With the cancelations of AAU Tournaments and in-person recruiting not permitted at this time, college basketball coaches are now forced to communicate with recruits via Twitter and on the computer thru Zoom.
One of Jeff Capel’s most recent meetings was over the weekend with one of the top 2021 shooting guards in the country four-star Brandon Weston from Morgan Park High School in Chicago. Capel and his staff spoke with Weston and his mother, Ebony, at which time he formally extended him an offer to Pitt.
Pittsburgh Sports Now caught with up with Ebony Weston, who gave her thoughts on Capel’s presentation, the possibility that Brandon Weston might re-classify to the Class of 2020 and shared a funny story about the first time she met Capel.
“I learned that Coach Capel really has his stuff together,” Ebony Weston said. “I was quite impressed with their virtual packaging of the school and the information they gave in regards to what their program is about, the study halls/classes, even down to showing you how the dorms look. It was very thorough and comprehensive and I really appreciated that. I was very impressed compared to other schools that are recruiting Brandon. In comparisons to other schools that are recruiting Brandon and attempting to do the same thing, Pitt has been very on-point, I was very impressed.
“I enjoyed seeing and learning about their Life Skills program. Because when you think about it, these boys are at this school, they have full schedules, they’re playing basketball and they have to maintain working out. This is a big thing that needs to be covered because you’re not just sending them there to attend classes. As a parent, you want to make sure that every aspect is taken care of, not just the physical part but the mental part as well.”
While it was the first time Weston spoke with the Pitt staff, it wasn’t the first meeting between Capel and Ebony Weston mother.
“When we talked on Zoom, that actually wasn’t the first time meeting him because my son played EYBL Basketball so I’ve seen him,” said Ebony Weston. “I know who Coach Capel is. I actually played basketball myself, I watch the game and know the coaches so I’ve followed him. I actually had a funny story that cracked us up.
“About two years ago, I saw him when my son was playing EYBL and I was being a groupie and getting pictures with certain coaches. I said to him ‘I know who you are, you’re Coach Capel, right?’ and he said yes. I introduced myself and told him my son is Brandon Weston, don’t worry you’ll know who he is soon, I’ll be waiting for you to call and we both laughed. Then when we had the Zoom call, I asked him if he remembered me at EYBL a couple years ago and he said he did and started cracking up.”
Brandon Weston (6-foot-5, 195 pounds) is an elite shooting guard with an all-around game with his ability to shoot from 3-point range, athletic skills to get in the lane in score as well as lock up his man on defense. This past season, Weston averaged 24 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks per game.
At this point, West holds offers from Iowa State, Illinois, Nebraska, Pitt, St. John’s, Seton Hall, and Wake Forest and is getting interest from Arizona, Louisville and Miami. Both Rivals and 247 Sports rate him as one of the Top 100 juniors in the country.
The Pitt staff also went over their plan to return the Panthers’ program to the NCAA Tournament and after hearing it, Ebony Weston believes it’s not a matter of if but when.
“Well, Coach Capel’s experience speaks for itself,” she said. “I feel like you have to be a part of a winning program to understand how to win because you have to learn how to win. They showed us their formula and their blue-print and I feel that it’s going to work and they’re going to take off because of Coach Capel’s background and where he’s come from and what he’s learned. So when they offered Brandon, I was excited because I knew that he received an offer from a coach with a clear vision and a clear plan for the future.”
Although he’s currently playing basketball in Chicago, Brandon Weston is originally from New York and has ties to one of the most prominent members of the team, Justin Champagnie.
“He’s from Brooklyn and we’ve known him since seventh grade,” said Ebony Weston. “My son and him have played travel ball together since then. He’s a great kid and has a great family, I love his mom and his dad.”
But if Weston and Champagnie are going to play together, it won’t be this fall.
“He’s not going to come out to 2020,” Ebony Weston said. “He could have but no, he’s not going to do that and he’ll finish high school and come out in 2021.”