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Progress report for Class of 2009

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With the boys’ basketball season in full swing, here is a quick look at some of Pitt’s incoming recruits for the Class of 2009.

· Dante Taylor, a 6-foot-9 five-star power forward from Fort Washington (Md.) National Christian Academy (15-4) is coming off a 33-point, 15-rebound performance in a 65-63 victory over Friendship Collegiate on Wednesday. Taylor, who also had 34 points and 14 assists in a victory over Jericho Christian earlier in the month, has boosted his average to 21 points per game.

· Lamar Patterson, a 6-foot-5, 220-pounder, helped Newark (N.J.) St. Benedict’s to an 89-53 victory over Lance Stephenson-led Brooklyn Lincoln (N.Y.) in the Newark Invitational on Saturday night at Prudential Center. Stephenson, a 6-5 five-star shooting guard, had 19 points. Patterson also had an outstanding tournament this past week at the Spalding Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass., including 19 points and 13 rebounds against Wheeler (Ga.). Hoopscoop.com ranked Patterson as the 13th-best player at the event, which was jammed with top players (for instance, five-star guard Kenny Boynton was ranked 16th). Patterson, who transferred from Lancaster McCaskey for his senior season, has contributed to St. Benedicts’ 19-0 start and a No. 3 ranking in the USA Today Top 25.

· Talib Zanna, a 6-9 forward at Forestville (Md.) Bishop McNamara, is averaging 13.1 points and 7.9 rebounds. He has at least seven double-doubles for McNamara, which is 14-4 and ranked No. 5 in the DC Metro area.

Couldn’t get a whole lot on J.J. Richardson. His team Fort Bend (Texas) Hightower was ranked among the top teams in Texas in pre-season, but have struggled to a 15-9 start.

· Also, Taylor, Patterson and Zanna were among the boys nominated to be a McDonald’s All-American. A total of 1,500 boys across the country make the first list. The list is whittled down to 100 finalists in February. The 24-man team will be announced later. The 24th annual McDonald’s All-American game will be held April 1 in Miami.

Pitt hasn’t had a McDonald’s All-American since Brian Shorter and Bobby Martin in 1987.

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