Salisbury, Maryland is a pretty good spot for a post-Christmas trip. Down on the Eastern Shore, it’s not too chilly this time of year, it’s near the beach, and there’s plenty of options for good food, coffee and beer.
It’s unlikely that Pitt men’s basketball head coach Jeff Capel went down to the Shore for any of those things though — unless he’s a big fan of crab cakes or Rise Up coffee. Considering where he showed up Thursday night, it’s more likely that he went to watch a 6-foot-8 forward who might play for the Panthers next season.
Capel walked into the Governor’s Challenge at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center on Thursday evening just before Legacy Early College High School of Greenville, South Carolina tipped off against Veritas Prep of Santa Fe Springs, California. Starting at forward for Legacy is Jalyn McCreary, a prospect that Pitt has expressed much interest in recently.
Seated next to Capel for the game was Pitt assistant Milan Brown, who has been watching McCreary closely recently and even went to Charleston, South Carolina to watch him play last week.
247sports list McCreary — who is originally from Kennesaw, Georgia — as a three-star prospect, the 42nd best power forward in the nation and the sixth best player in South Carolina. Pitt hasn’t extended an offer to him yet, but DePaul, USF, Xavier and Georgia State have.
The Governor’s Challenge has been attracting hoop heads to the Delmarva Peninsula since 1981. It was started back then by Butch Waller, who was then and still is the head coach at nearby Wicomico High School. With more than 800 career wins, Waller is the most winningest coach in Maryland high school basketball history for public schools. That first tournament featured just four teams: Waller’s Wi-Hi, Crisfield, St. John’s and Morgan Wooten’s DeMatha Catholic.
Now in its 38th year, the Governor’s Challenge features 120 teams from 14 states and Canada. The tournament spans four days, featuring girls and boys teams playing in four different venues.
McCreary played against solid competition in his game against Veritas. The side from California features Mississippi State commit Iverson Molinar, Bradley commit Stephan Gabriel and uncommitted Ismael Cruz.
Pitt (9-3) has been off since beating New Orleans on Dec. 20. The Panthers will host Colgate on Saturday, then host North Carolina on Jan. 5 to open ACC play.