Get old and stay old.
You hear it all the time in the recruiting world, especially with the prevalence of the transfer portal, which has given coaches all across the country the opportunity to add veteran talent. Jeff Capel and his Pitt staff have utilized the transfer portal to their advantage throughout his tenure at Pitt.
Last year’s NCAA Tournament squad — the best team in Capel’s tenure — had so much experience that the average age of Pitt’s starting five players was older than that of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder. Heading into another new season with three transfer recruits, let’s check out Pitt’s past success with transfers.
Pitt Men’s Basketball starting five average age: 22.8
Oklahoma City Thunder starting five average age: 22 pic.twitter.com/s1tAcYXPlk
— Barstool Gambling (@stoolgambling) February 22, 2023
Before Pitt: Ole Miss, Iowa State (DNP)
The best scorer on this year’s roster, Blake Hinson, is a transfer himself. After playing for Ole Miss in 2020-21, Hinson took two seasons away from the game and ended up transferring to Pitt before last season. The All-ACC forward then starred for Pitt, scoring 15.3 points per game on 38% from three. Hinson hit countless clutch shots throughout the year and will once again be a huge factor for the Panthers this season.
Before Pitt: Wichita State, Texas Tech
Burton, a first-team All-ACC member last year, played two seasons for Pitt with 60 starts under his belt. He had a great year in his first campaign in Pittsburgh, averaging 12+ points and 3+ rebounds per game for a rough Pitt team. However, he took the next step up this past season, scoring 15.2 points per game, hitting 49% of his field goals, and serving as the leader of the Panthers.
Before Pitt: Bowling Green State, Colgate
Cummings was a star before he arrived at Pitt, scoring 10+ points per game each season while he was at Colgate (3 years). He then manned the PG spot last year for his hometown Panthers, scoring 11.1 points per game and hitting 36% of his threes to lead Pitt into the tournament.
Before Pitt: Marquette
After four injury-filled seasons in Milwaukee, Elliott had a career season at Pitt, scoring 10.4 points per game and hitting a career-best 42% of his three-point attempts. Elliott, while streaky at times, was massive for the Panthers out of the portal.
Jamarius Burton on departing the #Pitt program:
“We’re definitely leaving it better than we found it”
“We put Pitt back on the map… Pitt is definitely a place to be”
“Why wouldn’t you come to Pitt” pic.twitter.com/zZJrUqM1s7
— Austin Bechtold (@AustinRBechtold) March 19, 2023
Before Pitt: Miami (OH)
After battling eligibility issues in year one and a torn ACL in year two, Sibande finally broke onto the scene this past season, earning ACC’s Sixth Man of the Year award for his stellar play off the bench. Sibande was one of the most explosive players in the league, throwing down monster slams and electrifying the crowd throughout the 2022-23 season.
Before Pitt: Stony Brook
Gueye transferred to Pitt from Stony Brook prior to the 2021-22 season and quickly emerged as an intriguing piece for the Panthers. The 6-foot-10 stretch forward ended up starting 28 games for Pitt that year, hitting 36% of his threes and scoring a career-best 9.8 points per game.
This year’s transfer class includes three players: Ishmael Leggett, Zack Austin, and Mike Hueitt Jr. Check out their profiles below.
Before Pitt: Rhode Island
A 6-foot-2 guard, Leggett saw his production take a huge jump last year in his third season at Rhode Island. Leggett averaged 16.4 points and 2.4 assists per game and will be a big piece of Pitt’s back court this season.
Before Pitt: High Point
Austin is a former Big South Rookie of the Year out of High Point. He played two seasons there, scoring 14 points per game in both years. The 6-foot-7 wing hit 60+ threes in both seasons with the Panthers and looks to make a big impact in Pittsburgh this year.
MIKE HUEITT JR
Before Pitt: Old Dominion, UNC-Greensboro, Catawba (D2)
Hueitt committed to Pitt just last week after bouncing around several colleges early in his career and spending last season off the court due to injuries. He posted averages of 5.8 points and 1.4 rebounds per game in 2019-20 at UNCG, his last year at the DI level.