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September 19, 2012

Newkirk finds the place he wants to be

Josh Newkirk had planned to take several official visits before making his decision on college, but after his visit to Pitt this past weekend, the decision was easy for the Raleigh (N.C.) Word of God Christian Academy point guard.

"I figured there is no point in waiting and it is where I want to be," Newkirk told Panther-Lair.com Wednesday evening shortly after he committed to Pitt.

"I called [head coach Jamie Dixon] and told him and he was real excited. My dad also spoke to [assistant coach Brandin Knight] and they were both real happy."

In addition to Pitt, Newkirk had offers from Georgia Tech, Missouri, Memphis, Tennessee, Oklahoma State, and N.C. State. But his relationship with the Pitt coaches set the Panthers apart, and Pitt's impending move to the ACC was a key factor as well.

"That was big for me," Newkirk said of Pitt's future ACC membership. "I was born and raised in Raleigh and that was the conference I always wanted to play in. My family can see me play a lot this way. The ACC was definitely a big factor in my decision."

Newkirk is Pitt's second commit in the class of 2013, joining four-star forward Mike Young. Newkirk is also the second point guard to commit to Pitt in the last two classes, along with current freshman James Robinson, and the two should complement each other well.

Robinson's game is based on steady, productive, and efficient play with a high basketball IQ and strength, while Newkirk adds an element to the position that this program has not seen in a while. The 6'2" athlete is known for his elite quickness and jumping ability, and he has the potential to change a game with one play at any time.

"They told me they want to speed things up when I get there," Newkirk said. "They want me to use my speed and quickness and create for my teammates, kind of open things up. Right away as a freshman, I want to contribute and be a leader.

"I need to work on being more vocal and making my jump shot more consistent. I am ready to get there and contribute though. I will be ready."

Now Newkirk is looking forward to getting to Pitt and playing with his future team.

"I am so excited. It feels great to be done with it and get the decision out of the way. It is just overwhelming right now. I have been on the phone all day. My family and friends are excited. Just a great day.

"Just tell the fans I can't wait to get there and play in front of them and the Oakland Zoo!"






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