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Pitt Basketball

Ithiel Horton’s Father Details Decision to Transfer from Pitt: ‘The Problem is Between the Lines’

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Ithiel Horton’s decision to transfer from Pitt raised many eyebrows and got some to question his loyalty to Pitt following their backing of him following an off-season arrest.

Not surprisingly, not everyone agrees with the take that Horton wasn’t loyal to Jeff Capel and Pitt and as is normally the case, there are two sides to every story.

Horton’s father, Kevin Horton reached out to Pittsburgh Sports Now in an attempt to set the record straight and to give his family’s account of everything that’s gone on the past year leading up to Ithiel’s decision to transfer.

“My son is graduating and has been there for three seasons, so this is a natural break,” Horton said. “He has two seasons of eligibility and wants a clean start.” …

”He’s been there three years and played there for two. Jeff Capel has been there for four and I’ll give him a pass for the first year but since then, what do you see? It’s the same each year. After a while, it becomes who you are.”

Horton said Pitt’s struggles haven’t all been about talent and are more reflective of the in-game coaching and system.

”Defensively, they try and play the Syracuse zone and it’s a disaster,” Horton said. “The other teams slice through it because it’s not proper. Their offense is such a stagnated offense. The other team knows it so well, they overplay all the guys and clog up the offense so you can’t score. The in-game coaching is the issue. Pitt has all the makings of a good program: the gym, the environment, I love it, the problem is between the lines.”

Capel’s comments at his final press conference of the season, when he said the team needs to recruit better players, also seemed to strike a nerve.

”When he said I need to recruit better players, that tells my son you’re not good enough,” said Horton. “Instead, he should say this is all my fault and I’m going to do better. Whether the issue is good enough players or running a proper offense, they don’t do what I tell them to do in practice, you need to own it and have some self responsibility.”

Horton was the fourth Pitt player this season to enter the transfer portal, and in addition to the on-court issues, Horton said that he doesn’t think Capel has built the kind of lasting relationships with the players that would keep them through tough times.

“From what I gathered and from what I see, I don’t see the relationships, I don’t see the body language and the relationship between the players and the coaches like I see with someone like Tom Izzo,” said Horton. “They love Tom Izzo. He yells and screams, but those players love that guy, they love him to death. When kids like you and love you, they will be loyal, they will stay, they don’t want to leave.”

Horton also wanted to set the record straight about the legal issue that caused his son to miss the first half of the season.

”This whole thing was over his car being towed, it had nothing to do with anything else,” Horton said. “We have video and you can see how sober he was and you can see what really caused the cops to react. His car was getting towed and he was telling the guys, I’ll give you the money to drop it here and some tow trucks do that. But they said, No, No, we have to take it in. … It was all over, the tow guy was leaving and (Ithiel) said something to the woman cop that they didn’t like. That was the problem and trust me, my son didn’t swing at anyone. I got the video for all of this.” …

“My son wouldn’t hit a fly. The reason why Coach Capel and Heather Lyke stood by him through the whole thing is because they know who he is. They know his character, they know the type of kid he is. I raised that kid and he’s always been that way. I’ve never had any problems in school, nothing of that nature. I know how he is and we have video of what actually happened. Of course, being an African-American man, I know what happened. To be honest, he said something that they didn’t like and that’s what happened. The resisting, the assaulting, him being intoxicated, none of that was true.”

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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TJ
TJ
8 months ago

Glad you got to speak with the family and get their side. I don’t think anyone was challenging Ithiel’s character, at least I never did. Interesting points about coaching and the scheme. I’m no hoops expert so I’ll leave that assessment to others. If true, Capel has squandered the time spent with Duke, as a player and a coach, and hasn’t developed into a good coach irrespective of stints at VCU, OK, Duke and now, Pitt. Hope it works put for everyone.

TJ
TJ
8 months ago
Reply to  TJ

the more i thought about it …. regardless of whether his “between the lines” assessment is correct (and given the on-court results, there probably is some validity to it), the dissemination of this observation is worrying to me. As you guys discussed in another story, social media/related is seen by recruits/transfers. This is not going to help along those lines.

James DeLeon
James DeLeon
8 months ago
Reply to  TJ

That’s why Lyke should have done her job and axed Capel and his family of coaches.

Michael Savage
Michael Savage
8 months ago
Reply to  James DeLeon

Unfortunately, lying to the public is part of her job. She did it like a true professional.

Pittband
Pittband
8 months ago
Reply to  James DeLeon

Got $25 million. Pitt’s probably still paying off KS. We aren’t a program with $100 million in the bank like Texas, Texas A&M or LSU (all oil beneficiaries). There are limitations, this is one of them.

Steve
Steve
8 months ago
Reply to  Pittband

Pitt has a $4.3 billion dollar endowment. They are not hurting for cash.

Last edited 8 months ago by smljf912
Pittband
Pittband
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve

But as I was told by a trustee, most of is earmarked for other than athletics, like all the construction next to Falk Hall. So that $4.3 billion isn’t there as Heather’s piggy bank.

waysmarterthanyou
waysmarterthanyou
8 months ago
Reply to  Pittband

BS….you could build a whole new campus for 4.3 billion….

Rob Radich
Rob Radich
8 months ago
Reply to  Pittband

Shut up you sad little fan boy

Pittband
Pittband
8 months ago
Reply to  Rob Radich

Who has the temper? I can give and take all day.

Joe Cursi
Joe Cursi
8 months ago
Reply to  TJ

Everyone was attacking his character!!! With that said I was correct. Pitt sucked last year. All indications point to another year of sucking next year. But then we will get a new coach and hopefully get close to having a season over .500!

