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Emotional Pitt Seniors Reflect on Season: ‘We Put Pitt Back on the Map’



GREENSBORO, N.C. — “We put Pitt back on the map.”

Greg Elliott, Jamarius Burton, and Nelly Cummings all proclaimed shortly after the emotional Panthers fell to 3-seed Xavier to conclude their magical season.

“The future is bright,” Burton said. “We put Pitt on the national stage. They’re going to be able to get transfers out of the portal, and it’s up to the guys that come in to believe in Coach and believe in the program and take it from here.”

Nike Sibande — a sixth-year senior who missed all of last season with a torn ACL, only to win ACC Sixth Man of the Year this year — followed with a reflection of his own.

“I agree with what Jamarius said,” Sibande added. “We definitely brought Pitt back to, you know, a national stage to where it has a lot of attention now. So I think in our future it’s going to be bright for Pitt. I think a lot of people should come here and believe in Coach. He did an amazing job this year with this group, and I appreciate everything, every experience we had this year for sure.”

Next came Nelly Cummings, the 6-foot graduate senior who grew up a Pitt fan out in Midland, PA. Cummings concluded his collegiate career with three NCAA Tournament appearances, and more than 1,500 points and 380 assists.

“I agree with what both of them guys said,” Cummings added. “To add to that, like J.B. said, we put Pitt back on the map, so we’re definitely proud of what we did here, and the future is really bright because the coaching staff and everybody in this program, they all have a belief about themselves that can translate to guys who come in, like transfers like me. So I think there’s going to be a lot of guys who will see that and understand that Pitt is definitely a place to be.”

Greg Elliott, like Cummings, transferred in this past offseason after spending four seasons in Milwaukee with Marquette. Elliott started 36 games this season for Pitt, hitting a career-high 77 three pointers and shooting 42% from three-point range.

“You know, just like my teammates just said, the future is definitely bright for Pitt basketball because we have Coach Capel at the helm,” Elliott said. “He wasn’t ACC Coach of the Year for nothing. He knows what he is doing. You know, like they just said, we’re back on a national stage now. Everybody knows who Pitt is again. So if you want to come make noise, why wouldn’t you come to Pitt?”

Aidan Fisch, the manager-turned-walk-on-turned-scholarship player for Pitt, was also emotional about his time with the Panthers after the game on Sunday.

“The unbelievable teammates that I had and the endless fight,” said Fisch, when asked what he will remember about this season. “The fact that they brought, we brought, Pitt back to national prominence, was unbelievable.”

Pitt finishes its season with a 24-12 record — the program’s best since 2013-14. The Panthers earned two NCAA Tournament wins — one over No. 11 Mississippi State in the First Four and one over No. 6 Iowa State in the first round — advancing to the second round of the tournament in year five of the Jeff Capel era.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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