Archbishop Wood's Tyree Pickron (above) committed to Quinnipiac on Thursday night. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
Weighing his three collegiate choices in his mind, Tyree Pickron was having a difficult time separating one from the other two.
The Bowling Green, Quinnipiac and Stony Brook coaching staffs had all been heavily pursuing the Archbishop Wood senior guard all summer, each one making him a top priority for their 2018 recruiting classes. All three played at a similar level, and all three had something to offer.
But a decision had to be made.
“I just went with a gut feeling and just rolled with that,” Pickron said.
So Pickron called up Quinnipiac’s first-year head coach Baker Dunleavy and committed Thursday night.
He’s the first 2018 commitment score for Dunleavy, the former Villanova associate head coach who’s just starting his first collegiate head coaching gig.
Dunleavy got the Quinnipiac job on March 28. His first offer, two days later, was to Pickron.
“That meant a lot to me,” Pickron said. “He said he’d been watching me for a while and he thinks I’m one of the best shot-makers he’s seen, and he wanted to offer me the first scholarship he was going to give out.”
Pickron got to know Dunleavy during his junior season at Wood, when Villanova was recruiting Pickron’s Archbishop Wood teammate, Collin Gillespie.
“I went to a game with Collin when they played Georgetown and that’s the first time I met (Dunleavy), and me and him just kind of bonded from there,” Pickron said. “I like him a lot and I liked the school as soon as I saw it.”
At Villanova, where he served as an assistant under Jay Wright from 2010-17 after playing under him from 2003-06, Dunleavy was an integral part of a Wildcats’ program that won the 2016 NCAA National Championship as well as each of the last four Big East regular-season titles.
Now, he’s trying to bring that level of success with him to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conferece (MAAC), which Quinnipiac joined in 2013-14 from the Northeast Conference (NEC). Under the direction of former head coach Tom Moore, the Bobcats won 20 games in their inaugural season in the MAAC but were just 19-42 over the last two years.
In 19 years as a Division I program, Quinnipiac has never been to the NCAA Tournament. Dunleavy and his staff were brought in to change that.
“Seeing what he’d been around and what he’d seen and being at a winning program, I’m hoping that (Dunleavy) brings that with us,” Pickron said. “And I’ve been around winning for a little bit now, so just hoping all of it combines.”
Pickron, a 6-3 shooting guard, will be a four-year starter for a Wood program that’s become one of the best in the state under fifth-year head coach John Mosco.
Led last year by Gillespie -- the Catholic League MVP is now a freshman at ‘Nova -- as well as Pickron, seniors Matt Cerruti (Lock Haven) and Keith Otto, the Vikings won their first ever Catholic League, District 12 and PIAA state titles last season, going 28-3 for easily the program’s best year ever.
“(Dunleavy) always told me that the way we do things [at Wood] is similar to the way they do things [at Villanova], and that’s why they liked Collin so much,” Pickron said. “He always talked to me about that.”
Pickron is the second Wood senior to commit to a Division I school, joining point guard Andrew Funk, who committed to Bucknell last week. Fellow seniors Seth Pinkney and Karrington Wallace both have several Division I offers but have not yet set commitment dates.
As a junior, he averaged 13.5 ppg, scoring a career-high 32 points in the state quarterfinals against Spring Grove.
A terrific 3-point shooter, who knows how to pass and cut to find space, Pickron is a also strong rebounder and defender off the wing. This summer, with K-Low Elite on the Adidas Gauntlet circuit, he averaged 15.3 ppg and made 41.9 percent of his 3-point attempts.
“Baker and [assistant] coach Shaun [Morris] talked to me a lot about coming off ball screens, them using me in that way,” Pickron said. “(I’m working on) getting comfortable making plays off the ball screen, making plays off the bounce, stuff like that.”