Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Dalton Pepper and Danny Jennings both committed to West Virginia within a few hours on Friday, once again proving that Bob Huggins and his staff are a force to be reckoned with from New York to Philly. Pepper committed at about 3 p.m., and Jennings followed suit around 7.
Pepper, a 6-5 shooting guard from Pennsbury (Pa.) High ranked No. 134 in the Class of 2009, chose West Virginia over Temple, Villanova, Wake Forest and Miami.
“I went to West Virginia (in early July for an unofficial),” said Pepper, named Most Outstanding Player at the Hoop Group Camp at The College of New Jersey earlier this month. “I worked out with (Devin Ebanksand Kevin Jones) when I went down there. We went out and stuff. I got to know them.”
The 6-9, 240-pound Jennings, a native of Staten Island, N.Y. ranked No. 16 among centers in the class, chose WVU over Louisville, Rutgers, Minnesota, Xavier, DePaul, Marquette, St. John’s and others. He was recently named MVP of the Rumble in the Bronx, won by his Gauchos AAU team.
“West Virginia — we are on the rise this year, next year, and the next couple of years. We’re about to start a whole new revolution,” Jennings told Jim Laise of WVSports.com.
Jennings becomes the fourth New York-area player to commit to Huggins, joining Jones, Ebanks and Darryl “Truck” Bryant of St. Raymond’s in the Bronx.
“Coach Huggins has a reputation for getting players to The League,” Jennings told Laise. “Look at Joe Alexander. I never even heard of Joe Alexander until this year. He blew up under Coach Huggins. That’s the reason I’m coming to West Virginia.”
Jennings spent last season at national prep powerhouse Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., but will prep a fifth year next season at either South Kent (Conn.) or St. Thomas more, the alma mater of Ebanks, an incoming West Virginia freshman forward from Long Island City.
South Kent already has New York standouts Kevin Parrom and Omari Lawrence (separated shoulder) coming in, as well as All-New Jersey guard Mike Burwell.
Look for West Virginia to target 6-10 center Aaric Murray of Glen Mills (Pa.) next. Murray had a great Reebok All-American Camp and now schools like Kentucky and Syracuse are also trying to get involved…
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.