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How Pitt Will Replace John Hugley after Suspension?



On Friday morning, Pitt announced that freshman forward John Hugley had been suspended indefinitely for disciplinary reasons. This announcement comes after Pittsburgh Sports Now obtained documents revealing that Hugley was charged with felony counts of criminal conspiracy and receiving stolen property. 

Through seven games this season, the highly-touted recruit Hugley averaged 5.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 14.9 minutes per game. His career-high in minutes, 24, came in his most recent appearance when Pitt took on Louisville back on Dec. 22. In that game, Hugley scored seven points on 3-for-8 shooting to go along with seven rebounds. 

John Hugley (23) December 22, 2020 – Photo by David Hague/PSN

Looking forward to the upcoming game against Syracuse, Pitt will most likely use similar minute distribution as they did previously against the Orange. In that game, Hugley was out due to COVID-19 protocols and senior Terrell Brown saw increased minutes and delivered a huge game, scoring eight points including a loud alley-oop in the final stages of the comeback. 

“I thought the other guy that was really, really good for us was Terrell Brown,” head coach Jeff Capel said after the win against Syracuse. “He’s been such an interesting case, an interesting guy this year because he has been a part of some huge wins for us and played well when he hadn’t played as much. But, he’s kept a great attitude. He’s shown up everyday and he has worked his butt off. I think because of that, he played so well this evening.”

Other than Brown, Abdoul-Karim Coulibaly will have to step up inside. Coulibaly has been rock-solid on defense this season, excelling specifically on screen hedges and switches. Because of the staff’s confidence in him on that end of the floor, he has earned a consistent spot in the starting lineup, although his offensive production would not suggest that he would be a starter.

Coulibaly is currently averaging 3.9 points and 3.9 rebounds in 18.9 minutes per game. If it were not for his struggles with foul trouble, he would very likely be averaging more minutes per game. He is averaging 3.25 fouls per game and has fouled out in contests against Northwestern and Louisville.

Through eight games played, the sophomore forward has fouled four or more times in five games. Without Hugley on the bench for the time being, Coulibaly will have to stay out of foul trouble in order to make a big impact for Pitt. 

The lone big man left on the Pitt roster is Max Amadasun. Amadasun, like Coulibaly, is an international product and came from Ireland to the U.S. to play high school ball for basketball powerhouse Our Savior Lutheran before coming to Pitt. 

In high school, the 6-foot-10 big man averaged 13 points and 11 rebounds per game. He scored in double figures 26 times and earned 12 double-doubles in his time at OSL. As a recruit, he was ranked as the no. 41 center in the nation and no. five overall player in New York in his class. 

While Amadasun has only appeared in two games this season, both times in blowout wins, he is certainly a candidate to receive more minutes now that Hugley is out of the picture for the time being.

Pitt will look to work around the loss of Hugley when it takes on Syracuse at noon on Saturday, Jan. 16 on AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh. After the Syracuse game, Pitt’s next three games come against Duke, Boston College, and North Carolina.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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