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Opinion

Vukovcan: Are Jeff Capel and Pitt Fighting a Losing Battle?

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The Pitt basketball program took another punch to the gut on Sunday as once again they lost out on an elite recruit.

After dragging his decision out and turning the end of his recruitment into a circus, five-star center Efton Reid made the announcement on Sunday that he’ll be playing for Will Wade and LSU. The announcement was not what Jeff Capel was hoping to hear but in the back of his mind, it’s probably not a total surprise.

What happened Sunday is yet another glaring example of what a corrupt and slimy business college basketball is, and there doesn’t appear to be anything that’s going to change things.

I’m going to start off by addressing the elephant in the room and that’s Wade. The fact that he’s still employed is all you need to know about how corrupt and scandalous college basketball is. In case you forgot, here’s the type of person Wade is and likely a reason LSU has been so successful recruiting during his tenure.

Wade shouldn’t be coaching college basketball, and while there’s no evidence that Wade has compensated another player “better than the rookie minimum,” the fact that he hasn’t been punished for that sentence puts doubt into every part of the process.

The disheartening thing for programs like Pitt is that their are other programs in the country enjoying this nice run in recruiting like Wade and LSU. Think about it, aside from the handful of blue bloods, what schools do you hear involved with nearly every high level high school recruit or high level transfer? None of Arizona, Auburn, Louisville, Miami, Oklahoma State, South Carolina and USC seem worse off for their involvement in the Adidas pay-for-play scandal last decade. Sean Miller got fired at Arizona, but not until the results on the floor started to slip. The message there is clear: cheat, even get caught, but don’t dare lose.

When will the FBI or the NCAA have any onions and really go after the other slime programs in college basketball? There are plenty of them.

Sunday’s news was no doubt a blow for Pitt, because Reid would’ve filled a major need. But Capel shouldn’t get any criticism from Pitt fans for failing to land Reid. Capel and Milan Brown did everything they could to land Reid and that’s all that can be expected.

If I’m a Pitt fan, the only thing that I’d worry about it how long it takes for Capel to get frustrated with the current environment of college basketball recruiting and not being able to pull in elite recruits, something he’s been used to doing while at Duke. The discouraging aspect for Pitt fans is that Capel is an elite recruiter and someone that players are drawn to, his long history as a successful recruiter proves that.

If he isn’t able to be the guy to bring high level recruits to Pitt, is it even possible to do so?

While at Pitt, Capel will run a clean program and try and get recruits the right way but you have to start wondering if he’s fighting a losing battle.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Mtgj
Mtgj
4 months ago

Great article. My thoughts exactly. College basketball is getting ruined and good people trying to do it the correct way like Jeff capel are getting run out of college hoops. It’s sad to see but not surprising at all.
All good things seem to be getting ruined these days.

Dennis Wagner
4 months ago

Pitt blew a bigger fish than Reid when they did not attempt to secure a verified top college recruiter, much more successful than Chapel. A recruiter with a national reputation who Calipari immediately snatched up when he lost 2 assistants. This person you might recall as an alumnus of Pitt basketball success as a player and a top assistant coach and recruiter at Pitt during their golden years. It has been National news but ignored in Pittsburgh. While we hold onto Otoole and Jeff Chapel who have not shown any ability to recruit or improve the quality of the players… Read more »

Kowboygoc
Kowboygoc
4 months ago
Reply to  Dennis Wagner

Does not have anything to do with ability to recruit. Just ability and willingness to cheat and pay the bag.💰💰💰💰

Thomas McGraw
Thomas McGraw
4 months ago

Mama Bear wanted paid . Simple , and it won’t stop. The NCAA got it rigged baby. A little $$$$$$ to Mama Bear a little $$$$$$ to NCAA EXEC’s. Simple.

kevin
kevin
4 months ago
Reply to  Thomas McGraw

Why do you think SHE was dragging it out so long??? Hmmm…

Kowboygoc
Kowboygoc
4 months ago

Stay the course coach. Don’t cheat yourself, your profession and the kids. The bag is not worth it in the end. Again, karmas a bitch. Any kid-parents that want 💰💰 upfront are not worth the problems.

dennis wagner
4 months ago

Do you really think Chapel is so noble or looking at his history at Oklahoma, and Pitt he cannot recruit, alienates his players to transfer as happened at both Oklahoma and Pitt. We do not really know. All we know is he shots for the sky and to give the impression he’s a big-time coach who just misses. Or when he does strike gold he does not protect his young players, like Hugley idle during a pandemic demonstrating to the rest of the players he does not provide the supervision they need to avoid the temptations top athletes face in… Read more »

PittBand
PittBand
4 months ago

The only way to change the current system is for the players to be paid. Schools make millions, destitute kids get crumbs.

Thomas
Thomas
4 months ago

“is it even possible to do so.” ? I think it’s foolish to assume the answer is NO, but, it will be extremely difficult and will take a complete revamp of ideology and resources applied to hoops. Pitt’s facilities need to be the Ritz Carlton not the Days Inn (just using names as an example, not trying to promote or disparage any particular business). Even Capel was surprised at how “dumpy” things were. He made improvements but we have a long way to go. It will also take some luck … in finding some great kids that play above their… Read more »

Terrence
Terrence
4 months ago

Where is this notion that Capel is an elite recruiter all of us could recruit at Duke,

Capel's Follies
Capel's Follies
4 months ago

Pitt has brought in Elite recruits in the near past. Steven Adams, Dante Taylor were Elites. Dixon didn’t ‘play the game’ yet was still highly successful at Pitt.

Tim Fehl
Tim Fehl
4 months ago

I think it’s fair to say, elite level recruiting is not the way to go at Pitt. It was a nice thought and I think Capel has done a great job getting Pitt a shot at some of those guys, but at the end of the day, there is no picking Pitt over a place like Duke just because the coach is a good guy. You have to win. He needs to start getting lesser recruited guys who he can develop. Guys who know they aren’t day 1 starters. Those kind of kids are more likely to stay and develop.

 
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