Santos didn't want to wait
Last Monday, Pitt offered Nate Santos a scholarship.
This week, the Windsor (Conn.) Loomis Chaffee forward accepted, becoming Pitt’s first commitment in the class of 2021.
“I just think with Pitt there was an opportunity that I didn’t really want to pass on,” Santos told Panther-Lair.com the morning after he committed. “I didn’t really want to wait. The opportunity was there, I just didn’t want to wait too long and I hopped on it as soon as I could.”
Santos was originally a member of the 2020 recruiting class, but after he suffered a torn ACL in February 2019, he reclassified to 2021. Creighton, Dayton, Illinois, TCU, Virginia Tech and Xavier offered him earlier in the process, but after his injury and the COVID-related challenges of the last year, Santos’ other top option was George Washington.
Still, Santos said that he was impressed with head coach Jeff Capel and the entire Pitt program, and that’s how the Panthers jumped to the top of his list after just a few weeks of contact.
“I think Pitt and Coach Capel, and Coach Capel being so experienced, I just think it was the best opportunity for me. I think Coach Capel can - I think he’s bringing the program in the right direction. I believe in him in developing me as a player. I think that this program has the potential to become what it has been in the past. It just had a lot of opportunities.”
Santos is an intriguing player for Pitt’s roster. He’s a 6’7” forward but his strength is in his shooting, so he could play as a swingman at shooting guard or small forward, where his height would create mismatches and advantages.
The shooting alone would be a boost for a team that ranked No. 11 in the ACC in three-point shooting percentage and No. 14 - out of 15 teams - in three-point field goals made.
“I know they need some outside shooting, so I think I can provide that,” he said.
Pitt doesn’t really have a player like Santos, which should create some opportunities for him to contribute as a freshman, although he knows that he’ll have to put in the work.
“I mean Coach Capel he said that everything is earned because he really loves toughness and hard work,” Santos said. “He said there’s going to be opportunities, but you’ve got to earn it with hard work. Nothing is promised, but obviously the opportunity is there and I got to put the work in first.”
Santos will move to Pitt this summer, but for now, the Geneva (Ill.) native is focused on getting ready for the rigors of playing in college.
“I think I just want to continue on developing my body and getting better defensively, and those little small tools because the ACC has a lot of grown men so probably just furthering developing my body.”
For his part, Santos says that Pitt fans should look forward to him putting in maximum effort.
“They can expect me to work as hard as I can and try my best to help contribute to the team in every possible way that I can.”