For Jeff Capel, landing Daniel Skillings is priority number one when it comes to his current recruiting board.
Skillings, a 6-foot-7 small forward out of Philadelphia, recently got to know the Pitt head coach and his program on an official visit just a few weeks back.
To find out more about Skillings’ game, Pittsburgh Sports Now caught up with City of Basketball Love Founder and current Editor-in-Chief Josh Verlin, who was at one time a proud member of Pitt’s student section, the Oakland Zoo.
“So he came to Philly for his junior year at Roman Catholic,” Verlin said about Skillings. “I first saw him during that junior year. I heard about him a little bit in Jersey during 2019-20, but then COVID hit. So I had heard about this big-time new player that’s coming to Roman at the beginning of the 2021 season, and then I first saw him in a game against La Salle High School this year.”
Skillings did not hold a single offer heading into his junior year. In fact, even right after his junior year, still no offers. But why?
“It’s really because of COVID,” Verlin went on. “He had a terrific junior year. He averaged 19 points a game for Roman Catholic, which is always a top team in the Catholic League. It had nothing to do with how he was playing, and it really had everything to do with the fact that coaches weren’t really on the road. With everything going on with people getting the extra year [of eligibility], there was just so much uncertainty about everything at the division one level of what was going on recruiting wise. Everybody almost, in the 2022, class, was behind. He actually had a really good year.”
Skillings averaged 19.7 points and 8.1 rebounds in that junior year for Roman Catholic. He then went on to absolutely explode over the spring and summer, picking up 25 division one offers. His first offer was from nearby La Salle. His last offer before trimming his list down to ten, then five schools? Pitt.
“He is very versatile,” Verlin continued. “He is a 6’6, 6’7 wing, with a 6’10-plus wing span. He is a three man, but he can defend twos, threes, and fours. He can score from all three levels. He wasn’t an outstanding three-point shooter during his junior year, he hit right around a third of his shots, but I think his three-pointer has gotten better since then. It seems like he is hitting them at a higher rate, and he certainly was during the June live period which was when he really blew up. But yeah. He is a legit three man with length and athleticism. He’s got the one-dribble pull-up, he can finish around the rim, he can hit shots, he plays smart, he plays at a high level in high school, he’s a good kid.”
During Skillings’ junior year, Verlin said, he was talking with some Power 6, AAC-level coaches, telling them that Skillings was really good. Like, really good.
“No doubt,” Verlin said when asked if Skillings is one of the top three-to-five players in Philadelphia. “Dereck Lively is the obvious best prospect in the region now that Jalen Duren is gone. Justin Edwards at Imhotep I think is now a top-ten player in the 2023 class. I don’t think he [Skillings] is quite on Edwards’ level, but he is a year older, and the two of them going one-on-one would be a pretty good matchup. He is definitely in that conversation. He will be heavily in the mix for Catholic League MVP this year. He is in that elite echelon of when you think who are the best players in Philly, he is in that mix.”
Last week, Skillings released his top five, which consisted of Pitt, Miami, NC State, Cincinnati, and Virginia Tech. After visiting Pitt, NC State, and Cincinnati in recent weeks, where does his recruitment go now?
“They have a great coach, a great coaching staff and a coaching staff that will support you,” Skillings told cityofbasketballlove.com. “They’re real with you and they don’t give it to you fake. They tell you how it is. (Capel) won’t tell you that you’re going to start or how many minutes that you’re going to get. You have to work for your stuff.”
In the interview, Skillings also mentioned that he would be “taking his time” with his decision.
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