John DeGroat ended his recruitment on Wednesday by officially announcing for the Pittsburgh Panthers.
A 6-6, 215 pound small forward/swingman from Northeastern J.C. in Sterling, Colo., DeGroat took fall trips to Pitt, Oklahoma and Gonzaga before casting his lot with the Panthers.
"In the final analysis, he felt comfortable with the Pittsburgh coaching staff and team," NJC Head Coach Brian Joyce told JUCO Junction. "Plus, Pitt is closer to home than the other schools. He had nothing negative to say about the other schools, it's just that he had a comfort level at Pittsburgh."
DeGroat very nearly took a fourth official visit to St. John's this weekend (Oct. 10-12).
"He tried to move up his visit to St. John's, but it didn't work out," Joyce reflected. "He had a genuine and sincere interest in St. John's, but Coach Jarvis was out of town the weekend that he wanted to move the visit to."
A native of Monticello, N.Y., DeGroat averaged 10 points and six rebounds last winter at NJC. While those numbers might not jump off the page to the casual observer, we liked DeGroat's feel for the game and shooting ability when we saw him in July at the Mullen JC Showcase.
"We emphasize the team concept here, and team goals supercede individual goals," Joyce said. "John is a tough, hard-nosed player, a great kid and a good teammate."
DeGroat won't turn 19 until January, so Joyce feels there's considerable upside with his star swingman.
"He can shoot it at any level, and there's a pureness to his shot because of his size," Joyce said. "He can also rebound the ball strongly and is a good athlete."
If DeGroat stays on track academically, he should graduate in the spring.
JUCO Junction is hoping to catch NJC in action this winter. If we do, we will provide another update on DeGroat at that time.