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Guillermo Diaz-Graham Loving His Pitt Journey: ‘It is a Large Household Right here’



Starting your faculty profession away from house is difficult for nearly each participant.

Particularly while you’re 3,630 miles away from house.

Final Might, Pitt acquired two commitments in at some point courtesy of two Spanish prospects, Jorge and Guillermo Diaz-Graham, who grew up and nonetheless reside on the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain.

The twins, who performed one 12 months of post-graduate basketball at IMG Academy in Florida, had initially thought that they’d go their separate methods when it got here to high schools. Though they took quite a few recruiting journeys collectively, they did cut up up for some as effectively. Simply weeks earlier than their commitments, Jorge was visiting George Washington, whereas his brother was throughout the nation visiting Utah State. They didn’t know the place they’d be going till the very finish of their recruitment.

Nevertheless, when Might 4 rolled round, the 2 had made up their minds: They had been going to take their skills to Pittsburgh. Collectively.

“I bear in mind we had been down in Florida with IMG, we had a recreation in a bit health club,” Guillermo mentioned on Friday. “My coach mentioned, ‘Right now, you’ve gotten a coach from Pittsburgh coming.’ I didn’t actually know a lot about Pittsburgh, and after the sport, we met T.O [Tim O’Toole]. He got here to us and talked to us, we talked to him for some time. Then they got here two or three weeks later to speak with my dad and my mother, they had been in to Florida so he got here to speak to them. He talked to us about Pittsburgh, he talked about us, he talked about how me and my brother, we are able to play collectively and are available collectively to Pitt. We selected to make a go to right here, and we made the go to right here, we fell in love with Pittsburgh, and after I completed all of my visits, I knew I used to be coming right here.”

“As a result of I’ve household again house, far-off, they [Pitt] informed me that they had been going to handle me,” Guillermo added. “It’s an enormous household right here, so I really feel that’s the primary factor. It’s the ACC, it’s massive time, and we needed to be challenged.”

Since their commitments, each twins have seen their fair proportion of recreation motion as rookies within the Metal Metropolis. To start out the season, Pitt appeared to roll with Jorge, the shorter of the 2 (6-foot-11 in comparison with Guillermo’s 7-foot), extra usually. Now, Guillermo has been one of many first Panthers off the bench to alleviate beginning massive Federiko Federiko down low, and has seen his minutes enhance because the season continues to maneuver alongside.

“G,” because the crew refers to him, has performed greater than ten minutes in three of Pitt’s final 5 video games. The 7-footer scored six factors in 19 minutes within the Panthers’ current street victory over Louisville, as he slammed house a two-handed dunk, hit a three-pointer, and knocked down a free throw. He additionally grabbed eight rebounds within the win, tying his career-high on the glass.

Guillermo is listed at 7-foot, 205 kilos on Pitt’s official roster. While you look across the ACC, it doesn’t take lengthy to see how undersized he’s for the place he performs and the opposing bigs that he has to protect. Since arriving at Pitt and seeing his position enhance, the teenager has came upon that the bigs aren’t even the one ones who’re bodily on this convention.

“I believe it’s far more than I anticipated,” Guillermo mentioned in regards to the physicality of the league. “After all, while you see the large guys on the TV, you count on, , okay, it’s going to be laborious. However it’s not solely the large guys that’s the one which’s pushing. It’s like, each one of many guys that’s on the ground is pushing you, and even when that’s a five-eleven man, he’s going to push you, he’s going to go on your knees. So it’s like, be prepared for 40 minutes of being pushed round. It’s a grind.”

Diaz-Graham’s development on the court docket has been clear, as he has stepped in throughout a few of Pitt’s most intense video games this season and supplied vitality off the bench every time. His protection seems to be getting stronger. His offensive bag continues to develop. He’s changing into extra snug with every recreation, on and off the court docket.

