Josh Pratt said he knew the scholarship offers would come eventually, but even he was caught off guard when he landed his first two Division I offers in recent weeks.

“It meant everything to me and it’s something I’ve been working for,” said Pratt, a standout at Aliquippa, “but they came a little earlier than expected.”

Although, considering how Pratt ended his sophomore season, it probably shouldn’t come as much of a shock.

Pratt, a 6-foot-1 guard, was one of the stars of the PIAA championships, pouring in 36 points on 14-of-19 shooting to lead Aliquippa to its sixth PIAA title courtesy of a 74-52 win against Holy Cross in the PIAA Class 2A final.

“I feel like it definitely opened some eyes,” Pratt said.

So much so that just six days later, Pratt received his first Division I offer from Hofstra. And just over a week after that, Pratt picked up his second, this one from Northeastern, which like Hofstra competes in the Coastal Athletic Association (CAA).

Pratt averaged a team-best 17 points per game for Aliquippa after spending his freshman season at Lincoln Park. A PUP all-star pick, Pratt was at his best in the biggest games, knocking down a WPIAL championship record seven 3-pointers among his 30 points to help the Quips beat Greensburg Central Catholic to capture a record 14th title.

Pratt’s outstanding play and big-scoring ways have carried over to AAU season, where he has had outings of 43 and 39 points. He is now playing for West Virginia Gold, which will play in next weekend’s Jam Fest at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

“I think this AAU season is going to be a big one for my recruitment,” said Pratt, who said he has heard from Drexel and IUP.

Pratt isn’t the only member of his family being pursued by colleges for basketball. His brother, L.A. Pratt, is a former Lincoln Park standout who is in the transfer portal after spending his first two college seasons at Elon. He averaged 6.9 points in 22.1 minutes per game this past season.

“He’s been very helpful,” Josh Pratt said of his brother. “He was a big player back in high school and he’s helped me become a better player.”

Michael Santicola helped deliver Moon a WPIAL Class 5A championship by producing 14 points and 10 rebounds in a win against Franklin Regional. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Santicola pulls in first Division I offer

Moon’s Mikey Santicola picked up an offer from Mercyhurst on April 6. If the offer had come three days earlier, it would have been a Division II offer, which Santicola said would have been great in itself. But since Mercyhurst announced on April 4 that it will be making the move to Division I beginning this fall, Santicola’s offer was now his first D1 offer, which Santicola admitted added some extra excitement to the news.

“Yeah, a little bit,” said Santicola, who already owned an offer from Gannon. “Just the feeling of it was a little better. It’s for sure a cool experience to get a Division I offer.”

It might not be the last for Santicola, a 6-5 junior guard-forward who was one of the key players on a Moon team that went 26-4, won the WPIAL Class 5A championship and advanced to the PIAA semifinals this past season. Santicola tallied 14 points and a game-high 10 rebounds against Franklin Regional in the WPIAL final, numbers that were highlighted by his two 3-pointers midway through the fourth quarter that turned a tie game into a six-point Moon lead. The Tigers went on to grab a 53-48 win.

Like many juniors, this sets up to be an important AAU season for Santicola, who is playing for Team Wildcat. He will be in Ohio for a tournament this weekend before taking part in the Pittsburgh Jam Fest next weekend.

“I’ve been looking forward to this since the day our season ended,” said Santicola, who said the schools showing interest include Robert Morris, West Liberty and Nova Southeastern.

Santicola comes from a family of basketball players. His sister, Sarah, is a former Moon standout who now plays at Allegheny. And his father, Michael, played at Moon alongside future NBA player Keith Tower and helped the Tigers win a section title in 1987, just like Mikey did this season. But the title of best basketball player in the family might currently belong to Santicola’s maternal grandfather, Ted Kondrad, a 6-7 forward who played at Pitt in the late 1950s and was a teammate of both Don Hennon and Mike Ditka.

Portal news

Two days after his Purdue team lost to Connecticut in the national championship, former Butler star Ethan Morton entered the transfer portal. A former four-star recruit, Morton played in 132 games in his four seasons at Purdue. He made 29 starts during the 2022-23 season before seeing his minutes cut significantly this past season. He has one remaining year of eligibility.

Also hitting the portal this week was Peters Township graduate Journey Thompson, who played the past two seasons at Arizona State. Thompson started 25 games for the Sun Devils this past season, averaging 5.5 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. Thompson originally committed to Delaware out of high school, but when then-Delaware coach Natasha Adair left for Arizona State, Thompson followed. She has two years of eligibility remaining.

Baseball commitment

Mars’ Jackson Fox (Washington & Jefferson).

Basketball commitments

Baldwin’s Nate Richards (Franciscan); Penn Hills’ Egypt Coleman (Point Park); West Allegheny’s Brandon Bell (La Roche); Woodland Hills’ Hope Hawkins (California).

Football commitments

Beaver’s Nick Williams (Washington & Jefferson); North Catholic’s Brady Koziara (John Carroll); Shaler’s Kaden Orga (Washington & Jefferson).

Softball commitment

Southmoreland’s Makayla Etling (North Carolina Pembroke).

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at

Brad Everett

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at