South Carolina. With five visits remaining before May 20th, Alstork revealed that this weekend has provided him with an early leader.
“Definitely Pittsburgh,” said Alstork. “Just because I went and visited Pittsburgh – definitely they’re at the top of the list right now. Like I told [Pitt’s coaches] at the end of the meeting, I gave these guys my word that I was going to come to a visit, so that’s what I’m going to do. But as of right now, Pittsburgh is ahead of them. They’ve been loyal since I got my release papers. … They did a phenomenal job on the visit, and they’ve got some things that you really can’t turn down.
I’m going to go on the rest of these visits and see how things turn out, because I haven’t seen what other people have to offer yet. But as of right now, Pitt is going to be a hard school to turn down.”
Alstork averaged 19.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game in 2016/2017, earning first-team All-Horizon League honors. Kevin Stallings and his staff will hope to maintain their place atop Alstork’s list through the next two weeks, as he could provide scoring and leadership for a new-look team that will be seeking both of those qualities next season.
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