Golden verbally commits to play basketball at Pittsburgh

Bryce Golden (41) goes up for a dunk for Saint James High School in Hagerstown, Maryland, last season. Golden, a Middletown resident, recently verbally committed to play basketball at the University of Pittsburgh. Golden will be a senior at Saint James this season. Courtesy photo/ Ellen Golden

Bryce Golden had plenty of options when choosing a college to play basketball, but he recently found the perfect fit.

The Middletown resident, who is a rising senior at St. James School in Hagerstown, Maryland, recently verbally committed to play for the University of Pittsburgh. He will be able to sign his letter of intent this fall.

“I think with Pittsburgh I got the best of both worlds with the academic and the athletics,” Golden said in a recent phone interview. “I think (Pittsburgh head) coach (Kevin) Stallings and the other assistant coaches have built a really strong bond with my family and I.”

Golden, whose brother Grant played for two years at Sherando, said he went on two unofficial visits and that was enough for him to decide that Pittsburgh was the place for him.

He said that his first visit was during the basketball season and he attended a home game against Syracuse. Despite the Panthers struggling last season, Golden said he was impressed with the fans.

“Just seeing the fan support for that game — it was a rough season so far — but it was a sold out crowd in front of Syracuse,” Golden said. “So I realized that, no matter what, the fan support is always going to be there.”

He said he went back for another unofficial visit a few days before making his decision to check out the campus and was really happy with what he saw. Golden said he wants to be a physical therapist and Pittsburgh has a great physical therapy program.

Golden verbally committed on June 15, after taking time to consider his options.

The 6-foot-9 forward also had offers from Clemson, Davidson, George Washington, Maryland, N.C. State, Penn State, Richmond, Seton Hall, Texas Tech, Central Florida and Xavier.

His brother Grant is a rising 6-foot-9 sophomore at Richmond. Golden said he thought about playing with his brother, but decided he wanted to go somewhere different.

“I’ve always kind of been Grant’s little brother for a long time,” Golden said. “So I figured now’s the opportunity to start doing my own thing and making my own name.”

Golden has been at St. James, a boarding school, since he was 13. St. James plays a national basketball schedule, and he said it’s really helped him with his game.

He said that it’s been tough living away from home during the high school year, but it’s helped him mature as well.

“It kind of gives us that college environment early on,” Golden said. “I’m glad that when I head to Pittsburgh I’m not going have to worry about how to do my own laundry, or how to live on my own because I kind of got that experience in high school.”

Golden said the Pittsburgh coaching staff has told him they expect him to see playing time early on.

“They kind of see me playing a major role right when I get there,” Golden said. “Right now they’re kind of lacking that stretch-4 kind of position that can do a lot of different things pass, shoot, dribble, facilitate, make plays.”

The Panthers went 16-17 last year, including 4-14 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Golden said he’s happy to be able to play in such an elite conference.

“The ACC is the best conference in college basketball,” Golden said. “I’m just excited. I’m ready to go into the ACC and go to battle with the team and hopefully make the fans proud.”