Kevin Stallings hosted a trio of 2018 players on official visits last weekend: Saint James (MD) Saint James School forward Bryce Golden (6-foot-9 inches, 240 pounds), Washington (DC) Sidwell Friends forward Saddiq Bey (6-foot-7 inches, 196 pounds) and College of Southern Idaho guard Danya Kingsby (6-foot-1 inches, 170 pounds).
Golden verbally committed to the Panthers in June. Kingsby joined Golden in the class of 2018 when he opted to commit to the Panthers last Friday. Pittsburgh Sports Now reached out to Golden to gain his perspective on his official visit.
“It was definitely a fun weekend. It was the first time I met the whole team since the beginning of June. It was fun,” said Golden. “I had a different perspective heading into the weekend because I was already committed but I really got along with the team well. Danya (Kingsby) had a good time. Obviously he ended up committing and I feel that Saddiq (Bey) had a great time and Pitt looks like they will be in it until the end.”
“This visit was different. It felt like I was a player on the team instead of a recruit. Honestly, me, coach Stallings, and a lot of the other assistants coaches talked about understanding what he had to do to get people to want to come (to Pitt),” he said. “It was a kind of cool experience. I was kind of was being treated a little bit differently, I enjoyed it being able to see what it’s like having recruits on campus. It’s a learning experience. I enjoyed it a lot.”
Golden chose Pitt over Maryland, Penn State, Princeton, George Washington, Richmond, N.C. State, Wofford and Temple.
The standout for the Team Takeover AAU program remind many of former Panther power forward Donatas Zavackas. He’s a skilled four with a big, solid frame. Bryce is a physical bruiser that can score in the post but he has an excellent stroke from the 3-point line as well. The Panthers recently added power forward Kene Chukwuka to their roster and Golden is a perfect complement to Chukwuka’s European skill set. He solidifies the position for years to come.
“Throughout the earlier part of my career, I was kind of known as that physical guy down low. I’m not trying to completely change my game, but I think I’ve been able to make my game more versatile, being able to stretch the floor, put it on the ground and hit open shots,” he said. “I really think that’s been big for me and that’s going to be big in the ACC taking advantage of the mismatches. Obviously, there’s going to be huge centers and power forward that you can’t post up all of the time so being able to take them outside and move them around will be key. It’s simply understanding what the right play to make is and just making shots.”
Golden’s host for the official visit was freshman guard Khameron Davis. He was able to participate in all of the weekend’s activities except for one. “(The basketball team) played pick up and Danya and Saddiq played with them, but I actually injured my ankle two weeks ago,” he said. “It’s basically back to 100% but I figured it would probably be best to give it rest over the weekend.”
Golden was the first 2018 player to commit to Pitt. He’s more than prepared to assume a leadership role on and off the court moving forward. Part of that leadership role involves selling the basketball program. “Actually, it’s funny. My mom always was telling me if basketball didn’t work out, I could be a salesman,” he replied. “That’s kind of what I’m looking forward to with the guys, obviously, coming in and out over my next four years there, being able to promote the brand as best I can. Obviously, we’ve got to put the work in to back it up too, but I definitely think we can do that for sure.”
Golden was asked about his preparation for the upcoming season. He replied, “I’m kind of the polishing my perimeter game, getting more comfortable out there, because obviously, like I said, my coaches are big on trying to get me play that position. I’m going to play it next year. I’m going to be a stretch-four that makes plays for other people so that’s what I’m really looking forward to do right now, just being comfortable on the perimeter, basically for the whole game.”
“I had a great time on the official visit. I can’t wait to get to Pitt.”
Harry Psaros can be found on Twitter at @PittGuru
The Sports Now network is growing! Check out our new site PittsburghHockeyNow.com for the best Pittsburgh Penguins news and opinion.