With five-star guard Brad Beal (St. Louis, MO) seemingly the only member of the Florida Gators 2011 signing class, head coach Billy Donovan made a splash Wednesday by gaining a verbal commitment from former DePaul singee forward/center Walter Pitchford (East Lansing, MI).
“I really like the coaching staff,” Pitchford told Scout. “I like the players a lot. The relationship that they have is so strong. [I like] the campus and the students on the campus and I like how everybody gets involved on campus. They recruiting me hard and they didn’t sugarcoat anything.”
Between 6’9″ and 6’10” and 210-220 lbs., Pitchford originally signed a National Letter of Intent with DePaul in 2010 but asked for and was provided with a release when the school switched head coaches. He has spent the last year playing prep school basketball and is averaging approximately 17 points and nine rebounds per game.
Rated as a three-star athlete by Rivals, Pitchford is listed as a two-star by ESPNU and was widely considered one of the best uncommitted post players in the country.
Pitchford visited the University of Florida last week and obviously came away impressed. Like most of Donovan’s big men, Pitchford runs the floor very well and is quite athletic. His jump shot is solid, but he has plenty of growing to do both as a defender and back-to-the-basket scorer.
In addition to Florida, Pitchford considered and received significant interest from Arizona State, Minnesota, Indiana and Iowa, among others.
Size is a much-needed attribute for the Gators in 2011 as redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin and senior forwards Chandler Parsons and Alex Tyus will all be graduating.
Pitchford’s decision was first reported by Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com.