Exclusive: Damon Wilson Talks About Leaving Pitt
Two years ago, Damon Wilson arrived at Pitt as a 4-star guard from Virginia and was looked at as a key member of Pitt’s basketball future.
Fast forward two years and things have changed. Jamie Dixon is no longer Pitt’s coach and Wilson is no longer a member of the Panthers basketball team.
Five days ago, Wilson announced his intentions of transferring and tonight he talked exclusively with Pittsburgh Sports Now about what went into his decision.
“I kind of knew as the season was going on and then really during ACC play that Pittsburgh possibly wasn’t the right fit for me. I talked to my parents and it’s never easy to make a decision like that but I just felt leaving Pittsburgh was going to be the best thing for me moving forward in my basketball career,” said Wilson.
Wilson was a big get for Dixon as a 4-star player with major offers but couldn’t find a way to earn playing time this year under Kevin Stallings.
“I kind of struggled with that and some of my teammates were also wondering why he wasn’t playing me. I guess when he came here he fell in love with the seniors and developed a huge bond with them. I guess that’s what he was going to live and die with.
“He wanted the seniors to go out with a big year and I could understand that because they had more experience than any of us. He just felt like going with them was the best opportunity to win games,” said Wilson.
I asked Wilson if at any point during the season he approached Stallings to get an explanation for why he wasn’t playing.
“I kind of did but it was more some of the other players on the team went and asked him instead of me.”
It was kind of hard to understand how other people saw it and not him but I’m not going to knock him. He’s an excellent coach and his offense is outstanding. He’s definitely a good fit for the ACC but I just felt like I wasn’t a fit for him and he didn’t recruit me” said Wilson.
As Wilson mentioned, Stallings didn’t recruit him. I asked him the difference between the two men.
“Both are outstanding coaches. People person wise, I’d say Coach Stallings has a good personality as far as connecting with the players and stuff. But, the reason I came to Pittsburgh was because I was able to connect with Coach Dixon but I could see that other players connecting to Stallings easier. Both are excellent coaches though.”
As far as his next home, Wilson says schools are already calling him but he’s telling them to contact his parents because he wants to concentrate on finishing academically well at Pitt.
Although he’s excited for a fresh start, Wilson is disappointed things didn’t work out at Pitt.
“The reason I stayed is because I thought things would be special and the people and the connection I had with the team already and that we’d do something big. I’m not happy with how I was played during the season and how many minutes I got but it’ll be fuel to make me better so that I won’t have to go through that again.”