Tonight is the night for the Pitt staff to make its big impression on one of the best targets in the transfer portal, as it has scheduled a zoom call with former East Carolina stud Jayden Gardner.
Gardner, a 6-foot-7, 235-pound forward, led the Pirates this past year with 11.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per contest. In his time at East Carolina, he amassed over 1400 points and more than 700 rebounds. While he has a solid relationship with assistant coach Milan Brown, Gardner has never spoken to head coach Jeff Capel, but will get the chance to do so Friday night.
“I’m curious to talk with him,” Gardner told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “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.”
Since entering the portal, the forward has been a hot commodity, hearing from countless programs.
“It’s really been overwhelming, Gardner told 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.”
As mentioned earlier in the article, Gardner does have a good relationship with coach Brown at Pitt.
“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.”
While he does have plenty of other zoom meetings scheduled with other programs, Friday night will definitely be important for Gardner to get a good idea of what it is like playing under Capel at Pitt.