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Vukovcan: Capel’s ‘Dumpster Fire’ Comment Has New Meaning



Kevin Stallings only spent two years with the Pitt basketball program and looking back, that’s probably a good thing.

Despite being gone for over two years, Pitt fans were reminded of him twice this week and for all the wrong reasons.

Following Tuesday’s loss to Florida State, Jeff Capel’s made a now-infamous postgame reference to the Pitt program being a “dumpster fire” when he took it over.

Thursday, the NCAA announced that the Pitt men’s basketball was being placed on probation and Stallings will have a three-year NCAA show cause for his role in recruiting and coaching violations.

Three non-coaching members of the coaching staff are alleged to have participated in coaching men’s basketball practices from June 2016 through March 2018. Stallings also deleted practice videos in an attempt from being caught and did not end the violations after being warned by Pitt athletics department administrators. The investigation also uncovered impermissibly created individualized recruiting videos for 12 prospects to watch during their visits to campus.

When Capel called the program he inherited a “dumpster fire,” it was easy to think of the 0-19 in league play season in 2017-18 and the players that Capel inherited.

Most of those players left Pitt when Stallings did, so we decided to take a look at how that group has fared this season.

Terrell Brown, Center (Providence, Rhode Island): Brown is in his junior season after deciding to remain with Pitt. Although his offensive production and overall game is still very much inconsistent, Brown has developed into a solid defensive player and tremendous shot-blocker. This season, Brown is averaging 5.4 points, 3.6 rebounds per game and shooting 53.7 from the field.

Marcus Carr, Guard (Toronto, Ontario): After having to sit out last season because of transferring to Minnesota, Carr is having a very solid first season with the Golden Gophers averaging 15.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game. Carr was a 4-star recruit so this type of production isn’t unexpected.

Kene Chukwuka, Forward (Stockholm, Sweden): Prior to this season, Chukwuka was averaging 17 minutes of player in his first two seasons with Pitt but has missed the 2019-20 season due to injury. Despite his minutes, Chukwuka was a role player and someone that was looked to bring some energy off the bench.

Kham Davis, Guard (Denver, Colorado): After transferring to Weber State, the junior is averaging 7.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists and is shooting 42% from the field. Davis has scored in double-figures 7 times this season, including a season-high 14 points against Northern Colorado. He is starting an averaging 29 minutes per game.

Malik Ellison, Forward (Voorhees, New Jersey): Ellison has a co-captain of the Panthers in Capel’s first season but only averaged 5.8 points and 3.8 rebounds despite being a starter for much of the season. Ellison decided to transfer to Hartford and that’s really worked out well for him as he’s averaging 17.8 points, 10.4 rebounds per game and is shooting 50.8% from the field. Ellison has five 20-point games and scored a season-high 31 against Albany.

Samson George, Forward (First Love Academy): George is still a member of the Pitt basketball program. In three years he’s played in a total of 24 games and has averaged 1.1 points and 1.1 rebounds.

Peace Ilegomah, Center (Nigeria): Stallings brought Illegomah in as a project and hoped to get something out of his 7-foot frame but that hasn’t happened yet for Illegomah, who’s now at Evansville. Peace has only played in 9 games this season and averaging 0.2 points and 0.4 rebounds per game. This was no doubt Stallings biggest miss.

Shamiel Stevenson, Forward (Toronto, Ontario): Stevenson averaged 8.5 points and 4 rebounds as a freshman under Stallings but played in only four games last season for Capel and is currently sitting out this season after transferring to Nebraska. Stevenson will have two years remaining at Nebraska.

Parker Stewart, Guard (Union City, Tennessee): In his only season at Pitt, Stewart looked like someone with talent and the ability to shoot the ball. During the 2017-18 season, Stewart averaged 9.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 38% from 3-point range in 26 minutes per game. Stewart transferred to Tennessee- Martin to play for his father and after sitting out last season, he is averaging 19.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists and is shooting 42% from the field. Stewart and Carr were Stallings best two players in that recruiting class.

Jared Wilson-Frame, Guard (Hartford, Connecticut): In two years with Pitt, Wilson-Frame averaged 12.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. Considering the talent he was surrounded with, Wilson-Frame was a productive college player.

Stallings brought in two legitimate starters (Carr and Stewart) in that Class of 2017 but when you bring in a total of 10 total players, you need more than two and for the most part, that class was filled with role players and a couple of guys that probably aren’t D-1 players.

That’s a big reason for the Pitt program turning into that dumpster fire. To later find out that Stallings was in violation of NCAA rules, including breaking recruiting rules, while being unable to even amass a single conference victory in Stallings’ final year, was the ultimate insult.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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4 years ago

Some of the rules- like not being able to show individualized videos to the players- are straight up ridiculous. But if you break the rules and try to cover them up, you are going to pay the consequence. Which in this case is living comfortably in retirement while the team you destroyed slowly tries to recover. Life isn’t fair, is it?

TJ Sutt
TJ Sutt
4 years ago

If Stallings continued the illegal behavior even after being warned … wow. that probably was part of the “file” that Lyke was building against him .. so, really, it wasn’t just the tirade against some louisville fans. hope some of this was used to reduce his buyout.

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