The newest Pitt Panther, William Jeffress has been the talk of the Pittsburgh sports scene over the last 24 hours since announcing his commitment and then signing with Jeff Capel’s basketball program.
The addition of Jeffress has created a buzz because Pitt is adding a potential cornerstone to Capel’s rebuild at Pitt. The star from Erie is the top rated player in Pennsylvania and is rated as one of the top 60 players in the country.
Pittsburgh Sports Now caught up on Tuesday with Jeffress head coach at Erie McDowell, Kevin O’Connor, who’s very proud of his star player and is excited to watch his game develop even more under the coaching staff at Pitt.
“William is a player that can play all five spots on the floor and can also guard all five spots,” O’Connor told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “Because of that, it will allow the coaches to recruit specific needs. William will be on the floor next year immediately. The thing that people will notice about William right away is his drive. Nobody will and I’ve never seen anyone work harder than him. For someone that is as good as he is, to also be the most improved player for us every year I think is remarkable. I think once he adds that physicality to him at the college level, I believe that will take him straight to the top.”
As O’Connor mentioned, Jeffress is someone that can play multiple positions for the Panthers. Being that he knows his game as well as anyone, I asked O’Connor about his offensive game and where Jeffress will get a majority of his points.
“From year to year when I’ve had the chance to coach him, it’s been different. This past year, he worked a lot on his 3-point shot, where he was making three or three a game. He’s a well-rounded player, I don’t want to pin-point him as one way he’ll get buckets. William is someone that can score in every different way.”
Maybe the biggest challenge Jeffress will face this upcoming season is competing against players that are older and physically more mature than him. Keep in mind, Jeffress won’t turn 17 years old until June but O’Connor believes that Jeffress will be able to deal with it because of his intelligence and the fact that he’s mature beyond his years.
“He’s like a sponge, I had him in class, a senior English class and he took it at the time as a junior,” said O’Connor. “He’s on a different level maturity wise and he’s always, always had goals since the 3rd grade and he’s accomplished everyone of them. He’s a special kid.”
Pitt has been looking to add that ‘marquee’ recruit and were able to accomplish that on Tuesday as Jeffress becomes the highest-rated recruit since Jamie Dixon landed 5-star center Steven Adams back in 2012.