The Spaniard has turn out to be particularly shut with fellow worldwide prospect Federiko Federiko in addition to Nate Santos, one other underclassmen. The 4 of them, who can at all times be noticed throughout Oakland collectively, share quite a few comparable pursuits, with one being soccer. And when the World Cup got here round this 12 months, the 4 younger Pitt gamers had been excited to look at collectively.

Nevertheless, after turning one of many event video games on within the Panthers’ locker room at some point, they realized that they weren’t the one ones locked in to the matchups.

“I wasn’t anticipating it, as a result of right here in the united statesA, soccer will not be that massive of a factor,” Guillermo mentioned. “Okay, me, Fede, and Jorge, and Nate too, Nate is a soccer man too, we’re simply going to look at by ourselves. However then, we began placing the video games on within the locker room, and I obtained Greg, I obtained Nelly, I obtained Nike watching soccer, like, asking me. After which, they’d see me rejoice Messi targets, so I’m going loopy within the locker room. So that they’re like, ‘Yeah, G!’ they usually are available with me. I really feel like these guys actually care about one another they usually care about me, as a result of they don’t care about soccer, however they’re getting excited a couple of recreation that they don’t know the way it’s going, simply because they see me excited. I believe it’s like an enormous household… If I used to be abroad, I might be watching the World Cup and getting excited every single day with my buddies. I don’t have my buddies right here to be excited with, so as an alternative of watching it alone, or with two or three of us, I get the entire crew doing it. So it’s like, you don’t really feel that far-off from house.”

In the meantime, the Diaz-Graham household nonetheless lives on the Islands whereas the boys are off in school taking part in hoops. Though they nonetheless reside on the Islands, the twins’ mother and father had been in a position to make it to Pittsburgh for a few video games this season: North Carolina and Virginia. For maybe Pitt’s two greatest wins of the 12 months, the twins’ unique household was in a position to share within the second with their newfound household in Pittsburgh.

“We received each, so I used to be saying, ‘Okay, you gonna transfer right here? You’ve obtained to stay right here now, as a result of each recreation you come right here, we win,” Guillermo mentioned. “You’ve obtained to remain right here.’ However yeah, they comply with the entire video games on TV, and it’s laborious for them, as a result of a number of the video games are at 2 a.m. over there, so that they help us from there. My entire household. I’ve obtained my mama sending the hyperlinks for the household group, and my grandfather, my grandparents watching the video games too. So it’s fairly cool.”

Guillermo, Jorge, and the remainder of the Panthers will look to proceed their sizzling streak on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. once they tackle ACC foe Florida State.


The Frank Walker Legislation/PSN Every day Pocket book- January 31



Replace (8:17 AM)- **On Monday, two gamers from the WPIAL acquired presents from Jap Michigan: Norwin 2024 athlete Jackson Pons and West Mifflin 2024 offensive lineman Rico Steele. Pons has earlier presents from Bowling Inexperienced, Kent State, Mississippi State, Miami (Ohio) and Toledo. Steele holds presents from Bowling Inexperienced, Kent State and Toledo.   SPORTS […]

The publish The Frank Walker Legislation/PSN Every day Pocket book- January 31 appeared first on Pittsburgh Sports activities Now.

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Duquesne WBB Celebrates 50 Years Of Historical past



Duquesne Girls’s Basketball Coach Dan Burt admitted that anytime you could have a historic reunion, there’s a little bit of an unknown, particularly from an attendance perspective, in order the RSVPs got here within the smiles solely grew.

With Director of Advertising and marketing & Fan Engagement Leah Adams and Girls’s Basketball Director of Operations Melissa Franko main the cost in planning, round 160 people whether or not it was former gamers, season ticket holders, follow gamers and different pals of this system all attended the Saturday night occasion.

Duquesne basketball on Pittsburgh Sports activities Now could be sponsored by The Summit Academy: setting younger males on the trail to a greater future.

Setting young men on the path to a better future.

“We had alumni from each era and each decade,” Duquesne coach Dan Burt said. “It was good to fulfill plenty of the individuals I had not met; it was good to have good fellowship and construct bonds with a number of the folks that haven’t been again. It was an excellent evening.”

