As Pitt basketball heads into the 2022-23 season with NCAA Tournament aspirations, one of its key pieces, Nike Sibande, will be returning to the floor with a vengeance.
Sibande tore his ACL in an exhibition game almost eight months ago, coming down awkwardly and ending his season. Then, in January, he announced on the Jeff Capel Radio Show that he would return to Pitt for the 2022-23 season. After months of rehabilitation and physical therapy, how is Sibande feeling?
“My knee feels great,” Sibande told Pittsburgh Sports Now in an exclusive interview. “I’m excited to say that after all this time, but I definitely feel like I am getting back to where I was and past that level. I definitely feel like I’m back to 100 [percent].”
Sibande has scored 1,560 points in his career across three seasons with Miami (OH) and one with Pitt, in which he played just 14 games. In his career he has averaged over 14 points per game, shooting 34% from three-point range along the way. Although he missed all of last year and spent some time out during his first year for Pitt as well, Sibande has learned some valuable lessons during his time on the sidelines.
“Through this journey, I learned with myself how much I really, really love this game and I really love the grind about it,” he said. “Obviously, everybody’s going to go through adversity and difficult times and stuff like that, but at the end of the day, if you love it, you’re going to get through it. So, I learned that really over these past two years how much I love this game and how much you have to be dedicated and really locked into it if you want to get to the next level. That’s just what I’m on. Just locked in.”
Check out the full interview below. Sibande caught up with PSN’s George Michalowski and broke down his leadership role, his relationships with some of Pitt’s newcomers, and more.