First impressions are important in every walk of life, whether you’re talking about a personal relationship, business and even in college recruiting.
That initial conversation is something that can leave a good (or bad) impression with a family and it’s safe to say that Jeff Capel hit a grand slam with the parents of a family he spoke with Saturday afternoon.
The latest player to receive an offer from Capel’s program is 2021 3-star shooting guard Jordan Riley from Brentwood, New York. Riley is viewed by basketball scouts as an ‘explosive athlete’ and now holds offers from Pitt, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Rutgers and Virginia Tech while receiving interest from Georgetown, Creighton, Wake Forest and Kansas.
Riley and his parents, Monty and Karen, found out about the news on a Zoom call on Saturday with Capel. Prior to the offer, Riley and his family have been hearing from Pitt assistant Tim O’Toole, who was in person to watch him last season.
Pittsburgh Sports Now had the chance to speak this afternoon with Jordan’s parents, about their long conversation yesterday with the head of Pitt’s basketball program. Monty Riley started off by giving us some insight into his son and some of his top qualities.
“Jordan is a kid that’s highly loyal and I think that has caught the attention of Coach Capel too,” said Monty Riley. “He’s not a kid that’s going to come to your school for one year, not like the situation and leave because of it. He’s someone that will fight through adversity. Wherever he goes, in his mind, no one will be better than him and he’ll do whatever he has to do to get a starting role and then help the team win because he hates losing. I really think that’s something Coach Capes likes about him.”
When giving an example of loyalty, Mr. Riley revealed that some of the top basketball prep schools in the country have been calling and trying to get Jordan to leave Brentwood High School but he’s turned them down because he wants to win at Brentwood and finish what he’s started there.
Receiving an offer from Pitt shows that Capel is impressed with Riley but that feeling is now mutual after his family had the chance to speak and have a very meaningful conversation with Capel about more than just basketball.
“He has an aura about him and he really can speak,” said Mr. Riley. “But more than that was his overall presentation on the virtual tour was very, very impressive and captured your attention. He’s just such a positive guy.”
Was their something that he said or that really stood out about Capel’s presentation and conversation?
“It was him that stood out. It’s not so much what he said but the intentions of what he wants and plans on doing and is very sincere about bringing a winning tradition back to Pitt and turning these young kids into men. He’s very sincere about that, that’s what caught our attention.”
“The most important thing that he said to me is what I’ve been telling Jordan and that’s to use basketball, don’t let basketball use you. I loved that and that’s what I’ve been telling my son this whole time. He’s about that and about the education of these kids and making sure they understand the fundamentals of life. He spoke very highly of the life skills program at Pitt and that’s all good stuff because they’re not teaching you how to balance a checkbook in high school.”
Capel had a chance to educate the Rileys on his basketball program and the University of Pittsburgh but they also used the opportunity to ask Capel about something that’s important to them. Does Capel plan on being the head coach at Pitt long-term? The answer is yes, in fact, Capel told them he plans on being there for at least the next seven seasons.
“I asked him about that because if I give my son to Pitt, I need to know he’s going to be there. The first impressions you have about a school is because of the coach so that’s who you fall in love with and you expect him to be there. He’s the man you’re putting in charge of putting the finishing touches of turning your son into a man. I don’t want my son going to a place where the coach leaves the first time he receives a better offer. I can tell you that Coach Capel’s foot are cemented at Pitt and that’s what I like.”
As a family, this is an exciting time for the Riley family as they’ve raised their son to be in this position of being recruited as a major D-I athlete and they look forward to seeing what the next year has in store for them.
“It is exciting,” said Karen Riley. “When he was little, I was never thinking about stuff like this but now that he’s older and after receiving his first offer last November and with more continuing to come in, it’s very exciting for our family. I keep hearing about where all of this could lead to for him and it’s like ‘Wow’, I can’t believe this is happening for my son and all these good things they’re saying.”