The Pitt basketball program hosted Blair Academy (NJ) shooting guard Matt Turner (6-foot-4 inches, 180 pounds) this weekend. Turner, originally from Trumbull High School in Connecticut prior to transferring to Blair Academy, had a reputation as a tremendous scorer with a high basketball IQ and motor. It appears that Pitt head basketball coach Kevin Stallings and staff agrees with that assessment. Turner was officially offered a scholarship on Saturday.
“Pitt has been on Matt since the fall. Coach (Kevin) Sutton was recruiting him at Georgetown. He goes back fairly far with Matt,” said Blair Academy head basketball coach Joe Mantegna. “Matt is a three level scorer. So he can score from the three, he shoots a very high percentage from the three. He’s one of the best scorers I have ever coached at Blair Academy or the college level. He can score the midrange exceptionally well and he has a whole array of finishes around the rim. Matt Turner is a scorer.”
Coach Mantegna was asked to elaborate on Turner’s recruiting process to date and he stated, “St. Joes has done a lot with him. St. Louis has done a lot with him. George Washington has done a lot with him. He has offers from all of them. Providence and Butler have expressed strong interest. Matt has solid offers from most of the Atlantic 10 and significant high major interest.”
Rutgers, Seton Hall and Quinnipiac were the first programs to offer Turner a scholarship.
“I exchanged several text messages with Matt and he’s pretty excited about Pitt. I have yet to speak with him because I was speaking at a tournament.”
Turner may be a scorer, but Coach Mantegna was asked about his overall game, in particular, defense. “We’re a defense first program. He’s a kid that made a huge jump defensively and I expect another huge jump this year,” he said. “He takes great pride in his defense and his play making. He’s not just a rogue scorer. Matt does things to make his team win.”
“Matt is an unbelievable gym rat. He really sets the tone for our program for his willingness to put in work outside of what we do as a program,” he said. “Matt is a terrifically selfless teammate that’s very well liked. Matt is the guy that’s always sacrificed for the betterment of the team. If he played at a high school that wasn’t a top 50 high school in the country like we are. He could go anywhere and score 30 points a game. At a school like Blair Academy, we have multiple guys in double figures and he’s not a stat chaser.”
Matt Turner may not be the only players the Panthers offer a scholarship to at Blair Academy. Pitt is also highly interested in 6-foot-11 inch center Deng Gak.
Harry G. Psaros can be found on Twitter at @PittGuru
// Featured image: The Petersen Events Center by Flickr user sabreguy29 | CC BY 2.0