Sean Miller

Arizona incoming freshman Elliott Pitts encouraged to add weight

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Many enter their college lives hearing about the dreaded “Freshman 15” — the weight that college freshman sometimes add due to the freedom to eat and drink whatever they please once they leave home.

Most dread gaining the potential weight associated with the “Freshman 15” but for Arizona freshman shooting guard Elliot Pitts, adding that weight will become a necessity.

According to a story from the Arizona Daily Star, Pitts arrived on the Tuscon campus three weeks ago standing at 6-foot-5 but weighing only 170 pounds. In the physical landscape of major college basketball, a 170-pound two-guard simply isn’t going to cut it and when Pitts turned 18 last week, he was probably encouraged to take a few extra pieces of birthday cake.

Thankfully, after three weeks on campus, Pitts seems to be turning a bit of a corner and Arizona head coach Sean Miller is excited about his future.

“That’s very light,” UA coach Sean Miller said.

So, with Pitts on campus for just three weeks so far, the Wildcats have him up to about 175 already and the freshman shooting guard is expected to put on even more in the weeks to come.

“He checked into college as a 17-year-old,” Miller said Thursday. “With that, you know there’s a lot of upside. … His growth through the next three or four months will be fun to watch.”
Pitts is being joined on campus for the first summer session by fellow newcomer and Kansas transfer Zach Peters. McDonald’s All-American Aaron Gordon and another freshman forward — Rondae Hollis-Jefferson — are both participating on the USA U19 Trials — with Gordon making the team — and are expected to join the Wildcats during the second summer session in July.

Pitts could be counted on for bench minutes at the guard spot if he continues his development — especially early in the season during nonconference play before the conference play of the Pac 12 becomes more physically demanding.

Creighton lands 2016 combo guard

Greg McDermott
Associated Press
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Sunday evening Creighton got on the board in the Class of 2016, as 6-foor-4 combo guard Davion Mintz made his pledge to Greg McDermott’s program. Mintz made the decision on the tail end of his official visit to Creighton, picking the Bluejays over Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Tulsa and Wichita State.

News of Mintz’s commitment was first reported by Rick Lewis of the Phenom Hoop Report, with Mintz confirming the news via Twitter shortly thereafter.

Creighton has just two seniors on its current roster in guard Jams Milliken and forward Geoffrey Groselle, but that doesn’t mean they lack for experience. Among the guards on the roster who will be around when Mintz arrives on campus are redshirt juniors Maurice Watson Jr., Malik Albert, and Isaiah Zierden, and Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster will be eligible in 2016-17.

Mintz, who attends North Mecklenberg HS just outside of Charlotte, can play either on or off the basketball. Creighton’s veteran guards should help Mintz with his transition to the college game when he arrives in Omaha in 2016. Mintz played for the Charlotte Nets grassroots program this summer.

Three-star power forward commits to WVU

Bob Huggins
Associated Press
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Three days after landing one power forward in Sagaba Konate, West Virginia received a verbal commitment from another big man Sunday evening.

6-foot-11 Mountain Mission School (Gurndy, Virginia) power forward Maciej Bender became the Mountaineers’ fourth commitment in the Class of 2016 on Sunday, with the Mountain Mission program announcing the news via Twitter. Bender is a native of Poland, and in addition to Konate he joins guards Brandon Knapper and Chase Harler in West Virginia’s 2016 recruiting class.

West Virginia will lose two forwards in TyQuane Goard and Jonathan Holton at the end of the 2015-16 season, and the additions of Konate and Bender will help the Mountaineers account for those departures from a depth standpoint. Bender can score around the basket, but he’s also capable of facing up and scoring in pick-and-pop situations out beyond the three-point line.

Bender officially visited West Virginia last weekend, and he was a player the WVU coaching staff wanted to get in the fold. Other programs to offer Bender included Arizona State (teammate Jethro Tshisumpa is an ASU commit), Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and Providence. Bender played his grassroots basketball for the West Virginia Wildcats program this summer.