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Double-double performer Joseph Uchebo picks Pitt

The Pittsburgh Panthers made a key addition on Monday, landing a reported verbal pledge from 6′-11″ center Joseph Uchebo of Chipola JC (FL). Uchebo will have three years to play at Pitt, and interestingly will face off at least twice a season against the NC State Wolfpack in ACC play, a squad he was formerly committed to in high school.

Uchebo had a standout first year (2011-2012) at Chipola, averaging a double-double, 12 points and 12 rebounds. Those stats are even more impressive given that he played in one of the best junior college basketball leagues in the country. That year’s stats indicate that he didn’t attempt a 3-pointer, and posted almost 60% shooting from the field.

Uchebo has dealt with injury in the past year (sitting out the entire season), but was a top-100 recruit when healthy in high school at Word of God (NC). Current Pitt signee Josh Newkirk, a point guard, played with Uchebo at Word of God, as well.

A native of Nigeria, Uchebo is an even more important addition to a school that lost promising current freshman center Steven Adams to the NBA. He’s part of a strong recruiting class that includes the aforementioned Newkirk, wing forward Jamel Artis and face-up forward Mike Young. Numerous programs were in the mix for Uchebo, and the Minnesota Gophers were reportedly making a strong push as of late.

Though Uchebo’s knee injury may be a risk, it’s certainly worthwhile making a gamble on a near 7-footer. This late in the recruiting cycle, someone with as much promise and size as Uchebo is hard to come by, and he was one of the most sought-after big men in the nation, either way.

About Kellon Hassenstab

Kellon Hassenstab is the publisher of the College Basketball Newcomers Guide book and Hoopniks.com. He founded Hoopniks.com in 2009, and has contributed to SlamOnline, Dime Magazine's HighSchoolHoop.com, and NBCSports.com, along with other publications in the past. Hassenstab has covered grassroots, high school and basketball recruiting for over a decade. Follow on Twitter, @Hoopniks.

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