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Jeff Capel Confident in Building Pitt Program around John Hugley Going Forward



NEW YORK — While Pitt will have at least two spots to fill for next season’s roster, head coach Jeff Capel expressed his confidence that his star big man, John Hugley, will be a piece that will stick around at Pitt and be an important player to build around.

“I think having a guy like John to build off of is something that is really, really important,” Capel said when asked what gives him hope for the future of the program. “I think we have an elite big guy that I think will be exciting for people to want to play with. I think we have helped some guys get better. Certainly Justin Champagnie is an example of that, Mo Gueye is an example of that, Jamarius Burton, he had his best year in college basketball here. So I think we have shown some development with that. But again, you have to continue to add the right pieces, and we have to develop the guys that we have.”

Hugley, who just wrapped up his sophomore season, averaged 14.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game this year, appearing in all 32 games and starting all but one. After legal troubles and a subsequent suspension forced him to sit out the majority of his freshman year, this season was certainly a productive one for the Cleveland native.

However, with the sheer amount of players that have entered the transfer portal over the past few years, Capel feels that you never know who is going to test the waters and look for a better opportunity elsewhere.

“I don’t know,” he said when asked how confident he is that all of his key pieces will be back next season. “I don’t think anyone ever knows. I think there are so many factors now that go into these things. It’s not just about playing time anymore. Or like the guy in there asked about, name, image, and likeness, that stuff could play a factor going forward. We’ll see. Honestly, I haven’t really thought about it that much, but we’ll see going forward. I think that is going to be the case at most places.”

Hugley was expansive in talking about his desire to continue improving at Pitt going forward, and said he’s learned from the struggles of back-to-back losing seasons at Pitt. With its loss on Tuesday, Pitt finished this season with an overall record of 11-21, as well as 6-15 in ACC play.

“Lessons I took from this year is just staying together and when things are going down, just staying up,” Hugley said. “Everything is not always going to be a good thing. You’ve got to stay up at all times.”

Hugley got his first full season of college basketball in after a freshman season that was cut short by off-the-court legal issues. He said the full season of ACC basketball has set himself up for an even bigger year in 2022-23.

“I think it set me up for great — you know, like I said, just coming here ready to play and compete with the best players in this conference,” Hugley said. “Next year I’ve got to do the same thing, just ready to work and compete.”

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Krackerjack Kid
Krackerjack Kid
2 years ago

Anyone that believes ANYTHING Capel says at this point is either naïve or just dumb.

2 years ago

Well George Capel has continued stallings work at running the program into the ground you need to stop with your Capel love affair and call him out for the horrendous job he has doing

Jimbo Grimm
Jimbo Grimm
2 years ago
Reply to  Terrence

Who is George Capel?

2 years ago

Whether it’s Capel or a replacement ,, any top.level
point guard thinking of transferring. will be
drooling when shown images of Hugley in action. Of course,.Hugley still has some growing to do but
with a top.level.point guard,that may take care
of itself.

Of course. The coach will have to be much
better with transfers, as those other MO
seem to have accomplished very little..

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