The big local basketball news of the day is that former Southmoreland forward Brandon Stone is one step closer to making his college decision.
Today, Stone announced on Twitter his finalists, which includes three teams from Pennsylvania.
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After making that announcement, Pittsburgh Sports Now talked with Stone about his choices and when he could make a final decision.
Aside from naming his finalists, Stone unveiled some other big news to PSN. After considering graduating in the Class of 2019, Stone tells us that it’s now very likely he’ll re-classify to 2018. The only thing that would get him to change his mind is if a new team gets involved in his recruitment.
Obviously, Stone now feels he’s physically ready to compete next year in a major Division I program.
”I playing with a higher motor than I did a year ago. Last year I didn’t play as hard because I was playing against weaker competition and knew I could dominate. I know if I try and do that this year I’ll get embarrassed,” said Stone.
”I run the floor and play more physical than I did last year. I’ve been getting in the weight room more and am a lot stronger. I also feel I’ve made a lot of positive strides defensively too.”
Stone now has his focus on Pitt, Duquesne, Penn State and South Carolina. He explained why each team made his cut.
South Carolina: “There’s not many coaches out there that are better than Frank Martin. I’ve had a great relationship with their staff since the fall when they first offered me. They’ve made me a priority and have let me know often how much they want me and how I’d fit in with them.”
Penn State: “Coach Chambers has been doing a great job out there. Penn State plays in one of the top conferences in the country. They have a great young team right now and have a lot of sophomores and juniors that will be back next year.”
Duquesne: “Coach Dambrot is one of the best coaches out there as well. He had 13 consecutive seasons of 20+ wins at Akron and he’s going to make Duquesne a winning program too. Also, he’s had a staff that’s been with him a long time and that’s important. They’re also a very young team and have a lot of good players sitting out yet they’re still winning games.”
Pitt: “Coach Stallings does a great job with skilled fours and big men like me. Talking with Coach Cage and Coach Sutton they have a lot of plans for me to come in, get me started on a strength program and center the offense around me. They sent me a text the other day about NBA guys that have played for Coach Chambers, Coach Martin and Coach Stallings and Coach Stallings has more than the both of them combined, that’s big-time.”
The elephant in the room is the season that Pitt is currently having and the talk from fans that will prevent Stone from seriously considering Pitt. I asked him about that and will it play a factor in his final decision.
”The losing they’re going through this year is understandable because they’re playing eight freshman and there’s times they’ve had five freshman on the floor at the same time. Those freshman are having to play in one of the toughest conferences in the country and against teams that are national title contenders. The losing is to be expected with that amount of youth and really no experience on the roster,” said Stone.
While the losing isn’t appealing to anyone, what is attractive is being the potential go to guy on your hometown team.
”I can do so many different things with the ball in my hands. I’m not a one-dimensional player, I can score in the post, I can dribble, I can shoot and can defend in the post. I also believe that when I have the ball in the post that I’m a really good passer as well.”
Now that Stone is down to four teams, he plans on making some official visits.
Stone tells us he’ll visit Duquesne on March 4 and will then visit Pitt and Penn State when he’s home from school. After that, he’s going to make an official down to South Carolina.
Then it will be time for the talented big man to make his final decision.