Some members from the unique 1970’s groups had been amongst these showing, and every was amazed with how far this system has come. The emotion was very clear throughout excursions of the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse as a bunch image was taken on the courtroom.

All of these in attendance had been additionally joined by this 12 months’s staff, teaching employees, College President Ken Gormley and Vice President of Athletics Dave Harper.

There have been loads of conversations available as all generations of Duquesne Girls’s Basketball had the chance to bond and work together by way of the assorted actions deliberate all through the occasion.

The occasion featured hors d’oeuvres, drinks, a silent public sale and was centered round a number of audio system.

Gormley was the primary to talk, welcoming everybody to the occasion whereas expressing gratitude for individuals who had been a part of this system.

His remarks then expressed immense proudness on this 12 months’s staff and the way it has really been a staff effort through the years.

“This unimaginable turnout is indicative of the deep pleasure and pleasure that continues to energise this girls’s basketball program,” he said. “We’re actually proud that this staff continues to draw a number of the greatest and brightest scholar athletes in our nation… We’re right here tonight by way of our followers dedication, enthusiasm, exhausting work and because of the extraordinary group of ladies’s basketball alums.”

Amy Alger Irvin (1986-89) recalled a 1986 contest towards West Virginia when the Mountaineers had been Atlantic 10 members and had Georgeann Wells, the primary lady to slam dunk within the girls’s faculty sport.

At the moment, Duquesne was enjoying its house video games on the Civic Area and thru a smile defined how the Dukes emerged victorious that day.

“They got here to the Civic Area and lo and behold we beat them 54-50 and I thank the Civic Area as a result of it should’ve been further chilly that evening,” mentioned Irvin. “I don’t suppose they ever performed at that temperature and I believe that was a giant think about serving to us out.”

Irvin, a 1,000-point scorer and 2017 Atlantic 10 Legends Class recipient additionally mirrored on this being the fiftieth anniversary of Title IX.

Midway by way of her season, Irvin heard rumblings that one thing was amiss, this changed into a possible Title IX violation as a result of there weren’t as many ladies’s groups as males’s groups.

Till the violation was mounted, males’s groups can be ineligible for postseason play, so the athletic division known as members of the ladies’s basketball staff as much as type the nucleus of a observe staff.

Whereas the division regarded throughout campus for people with highschool observe expertise, the staff needed to signal papers and waivers for logistical causes.

“The athletic division we had been in compliance and the lads’s groups by no means missed a beat because of the ladies’s basketball staff,” mentioned Irvin. “To today nobody’s going to persuade me that the ladies’s basketball staff didn’t a job in what we’ve at present with the proliferation of ladies’s sports activities. We have now 10 varsity sports activities with three extra on the way in which, I’m going to present our staff a bit of credit score for that.”

Irvin ended her speech particularly chatting with this 12 months’s staff stating that many in attendance and celebrating 50 years are doing so from a perspective of wanting again on fond previous reminiscences.

“We will’t return… that’s achieved for us however it’s proper and correct to recollect, particularly on an event like tonight,” Irvin remarked. “I’m happy and proud for you and the alternatives that you’ve got forward. We’ve had the reward of time and perspective to understand that all the things we realized, skilled and labored for at Duquesne greater than ready us for achievement and accomplishment nicely past this campus and that’s my want for you too.”

Junior guard/ahead Amaya Hamilton represented the present staff and said that everybody on the occasion represented that the bonds made at Duquesne have clearly by no means been damaged and he or she seems to be ahead to creating these bonds as nicely.

“Basketball is what brings us all collectively, however this program represents a lot greater than only a sport,” said Hamilton. “The vast majority of us gamers have been enjoying the sport for so long as we will bear in mind. It’s loopy to suppose that we’ve put so a few years of follow into getting good at placing a ball by way of a hoop. That has introduced me extra alternatives than I ever might have imagined.”

