After weeks of uncertainty revolving around the Pitt basketball program, head coach Jeff Capel landed former Iowa State and Ole Miss wing Blake Hinson yesterday out of the transfer portal.
Adding Hinson as well as Nelly Cummings, a 6-foot guard out of Colgate, is huge for the program. While the potential starting lineup looks solid right now, the Panthers still have plenty of work to do this offseason and have their sights set on numerous targets.
One of the top targets in Pitt’s mind right now is Meechie Johnson, a former Ohio State guard and a Cleveland native. Johnson took an official visit to Pitt over the weekend, checking out the facilities and catching up with John Hugley, the Panthers’ best player who is also from Cleveland. While Pitt used to thrive off of New York City natives and East Coast recruiting, looking at Hugley, 2023 commit Marlon Barnes, and the potential addition of Johnson, the Panthers seem to be loving the Northeast Ohio area in terms of recruiting.
“Yeah I know Meechie!” Barnes told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “We don’t talk as much, but that’s big bro for sure!”
Although Barnes knows Johnson, he has not had the chance to catch up with him about his trip to Pitt.
“Nah I actually haven’t [talked with him yet],” Barnes continued. “But [I] would love to see him in that uniform alongside John.”
Barnes currently attends Brush High School, the same school Hugley went to just years ago. The two were teammates for a brief period, when Hugley was a top-100 rated recruit and Barnes was a young freshman on the varsity squad. After taking one year away from Brush to play for a prep school, Barnes returned last year and played his junior season under head coach Chet Mason back at Brush.
Whether or not Barnes and Hugley can convince Johnson to join them will be one thing. But the Pitt staff is also going to put the full-court press on Johnson, as it believes that he would fit in perfectly. This season for the Buckeyes, the 6-foot-2 guard hit 32% of his threes, scoring 115 points. His best game of the year came at Xavier, where he scored 14 points and hit three of his six three-point attempts.
Will Pitt land the Cleveland native? Let’s see.