Pitt has an upcoming Zoom call scheduled with a player that would fill a big hole in their front court.
East Carolina transfer forward Jayden Gardner tells Pittsburgh Sports Now that he’s scheduled to talk on Friday evening with Jeff Capel and the Pitt coaching staff. This will be Gardner’s first in-depth conversation with Capel, as he’s previously been speaking with Milan Brown. Those two have a prior relationship that goes back to when Brown attempted to recruit Gardner to College of Charleston.
Gardner is a 6’7″, 235 pound junior that led East Carolina this season with 18.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Going back to the 2019-20 season, Gardner registered 19.7 points and 9.2 rebounds per game so it isn’t surprising that he’s generating a ton of interest since entering the transfer portal.
This only the intro… 🙇🏽♂️ pic.twitter.com/OSeTyEKKaN
— Jayden Gardner (@Jayy_Baller_1) March 22, 2020
Since entering the portal a couple days ago, Gardner has heard from Arkansas, Virginia Tech, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Miami, Virginia, NC State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Florida, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Alabama, Boston College, Georgia Tech. In terms of Zoom Calls, Gardner has conducted ones with Virginia, NC State, Miami, Notre Dame and has one tomorrow with Arkansas.
Pittsburgh Sports Now spoke with Gardner to get more on his thoughts on Pitt, Milan Brown and the ton of he’s received in the last couple days.
“It’s really been overwhelming, Gardner tells Pittsburgh Sports Now. “Obviously I went through the recruiting process before but this is now on a national level and everyone is trying to be involved. It’s a crazy feeling but you can never take for granted being wanted so that’s why I’ve been open to talk to any program that wants to talk to me. It’s really a blessing to be on this stage and to be able to play college basketball.”
“The thing I’m hearing from most coaches is that they like my character, the way I carry myself, my production and the potential I have. Every coach wants to help me reach my ultimate goal of playing at the highest level of basketball possible. Plus, the coaches and myself have the ultimate goal of winning as much as possible as well.”
The Panthers were one of the first programs to make initial contact with Gardner and it was by Brown, someone that he’s known for a few years.
“Coach Milan is my guy,” said Gardner. “When I originally committed to East Carolina, it was down to them, College of Charleston and VCU. Coach Milan was my recruiter at Charleston and he did a nice job recruiting me and my family. I know everything he’s about, he’s a great man and hit me up saying that it’s crazy that we have another chance to be together. He said that there’s a spot available for me at Pitt and would love to see me down there with him. He said there’s a lot of minutes available for me and loves my production and believes that I can really help the team.”
— Timeout (@Timeoxt) December 23, 2020
While Gardner knows Brown well, Friday will be his first chance to talk with Jeff Capel. Although he doesn’t know him personally, being a native of North Carolina, Gardner is well aware of the Capel name and the reputation that comes with it.
“I’m curious to talk with him. Being from Durham, it’s just blue-blood basketball down there. So growing up it’s Duke and watching them. I know he was there and has been a big part of their success. I’m very aware of where Coach Capel has been and what he’s accomplished and how capable of a coach he is. I know that he probably has a good recruiting pitch for me so I’m interested to hear what he has.”