It’s hard to take anything positive out of a season that finished with a record of 11-21, but now is the time for Jeff Capel to gain momentum on the recruiting trail with many spots to fill.
Capel made the easy decision that his roster didn’t have enough talent to properly compete day in and day out in the ACC, and knew that a roster overhaul was needed.
Following a couple graduations and a handful of transfers/departures, Capel started the off-season rebuild with seven open scholarships. While some may view this situation as a negative and a black eye for Pitt basketball, that’s not how it’s being viewed by those inside the Panther program. It’s instead being looked at as a real opportunity to get this once proud program back on track.
What is Capel’s blueprint for turning this into a reality? The answer is bringing in veteran talent. Pitt needs to win now and feel the best way to do that is via the transfer portal, instead of taking a chance on waiting young players to develop.
This rebuild began on Friday when Colgate transfer point guard Nelly Cummings officially signed to play his final college season with his hometown team. Cummings brings Pitt a veteran point guard that’s a proven winner and someone that’s produced on the court for three seasons.
Cummings is just the first of many upcoming additions for Pitt.
After getting his guard, Capel still has seven more open spots and over the weekend, the Panthers hosted some players that soon could be wearing a blue and gold uniform next season.
Pittsburgh Sports Now reported on Saturday, that former West Virginia 2022 JUCO commit Fede Federiko made an official visit this weekend and he wasn’t the only one.
Pittsburgh Sports Now has learned that the second player in town this weekend for an official visit was forward Blake Hinson, formerly of Ole Miss and Iowa State. Hinson (6-foot-7, 235 pounds) last played for Ole Miss from 2018-20 under head coach Kermit Davis.
In his 60 games with the Rebels, Hinson averaged 9.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists. In his sophomore season, the Florida native shot 40 percent from the field, 33 percent from three and 72 percent from the free-throw line.
Hinson then joined the Cyclones in 2020 when Steve Prohm was still the head coach. Hinson missed the season due to an illness and left once current ISU head coach TJ Otzelberger took over the program. Hinson has three years of eligibility remaining.
The parade of visitors to Pittsburgh won’t end there. Today, Jon Rothstein first reported and PSN has since confirmed that former UConn 4-star 6’10” power forward Akok Akok will travel to Pitt this week to meet with Capel and tour the campus and facilities.
The Panthers staff will also host a player that they’re hoping to add to their backcourt in former Ohio State Top 100 recruit Meechie Johnson. PSN is told that official visit will take this week.
Transfers aren’t the only players coming to check out Pitt. Recently offered IMG Academy 2022 6’10” forward twins Jorge and Guillermo Diaz-Graham will make their Pitt official visits this weekend.
With seven open spots and all these visitors, how could all of this turnout for Pitt and who are they favorites to land?