Forward John Hugley will return to the Pitt basketball team, the program announced on Thursday night, after Hugley had felony charges stemming from a July 2020 vehicle theft dropped in a preliminary hearing on Thursday morning.
Pittsburgh Sports Now first reported that Hugley would return to Pitt ok Thursday afternoon.
“John is grateful for the opportunity to return to the University of Pittsburgh and continue to be a member of our program,” head coach Jeff Capel said in the release. “The past five months have been challenging for him and have forced him to grow and mature. We have stayed in constant contact with him throughout and although he was not here physically with us he has always been a part of our team.
“We are proud of the way he has handled himself to recover from the mistakes he made. John has taken ownership of his actions, remained committed to his academics and focused on his individual growth outside of basketball. We look forward to his full return to the University of Pittsburgh and the opportunity to continue to mentor a young man with a bright future.”
Hugley also took time to thank Capel as well as a few others for their roles in getting him back on track and back with the team.
“I am excited to be back at the University of Pittsburgh to continue my education on and off the court,” said Hugley. “The love and support I received from Coach Capel, the coaching staff and my teammates provided me with the strength to grow throughout the past five months. I cannot thank Heather Lyke enough for her guidance, leadership and support as well.
“The way everyone at Pitt has stood by me has only grown my love for the university and the people here. Pitt is a special place, with great people and all the resources to be successful. I am really looking forward to being back and becoming a valued member of the campus community.”
After working out most of his legal issues in Thursday morning’s hearing, Hugley’s attorney Frank Walker said that there may be additional campus-based hurdles to Hugley returning to the Pitt basketball team, but those were apparently resolved quickly.
“We were able to get the felonies reduced down to misdemeanors, which is wonderful for him as a young man, starting out not having any felonies on his record,” Walker said. “Second, if he goes through the ARD program, he gets all those charges dismissed if he does everything he’s supposed to and get out of college with a clean record.”
Hugley had been suspended since Jan. 14, when he was charged in the theft a 2012 Chevy Malibu that had been parked on Coltart Avenue in Oakland near Pitt’s campus on in mid-July of 2020.
He remained enrolled at Pitt, taking classes online through the spring. According to a source close to the program, Hugley had a strong GPA in the spring that would have made him eligible for academic all-ACC team.