In relative quiet, the Pitt basketball program landed a local recruit.
Tonight, 2018 point guard Curtis Aiken Jr. made a verbal commitment to Jeff Capel and the Panthers.
Aiken father, Curtis Aiken, Sr. was a Pitt great from 1983-87 when he scored over 1,200 points and led the Panthers to a Big East championship in 1987-88.
The former North Allegheny point guard will be a member of Pitt’s Class of 2018. With Pitt’s lack of depth at the point guard position, Aiken will have a chance to earn valuable minutes.
Before suffering an injury this season, Aiken had scholarship offers from the previous Pitt staff, TCU and Tennessee.
Tonight, PSN had a chance to catch up with Aiken, Sr. to get his reaction to his son following in his footsteps by becoming a Pitt Panther.
“I’m extremely happy,” Aiken, Sr. “I don’t think he knew how happy I was until he committed. I wanted to hold all of my emotions in check and wanted to make sure his decision was truly his decision. I expressed to him how happy I was after he made his decision. He was overwhelmed by my reaction because he didn’t realize how much this meant to me.”
How hard was it for the former Pitt great to not try and influence his son and let him decide his future?
”It was a lot of emotion and all those emotions that were bottled up came out afterwards,” Aiken, Sr. said. “It was a tough year for him because he was hurt and it was all about getting him healthy. I’m relieved but in the end, he’s happy so I’m happy.”
Aiken, Jr. was originally offered a scholarship to Pitt by Jamie Dixon. That was over two years ago, but just a few weeks in Capel’s tenure, Aiken, Jr. was ready to sign up.
”(Capel) has a clear vision and a clear direction,” Aiken, Sr. said. “Capel has an uncanny ability to articulate that to young athletes and I think that’s why he’s been such a successful recruiter.”
Aiken Sr. has also been impressed with the amount of life Capel has brought to the basketball program.
”He’s brought credibility, Aiken, Sr. said. “He’s proven that he can develop players and proven that he can coach. But above anything, he’s proven that he’s a great communicator.”