After a disappointing fourth season at the helm of the Pitt basketball program, Jeff Capel had his hands full heading into this offseason.
With a 51-69 record through four years, Capel knew he had to turn things around next season, and it started with rebuilding the roster. After Femi Odukale, Ithiel Horton, Noah Collier and others entered the transfer portal, Capel saw his opportunity to hit the transfer portal hard, and he has done just that.
Without question, Capel has loaded this Pitt roster with veteran talent. Because of past injuries and transfer rules, this will be the sixth season that Nike Sibande, Greg Elliott, and Nelly Cummings have been on college rosters. It will be Jamarius Burton’s fifth. Those four guards have combined to play 454 games, score 4,319 points, and hit 516 three pointers at the Division One level.
Cummings has played in two NCAA Tournament games, scoring 14 against Arkansas in 2020-21 and 20 points against Wisconsin this past year. Elliott has played in one NCAA Tournament game and three NIT games, while Burton has played in four NIT games and two NCAA Tournament games. The experience is there for this year, but multiple questions remain: Will they be able to develop team chemistry and win games? What will the back court look like next season?
You’re not kidding!
That’s 4 experienced guards who can score.
OVER 4300 combined career points!👀🔥🔥🔥
— Panther4Life (@JediMaster868) May 17, 2022
Get ready for another exciting offseason a year from now. Next spring and summer, Capel is going to have to rebuild the entire back court again and scour the transfer portal for another round of experienced guards. While there is still plenty of time for Pitt to sign 2023 guard recruits, the odds that they can add more than 2-3 high school guards that can compete in the ACC from the start are very low.
After the upcoming 2022-23 season, the roster will look like this:
Jorge Diaz-Graham, 6-foot-11 F, Sophomore
Guillermo Diaz-Graham, 6-foot-11 F, Sophomore
John Hugley, 6-foot-9 F, Senior
William Jeffress, 6-foot-7 wing, Senior
Nate Santos, 6-foot-7 wing, Junior
Blake Hinson, 6-foot-7 F, RS Senior
Fede Federiko, 6-foot-11 F, Junior
With virtually no guards on the roster past this season, this is Capel’s year to prove to guard recruits in the 2023 class and in next year’s portal class that he can take a whole group of new guys, rally them to play together, and win. He has recruited the portal well this offseason, but by using this strategy, he is setting himself up to have to rebuild again a year from now. Pitt is in full win-now mode.