On Tuesday, Pitt assistant coach Tim O’Toole extended a scholarship offer to 2022 prospect Tobe Awaka out of Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx, New York.
“It feels good,” Awaka told Pittsburgh Sports Now about the offer. “I feel like my work after four years at Hayes, where I’ve been playing ball at the varsity level, is paying off. It’s just a good feeling overall.”
Awaka is a 6-foot-8 senior forward that prides himself on his tough style of play on the inside as well as his mid-range shooting ability.
“I think right now, it’s more confident,” Awaka said about the growth of his game up until this point. “I have been able to train more and play against higher competition. I think my game is much more confident. I think it’s strong, hard-nosed, tough rebounding, and obviously with the statistics that people talk with me about, I’ve been scoring around the rim. 15, 18-foot jumpers and stuff like that. I am definitely trying to extend to the perimeter more, be more perimeter centric, but also keep that hard-nosed trait within my game as well.”
O’Toole and the rest of the Pitt staff have been recruiting Awaka for over a year now, but this spring, the interest ramped up to the point in which Awaka earned an offer on Tuesday.
“It’s pretty good,” Awaka said about his relationship with O’Toole, who recruits the Northeast for Pitt. “We’ve been in contact for a while now, and he’s been recruiting me for a while, and the offer finally came today.”
Pitt currently has three committed players for next year’s squad, with Nelly Cummings (Colgate transfer), Blake Hinson (Iowa St. transfer), and Fede Federiko (JuCo) joining the program. After this offseason’s departures of Femi Odukale, Ithiel Horton, and Noah Collier to the transfer portal, the Panthers no longer have anyone on the current roster from New York or New Jersey, two states that the program used to heavily recruit. From his talks with O’Toole, Awaka knows he can come in and continue the area’s success at Pitt.
“I know that they’ve had a lot of success with New York, New Jersey guys,” Awaka said. “I know they’re a tough program, they fit my play style really well. That’s sort of what he was explaining to me when we were sitting down and talking. He feels like I am a perfect fit for the program. He talked about my toughness, how he feels I can make an impact right away. He said to keep doing the things that I am doing, but also highlighted some places where I need to improve and get better.”
In addition to Pitt, Awaka just received an offer from SMU, and also has interest from Maryland. Following this offer from Pitt, Awaka received offers from St. John’s and Maryland.
“I’m pretty sure some more schools are going to come forward within the next few days, but those are the ones I’ve heard from so far.”