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Pitt Basketball

Offseason Priorities for Pitt Men’s Basketball: Transfers, Needs and Hugley

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The Pitt Men’s basketball season is over with following a 1st Round loss to Boston College, which means the start of a critical offseason for Jeff Capel.

Heather Lyke and the administration at Pitt are expected to give Capel one more season to get the Panthers program headed in the right direction and to show them that the program is headed in an upward direction. Even the biggest Capel detractors will acknowledge the difficult breaks the team received at the start of the year and how that impacted the entire season.

That being said, next season will in all likelihood be make or break in terms of Capel having a long-term future coaching Pitt.

The thing that Pitt fans will be monitoring as the offseason starts is how many players on the 2021-22 roster will return next season?

The transfer portal has completely changed college athletics and has been a major storyline for the Pitt program. Over the last two seasons, Xavier Johnson, Trey McGowens, Au’Diese Toney, Terrell Brown, Gerald Drumgoole and Karim Coulibaly have all decided to leave the Pitt program early. In some cases, the player made the decision to leave and in others, the decision was made for them.

The question isn’t if but how many current players will leave the team following the season.

While nothing is official, all signs are pointing toward it being another active season for the Panthers roster.

Players To Keep Your Eye On: Femi Odukale, Will Jeffress, Noah Collier, Dan Oladapo and Max Amadasun.

The two big names in that group are Odukale and Jeffress. While he’s shown flashes of being a productive player, Odukale just hasn’t been consistent enough and a winning team can’t have that from the point guard position. Being a former standout guard himself, Capel realizes that and I believe bringing in a veteran point guard from the transfer portal will be his top offseason priority. Over the next few weeks, keep an eye out for any big name guards that make the decision to transfer and look for Pitt to make immediate contact.

Jeffress arrived at Pitt with a ton of optimism and was a big 4-star get for the Pitt program. Unfortunately for both sides, it hasn’t worked out through two seasons. Despite playing in 30 games and starting 16 of them, Jeffress is only averaging 3.4 points/game and is a player that has zero confidence right now in his offensive game. While he has been productive in terms of rebounding and his defensive game, him not being any sort of threat offensively is a killer for a Pitt team that has struggled to score to begin with. Because of the absence of both Nike Sibande and Ithiel Horton, Capel was forced to start Jeffress. It’s not a given that Jeffress moves on but him looking for a fresh start someplace else would not be shocking.

Like Jeffress, Collier is a player that has developed a role late in the season off the bench but the question is, is that a role that he wants to have for another season? Collier has played in all 31 games for Pitt and has averaged 1.5 points and 1.8 rebounds in 9.6 minutes per game. As far as Amadasun goes, he’s not been able to carve out any role for himself in two seasons and has played in just seven games this season. He would appear to be someone that decides to play elsewhere at a different level of basketball. The lack of production and minutes for Oladapo have been somewhat surprising considering the overall lack of talent and productivity on Pitt’s front court.

Offseason Priorities

Plain and simple, add as much veteran talent as possible. While many people have been fixated by the fact that Pitt has no commitments yet for the Class of 2022, that isn’t at all surprising. After the decommitment of 4-star guard Judah Mintz, missing out on one or two other top targets and the season going south, it was very obvious that Capel’s offseason plan is to add veteran players to the 2022-23 roster that can provide an immediate impact, along the lines of what Mo Gueye, Jamarius Burton and Ithiel Horton are doing this season. Quite frankly, this coaching staff needs players that can step in and produce from day one. They’re not in a position to wait for kids to develop. Once the program steadies, that will become the plan.

The nucleus of next season’s team will be Hugley, Burton, Sibande amd Horton so there is plenty of spots and minutes to fill. Adding a veteran point guard and a veteran big man will be priorities No. 1A and No. 1B. After that, I’d suspect they look to add a second big man along with a big wing/stretch forward and another point guard.

Future of John Hugley

Hugley and Gueye were the two most pleasant surprises of the Pitt season. When looking at Hugley, it shouldn’t have been a surprise considering the opinions scouts had of him at the time he signed with Pitt. In his first full season as a starter, Hugley averaged 14.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and shot 46% from the field, while averaging 29.7 minutes per game. Hugley did a great job of working on his game, while the Pitt staff developed him and turned him into the focal point of the Pitt offense.

Considering the struggles of this team and the transfer portal, some fans are worried that Hugley could bolt following the season. PSN is being told that at this time that isn’t a consideration for Hugley and all signs point to him returning next season.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Biff
Biff
8 months ago

What about Santos & Payton? I figure Payton will be asked to leave but is Santos an ACC player?

richard ellison
richard ellison
8 months ago
Reply to  Biff

they both should leave they didnt show any process . Another thing how about reshuttling your staff. They are the ones in charge of recuriting.How about just go the juco route an build this program the next two years? Th transfer portal not gonna help, If you cant get high players to commit but go to other conference schools an produce.

Terrence
Terrence
8 months ago

This program needs a new coaching staff

TJ
TJ
8 months ago

without some major transfers or top 100 recruits, one more year will not get the program headed in the right direction. this team does not have sufficient talent to compete. that is on capel as he is the “recruiter” but, it is what it is and won’t change next year. other than Hughley, who still needs to develop his game, the rest of the group doesn’t excite me.

Justin Dietrich
Justin Dietrich
8 months ago
Reply to  TJ

Who would want to transfer or sign here? We used to be a destination. Now we’re a disgrace.

Paul mcgrath
Paul mcgrath
8 months ago

Plain and simple this team needs a point guard. Watching RJ Davis destroy coach k party the other night was sickening.
Capel needed to get guys like him if he was going to be successful and he failed miserably on almost ever recruiting battle.
pitt is a hard job to win at, unfortunately the one coach who showed he could win here was run out of town, so we are going through what we deserve.

I’m sure Jaime is laughing all the way to another appearance in the big dance.

Justin Dietrich
Justin Dietrich
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul mcgrath

I’d hope Jamie isn’t laughing with a mere 19 wins and 5th in the Big 12…

Dennis Wagner
8 months ago

The best recruiter nationally is a Pitt alumnus and an assistant coach at Kentucky. He is not done in 2022 but has receuited3 5* players. His name is Orlando Antiqua, played for Howland, Lookup his bio. Make him head coach.

ron
ron
8 months ago
Reply to  Dennis Wagner

unfortunately his record as a head coach (south florida 3 years) is not that good.

Justin Dietrich
Justin Dietrich
8 months ago

What an absolute embarrassment. No talent, no recruiting, no coaching.

Jimbo Grimm
Jimbo Grimm
8 months ago

But what does Krackerjack Kid & Send It In! have to say?

Dukes

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