This summer, Jeff Capel added a new member to his staff, bringing in Elk Grove, Illinois native Billy Hubly.
Hubly worked under South Florida head coach Brian Gregory for eight years, with three coming at Georgia Tech (Grad. Assistant/Video Coordinator) and the past five at USF in multiple roles. Between those two destinations, Hubly spent time as a Video Coordinator and an Assistant Coach at East Carolina from 2016-18. Early this summer, he saw the opportunity to join an NCAA Tournament team and become a part of Capel’s Pitt staff — and he jumped on it.
“Anytime you can come to the ACC and work under a guy like Coach Capel, you jump on it,” Hubly told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “You see Coach’s track record and the ACC — it’s just a basketball conference — you’re at the pinnacle of it. When you’re looking at jobs, jobs like that jump off the paper at you. I am really blessed that Coach took a chance on me. I can’t be more thankful to him. I spent a lot of time with Coach Gregory. Learning from him, he’s probably one of the best basketball minds there is in regards to game-planning, breaking down opponents, learning how to scout, and more. So being able to learn from him first-hand, and him being able to challenge me in different ways, I think set me up to hopefully continue to help Pitt get back to where everybody wants them to be and have the success that we had last year.”
Hubly’s official title is “Assistant Athletic Director of Scouting.” He filled the role left behind by Jake Presutti, who spent two seasons on the Panthers’ staff before joining the Buffalo staff as an assistant coach this offseason. Now months into this role, Hubly is settling into life in Pittsburgh and is focusing on the task at hand — prepare Pitt’s players and coaches for anything that may be thrown at them.
“First, getting everything that we need to the staff in regards to opponent film, opponent stats, breaking down games for them so that it’s easier to watch — anything that’s in regards to opponent scouting,” Hubly said about his role. “Then, self-scouting also. That could be film, stats, anything that that entails.”
Prior to his arrival at Pitt, Hubly felt that he had to know the Panthers’ program inside and out and prepare as much as possible for the new opportunity. He did that by watching every single game that the Panthers played last season and scouting Pitt’s NCAA Tournament squad in a detailed fashion.
“Offensively, they were very explosive,” he said about last year’s Panthers. “They would spread you out. The numbers spoke for themselves. They made a lot of threes. Different guys could have a night on you. Greg, that dude was a sniper. Nike, sixth man of the year, yet he could start for a lot of teams. Obviously, Blake, Nelly, and Jamarius, you can’t forget about JB — first team all-conference. Just a lot of different guys coming at you. With Fede, his development over last year, he’s going to be really, really good. Then you have G and Jorge coming up. The twins are special. There was a lot to take in, and sometimes it was a little bit overwhelming. But I watched everything, I watched every game, I did my own stuff to get acquainted with the program so I could hit the ground running when I got here.”
Within the first few weeks of his arrival, Hubly mainly worked Pitt’s youth camps. Throughout June and July, Pitt hosted kids from all over the area for basketball day camps, lasting Monday through Thursday each week. Hubly and some of the other members of the program focused on these before preparing for the team’s foreign tour to Spain.
The NCAA allows programs that are taking foreign tours to have ten extra practices in the offseason, giving coaches and players a head start when looking at the next year’s team. For Hubly, these ten practices were massive.
“I am thankful that I got those,” he added. “I got to see a lot of things that I wouldn’t have gotten to see until September 26, which is the first day of practice. It was very helpful; I think I’m even more prepared now than I would have been. Just to, again, with self-scouting, being able to help look for different things is big. This will be Kyle [Cieplicki]’s third year. Coach O’Toole, Capel, Milan, they’ve been around here. Regan has been here for forever. I’m kind of the new eye. We’re not going to make drastic changes, but having a new eye, I think, can definitely help in seeing some things. Now that I’ve seen ten practices and two games, I have a little bit better of an understanding of what I am looking for, what coach is looking for, and how I can help in different areas.”
Pitt won both of the exhibitions in Spain, taking home a victory in Tenerife in the beginning of the trip and then one in Barcelona towards the end of the nine-day journey. Hinson led the Panthers in scoring in both games, posting 24 in game one and 27 in game two. Pitt’s incoming transfers Ishmael Leggett and Zack Austin also filled up the stat sheet, with Austin dropping 18 in game one and Leggett adding 14 in game two overseas.
Zack Austin has arrived in Tenerife
— George Michalowski (@MichalowskiCBB) August 9, 2023
While Hubly has worked under the defensive-minded coach Gregory in the past, he said that it was great to see the offensive outburst that the Panthers showed when in Europe.
“It was refreshing for me here to see the emphasis, not only that we put on defense, but also with the offensive side of the ball,” Hubly said. “Building off of last year’s success. The style of play, it’s very easy, fun to watch. There is a possibility to put a good number of points on the board. So that was very refreshing and good to watch.”
Hubly looks forward to Pitt’s first official fall practice here in the next few weeks, as well as Nov. 1’s season-opening exhibition at the Pete. He also cannot wait to continue learning from his new head coach and the rest of the Panthers’ staff.
“I’ve never seen somebody that can pick up on how he feels towards someone’s game so quickly,” Hubly said about Capel and his scouting ability. “He can see what a player is like within ten minutes of being around him. He can read somebody’s game and see if they’ll fit what he wants to do. The relationship aspect here is huge too. Coach is really, really good with relationships and molding young guys into men through that aspect. Our guys are always around, always in the gym, they really want to get better. So having that culture is really good. The coaches here are all great. I’m really excited to learn from this staff.”