Pitt basketball fans have anxiously been waiting for the addition of a developmental big man to join the 2019 recruiting class. Their prayers were answered last week when Scotland Campus Sports (Scotland, PA) power forward / center Karim Coulibaly (6-foot-9 inches, 225 pounds) committed to Pitt.
To gain insight into the newest member of the Panthers’ 2019 recruiting class, Pittsburgh Sports Now spoke with Scotland Campus Sports assistant basketball coach Jeff Metzger. He and Coulibaly recently attended the Panthers’ home game against Syracuse.
“I was with Karim on his unofficial visit when Pitt played Syracuse. I turned to him during the game and he looked at me. I said, ‘You know, I could see you playing here.’ He replied, ‘I could too. This’ll be my new home,” stated Metzger. “Karim is very personable. He loved the fans of Pittsburgh from the people we’ve seen. He told me, ‘I can’t wait to play for these guys…this fanbase.’”
A myriad of national recruiting services have ranked Coulibaly a three-star prospect. He had accrued nearly twenty scholarship offers from upper major programs and ultimately chose Pitt over St. Joe’s and Tulane. Despite scholarship offers from programs such as Arkansas, Boston College, Cincinnati and Georgia, the Scotland Campus Sports coaching staff indicated that long term relationship Coulibaly developed with the Pitt staff sealed the deal.
“Karim is going to bring the Pitt program size. He’s 6-foot-9 inches tall and he can rebound and bring the ball up the floor. He’s not your typical big man. He can dribble. He can shoot the ball. He’s intense and vocal on the court,” he said. “He’s from Mali, West Africa. Karim, I believe, is a stretch four (power forward) on the next level.”
“Karim’s strengths include poise, court vision and with his size, rebounding. He’s a special player. He has the frame to add muscle and potentially hold 250 pounds. I could see him being dominant in the ACC conference. He’s already good now. When he adds weight and strength, he’s going to be special.”
Pitt’s lack of size has been a true detriment to the team the entire season. It’s a point that wasn’t lost on Coulibaly. “He noticed that when we watched the Syracuse game, “stated Metzger. “He told me he could see himself stepping in and playing. I think Pitt is a perfect place for him to do that.”
Coach Metzger was asked about the big man’s off the court demeanor. He replied, “He’s very outgoing. If I had to pick somebody that is like Karim, I would say he’s like Shaquille O’Neal. He likes to joke a lot. He’s truly a funny guy that’s always making jokes. I feel like the fans will see him in Pittsburgh and around campus and they’ll be able to get a good laugh because he’ll say hello and joke with them. The Pitt fans are going to love him.”
Coulibaly is the 2nd player to join the Panthers in 2019 along with small forward Gerald Drumgoole (6-foot-6 inches, 205 pounds) from the La Lumiere School (La Porte, IN).
Harry Psaros can be found on Twitter at @PittGuru