A day later, Hamilton mirrored on her speech, throughout which she was loudly supported by her teammates. Although she admits to not get pleasure from public talking and her fingers shook behind the rostrum, there was a transparent sense of pleasure for expressing her ideas.

“It was actually particular,” Hamilton exclaimed. “I believe that our alumni imply a lot to us and all of us look as much as the entire former gamers a lot. we hope that they are going to all the time come again, and we’ll come again in the future and simply proceed to help the Duquesne Girls’s Basketball legacy.”

After Hamilton’s remarks, Burt recited a prolonged listing of thanks yous earlier than mentioning two scholar managers and launched his present staff.

His remarks had been then concluded by a quick video put collectively by Assistant Director, Artistic Media & Productions Maggie Fitzpatrick, which was nicely obtained.

Sunday’s occasion featured 24 alumni being acknowledged at halfcourt throughout halftime of the staff’s sport towards Massachusetts.

Although Burt was extraordinarily dissatisfied by the staff’s 83-61 loss wherein it was blitzed early by Massachusetts, his tone did change when requested to replicate on 50 years and being a part of that.

In his time at Duquesne, Burt has taken the Dukes to its first-ever NCAA Match look and 4 WNITs.

This program has had its share of accidents however at 14-8 believes, the usual of 20-win seasons and postseason play is again and all of this 12 months’s staff is projected to return subsequent 12 months as nicely.

“That’s the primary 50 years,” Burt mirrored. “Now this group we’ve right here, that didn’t play their greatest at present is the following 50 years. I hope to be right here for 15-20 of that, perhaps longer, however I hope to be right here for a protracted a part of that. A program that began 50 years in the past the place the ladies from that point talked in regards to the lack of help that they’d and the place we’re at now could be unimaginable. There’s an upward curve and plenty of development that we’ve had, and we hope that continues to occur, and I imagine that it’s going to.”

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Pitt’s Jeff Capel Remembers Billy Packer: ‘He was the Voice of School Basketball’



Final Thursday, considered one of faculty basketball’s most legendary voices, Billy Packer, handed away on the age of 82.

The longtime voice of the NCAA Ultimate 4, Packer had ACC roots, starring as a participant at Wake Forest and main the Demon Deacons to 2 ACC titles and a Ultimate 4 in his enjoying profession. He then went on to function an assistant coach at Wake Forest earlier than becoming a member of NBC and dealing there for 34 years as an analyst, calling high-profile video games simply the way in which that he noticed them.

“For me, rising up, he was just like the voice of school basketball,” Pitt head coach Jeff Capel stated on Monday. “Rising up proper there in North Carolina, watching these video games after I was little, I lived and breathed ACC basketball after I was rising up. Once I bought to sixth grade, my dad grew to become an assistant coach at Wake Forest and I bought to study extra about Billy then as a result of he performed at Wake. Obtained to satisfy him.”

Packer then moved over to CBS in 1981, calling numerous video games alongside Brent Musberger, Jim Nantz, and others. From 1975 to 2008, Packer known as each males’s Ultimate 4 sport, cementing himself as a legend of the game of school hoops.

“Simply listening to his voice, and what he meant to varsity basketball basically, however particularly proper there on Tobacco Highway,” Capel continued about Packer. “Massive time loss for the faculty basketball neighborhood. You already know, he was the voice of the NCAA Match after I was rising up. He was the man. You watch it, you get to the Ultimate 4, and simply see him. I keep in mind listening to the decision when Lorenzo Charles dunked within the air-ball, and simply listening to, ‘They received it! They received it! They’re going to Albuquerque!’ when State received within the Ultimate 4. So I used to be actually unhappy to listen to about his passing.”

Capel references considered one of Packer’s most iconic calls, wherein he shouted, “They received it! On the dunk!” after Lorenzo Charles received Jim Valvano’s NC State squad the 1983 nationwide title on a buzzer-beating slam.

Capel and the Panthers will journey right down to ACC nation to proceed their season with one other convention matchup in opposition to North Carolina on the Dean Dome. That sport will tip off at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 1.

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