The Pitt basketball roster for the upcoming season is coming into focus after forward Kene Chukwuku announced on Thursday that he will be staying to play for Jeff Capel.
Chukwuka will give Capel a strong defender and a presence on the boards.
Following his decision, PSN spoke to Chukwuku and asked why he decided to return.
“I stayed because I believe in the vision of Coach Capel and the staff, and I’m a loyal guy at heart,” said Chukwuku. “I think when Coach Stallings got fired, it was natural for me to think that I wanted to be out too, but when I really thought about it, Coach Capel provides a really good opportunity for myself as well as for the team.
”Also, I like the city and last season left a bad taste in everybody’s mouth and I want to be a part of changing that.”
Chukwuka was the last member of the 2017-18 team to decide on his future and it took a while for him to decide. Chukwuka appreciates the patience that Capel had with him.
“That’s just another testament to what a professional he is,” Chukwuka said. “I respect him tremendously and I respect him even more after that. I get real weird when it’s time for recruiting. I don’t get very social and I feel like everybody is just pulling me different directions and just telling me things I want to hear. Coach Capel allowed me to take my time and respected me in that sense and I’m very grateful for that. With that being said, I will now return the favor by giving my everything everyday.”
During this last month, Chukwuka got the opportunity to know his new coach and is excited to play for him.
“[He’s] just a stand up guy that’s very transparent, what you see is what you get,” Chukwuka said. “I feel like that’s why a lot of guys like him so much. In a business full of fake people it’s rare to see that.”
Chukwuka makes eight returning players on the 2017-18 roster, to go along with three newcomers.