The Pitt Panthers currently have five open scholarship and have plenty of holes to fill.
However, at the top of the list is finding a reliable point guard which can lead and direct this offense. After watching the opening week of the NCAA Tournament, it’s very apparent that if you have a talented point guard, your team will be able to compete.
Fortunately for Jeff Capel, an ideal point guard just became available via the transfer and he’s from Western Pennsylvania. Colgate point guard Nelly Cummings, who graduated from Lincoln Park, decided on Monday to enter the transfer and play his final college season elsewhere.
Cummings and Colgate qualified for the NCAA Tournament and lost to Wisconsin in the first round. In that game, Cummings had an impressive stat line: 20 points, six assists and six rebounds. For the season, he was named a first-team All-Patriot League after averaging 14.7 points, 3 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game.
Pitt was able to watch Cummings in person this season as the Panthers defeated Colgate, 71-68. In that game, the 6-foot guard scored 17 points in 33 minutes of action.
Capel must have been impressed and with his teams glaring need at guard, he made immediate contact with Cummings and his family on Monday night.
“His message to me was just to let me know that they’re interested, and he made an emphasis to reach out early in the process to let me know that I’m a priority for them,” said Cummings. “What I took from that is, I’m a grad transfer and I expect to come in and make an impact on whatever team I decide on or if I decide to go pro. I was happy though to hear from them so early in the process. Coach talked about me being able to offer veteran leadership. Obviously, I’ve won a lot of games in college, I’ve been to two NCAA Tournaments and bringing that sort of experience to a roster would definitely be beneficial. He also talked about how I had so many fans when I played against Pitt last year, it would definitely be nice to have that love from the city and have a hometown kid be a big part of bringing success back to the hometown team.”
During this call, Cummings spoke to not only Capel but the entire Pitt coaching staff and was impressed with Capel, who’s he’s spoken to in the past.
“I talked to him before this happened, I actually talked to him last year (when he also entered the transfer portal). I understand the type of guy that Coach Capel is, a very family-oriented guy. He’s a good guy, good coach, who’s been around a lot of very, very talented people in his career. I know that he’s bringing a very high level of expertise to coaching. Coach Capel is a great guy and very genuine.”
Since Monday, Cummings has heard from programs such as Oklahoma, Minnesota, Clemson, Arkansas, Florida, Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, Stanford, VCU, Washington, Temple, NC State and Wichita State. With all of this early attention, what’s next for Cummings?
“My approach to this is going to be I’m either going to play professional basketball or I’m going to come back to college. I haven’t decided between those two things yet. I’m definitely going to wait until I have all the information in front of me before I make any decision because this is my last year, and I don’t want to rush anything. I want to make sure I do it right.”
Cummings tells PSN that Pitt brought up the possibility of meeting face-to-face and he admits that would be convenient since he’s coming back home to Pittsburgh soon. First things first though, will it be professional or college basketball next for Cummings?