Richard Johnson
Richard Johnson
8 months ago

I agree the defense is poor, and the offense is basic. I do not know other than what I see but there are some valid points in this article. Pitt will never win solely pounding the ball in to Big John.

Rob Radich
Rob Radich
8 months ago

Capel is a lousy coach. Water is wet.
And the comment about “I need to recruit better players” was abominable

Justin Dietrich
Justin Dietrich
8 months ago
Reply to  Rob Radich

well he does need to recruit better players. Very little talent on this team regardless of how poor of a coach he is…

JimboG
JimboG
8 months ago

We all see that he needs to bring in better players. The point that several are making, and one with which I agree, is why say it? It does nothing but throw shade on the guys on the roster. The bigger point is this: what does Capel have to show for four years as HC? For those that say you need to give a coach 5 years, I ask what is the point? He has zero recruits for next year, and despite all the rah-rah recruiting “news” on this website, what player of value in his right mind would commit… Read more »

waysmarterthanyou
waysmarterthanyou
8 months ago

he needs to start ”retaining” the talent he has running out the door….

Irish Hammer
Irish Hammer
8 months ago
Reply to  Rob Radich

Couldn’t be a clearer quote. I always thought a win lose record was clear evidence. He can’t recruit or coach! Shocked Heather didn’t talk about giving him a extension! Arrogant dude and nepotism. This program is going to get worse if possible.

Pittband
Pittband
8 months ago
Reply to  Rob Radich

Get off your high horse and come up with the $25 million buyout or shut up.

Rob Radich
Rob Radich
8 months ago
Reply to  Pittband

High horse? Get off yours you cretinous apologist. Shut up yourself band boy

Pittband
Pittband
8 months ago
Reply to  Rob Radich

Sticks and stones, blah, blah, blah. A little secret two thirds of the band members and alumni are in the professions, engineers, doctors, dentists, lawyers, etc. Myself included.

Eli
Eli
8 months ago

Seems about right from where I sit. Nice to get his perspective on the situation.

Capel Sucks
Capel Sucks
8 months ago

He can get a clean start in prison

Mtgj
Mtgj
8 months ago

Great perspective. This is what I have been saying for a while now, I’m so glad to hear it from the family of a player. My biggest problem with capel is his coaching skills. He just isn’t a very good basketball coach, I think he knows how to run a program and will recruit as good as anyone, I just don’t think he is a good coach. I said this before, but to win at pitt you better be able to recruit, run a good program, and be a very good basketball coach. I want pitt to be competitive and… Read more »

Felton, Family & Friends
Felton, Family & Friends
8 months ago

Capel had a pretty highly rated recruiting class in years 1 & 3. Especially in year 3…it was rated in the Top 25 with Hugley being the top rated one. And year 2 netted Champaigne who is in the NBA.

He has done nothing with the talent of those 2 classes. Which is why he is in the predicament he finds himself in. Along with never yet recruiting a real PG

Krackerjack Kid
Krackerjack Kid
8 months ago

Why give this guy a platform? His son has left and is no longer a player or student at Pitt. It’s like going to HR with an issue AFTER you quit.

Since his dad was so comfortable about discussing everything, I’d like to know more about the misogynistic language he used towards a female cop.

Capel is a problem, but I doubt this guy’s version of everything is accurate either.

Ed Rose
Ed Rose
8 months ago

Amen to your comment. Capel is not getting it done. I am not a fan of what transpired the last 4 years with the program. Kevin Horton can not be taken seriously. He reached out to PSN because he is doing damage control for his son. He lost me completely when he said his son was completely innocent of all that happened with the police. He made it even worse when he implied they targeted him because he was African American. Nothing like personal accountability.

Joe
Joe
8 months ago

Spoken like a Dad. BBall is like life. You only have one chance to make a good impression. The rest of your life to show it was right or wrong. One 25 point game doesn’t make you a stud. Capel wasted no time getting him into the lineup. Over the remaining games against both good and not as good team he showed he isn’t that good. I was disappointed. Pitt had another gaurd who came off the bench to hit 32 points. He moved on, showed himself to be a 10 point a game player. Good players make good coaches.… Read more »

Dave Burtt
Dave Burtt
8 months ago

Curious what Au’diese Tony’s family would have to say. He played most minutes tonight of any Razorback, now in the Elite 8.

Tom
Tom
8 months ago

I think the biggest issue for Capel’s tenure was that Champagnie and Hugley never got to play side by side. That team with Toney would have won and I don’t think any of those guys transfer if they were winning. The timing of Hurley’s suspension and Nike Sibande’s injury and Horton suspension were all worst case scenario type issues. Pitt wins those close game losses, and winning cures all

Eric payne
Eric payne
8 months ago

I appreciate hearing from Mr. Horton about his own pinion, but he neglected one thing. Pitt didn’t play good defense because it wasn’t taught, but because they didn’t execute. Our guards were too slow in man defense to keep other teams out of the lane, and not cover the perimeters in zone. I understand why he transferred for his senior season, because he wants to win, but honestly he was part of the problem. I wish him luck in the future.

PittBand
PittBand
8 months ago

”Defensively, they try and play the Syracuse zone and it’s a disaster,”  Really, been watching Pitt mbb since Jim Boeheim was the point guard for Dave Bing. I lobbied for a 1-3-1 or a 2-3 all season. Letting teams lure Mo Gueye outside to limit his shot blocking impact rankled me. Capel like Dixon were too wed to man-to-man defense. You play the defense your team fits not the other way around. Horton showed little interest in playing defense, Odukale isn’t quick enough to stop penetration. Hughley is a good rebounder but not a shot blocker. Hence a zone was… Read more »

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