With limited scholarships available in Pitt’s Class of 2021, Jeff Capel and his staff are also spending plenty of time zeroing in on high priorities for their Class of 2022 and two of their top targets are players from Western Pennsylvania.
Within the last couple of weeks, the Panthers staff have conducted Zoom interviews with point guard Mason Manning and wing Fray Nguimbi, both from First Love Academy in Washington, Pa.
The interview with Nguimbi (6-foot-9, 210 pounds), took place Thursday evening as he had the opportunity to meet and speak with the entire Pitt basketball staff. Nguimbi, who’s originally from Brazzaville, Congo, transferred this summer to First Love from Orlando, Florida.
The versatile forward received his offer from Capel on Sept. 2 and also holds other offers from Alabama, Dayton, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Iowa State, Rutgers, St. John’s and South Florida.
Pittsburgh Sports Now caught up with Nguimbi and got his impressions of his first in-depth conversation with the Pitt staff and what stood out to him.
“The call with Pitt went real good, it was actually great,” Nguimbi told PSN. “The coaches were very engaged with me and very clear with me. Coach Capel was honest and serious with me and I liked that. The fact that they were so serious tells me that they really want me and want me to be a part of the program and the Pitt family. That means a lot to me. I’ve been in contact with them almost every day.”
During that lengthy call, what message or piece of information was the Pitt staff was trying to relay to him?
“Coach was telling me that I can come here and be free on the court and we’ll let you play your game and play to your strengths,” Nguimbi said. “He told me that I’m not just a big man because I know most people and teams think I’m that because I’m 6-foot-8 or 6-foot9, but Coach Capel said I’m not just a big man and that I can go there and do my thing.”
“Something that I learned is that Coach Capel is a really nice dude,” said Nguimbi. “I know that he doesn’t just care about you because you’re a good basketball player, he really cares about you as a person. I could tell that.”
Nguimbi said that the Pitt staff believes that he can play any of the two through five positions on the court.
Along with Pitt, Nguimbi says he’s hearing a lot from programs like Georgia Tech, South Florida, Memphis and Missouri.
“I definitely have Pitt on my mind and whenever I’m talking about my top schools, Pitt will be there.”