From the moment he was hired, Jeff Capel began recruiting four-star Kennedy Catholic center Oscar Tshiebwe and appeared to be making progress.
However, any thoughts of Pitt landing this big-time talent were dashed yesterday when Tshiebwe released his top 8 schools. Tshiebwe tweeted a final eight of Kentucky, Ole Miss, Illinois, Kansas, West Virginia, Baylor, Georgetown and Virginia.
Considering some of his previous comments, it surprised many that Pitt wasn’t included on this list. West Virginia has been considered the favorite from the start, but why didn’t Pitt even make Tshiebwe’s initial cut?
Pittsburgh Sports Now spoke to a source close to the situation and had a fairly simple explanation.
Tshiebwe, a native of Congo, lives with a guardian and from what PSN has learned, he is controlling most of what is happening with regards to Tshiebwe’s recruitment. In fact, PSN is told that Tshiebwe really likes Capel and Pitt, but he was told to eliminate the Panthers.
The reason for that sentiment towards Pitt isn’t clear, but it could have to do with something that happen or actually didn’t happen a few years ago.
Tshiebwe’s guardian also hosted another star African forward for Kennedy Catholic not all that long ago. Sagaba Konate is now a forward for West Virginia and lived with Tshiebwe’s guardian while he was a member of the Kennedy Catholic basketball team.
Former Pitt coach Jamie Dixon was one of the first to offer Konate, but at the end of the day, ended up taking Virginia forward Corey Manigault over him. Some believe that Konate was interested in committing to Pitt, but Dixon didn’t give him the opportunity.
Tshiebwe’s guardian has developed a strong relationship with West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins and many believe he’s been pushing him to Morgantown from the start.
Although it’s disappointing for Pitt to lose out on this local talent, recruiting is a funny business and sometimes things are out of a school’s control no matter how well a coach does recruiting a player.