March 4, 2017

UPDATE (11:58): Worth tossing to the top. Starting lineup will exclude Artis and Young. Milligan and Luther starting in their place.

12 pm, ACC Network Syndication or ACCN Extra/Watch ESPN.

Last regular season game and then an opening round game in Brooklyn for the ACC Tournament. Sadly, with the effort and outcomes in prior games, it is hard to believe Pitt will make any noise at the ACC Tournament.

Pitt goes into Charlottesville looking to lock down that 13th seed and meeting Clemson in the opening game. A loss would put them in a tie for 14th with NC State, and presumably because they lost in head to head against the Wolfpack drop them to the 14th seed. That would mean playing either Georgia Tech or Wake Forest.

I know, high drama.

Speaking of high drama…

Justice Kithcart being dismissed from the team at this point. No reason given beyond the always popular catch-all of, “conduct detrimental to the team.”

“It is a privilege to play basketball at the University of Pittsburgh and with that privilege comes the responsibility to conduct oneself in the appropriate manner,” said Stallings. “Unfortunately, Justice has been unable to uphold that standard. We wish him the best of luck in the future.”

That Kithcart might leave/be pushed out after this season would not have been a surprise. His playing time was limited. And aside from the Boston College game and a couple early games against bad teams, he looked completely overmatched.

But to be kicked off the team with essentially two games left. That’s eyebrow raising.

You don’t have to be a fan of Coach Kevin Stallings to think that this is not what Stallings wanted to do. Not this close to the season being over. Letting Kithcart quietly transfer out and get a fresh start without any cloud over him after the season. That would obviously be preferred by all parties.

Yet, the need to get rid of him now. Fuel speculation for the reasons. Project an image of a program in complete disarray.  It seems that Kithcart may have crossed some line.

Truly, we are experiencing some interesting times in Pitt basketball not seen since the 90s.

Ok guys were into the Saturday nite festivities of our favorite beverages.

I don’t want to think about Loser, Pitt or the BoT the rest of the night.

I’ve sort of become numb with the goings on at Pitt lately.

Hope everyone has a good nite…cheers !

Comment by Emel 03.04.17 @ 8:11 pm

Oh Jack..i don’t think anyone rejected us at all.

Stories made up to justify hiring a guy who Barnes was planning to hire along.

Comment by Emel 03.04.17 @ 8:14 pm

The Miller bros both rejected Pitt either before or after offers and queries from the press.

Comment by Jackagain 03.04.17 @ 8:28 pm

Can’t wait for coach to get kids who WANT to listen and WANT to do whatever it takes for the TEAM to win, see ya 2017 and you self centered non compliant idiots!!!

Hello to next year, a clean slate!!!

Comment by Keith 03.04.17 @ 9:01 pm

IMHO directing your anger at KS is aiming too low…He is what he is as a coach. He did not hire himself. You need to direct your anger at the Mr. Gallagher and the BOT that hired that complete Jackass Barnes. The guy guts our once proud BB program and then skips town like the carnival barker he is. Good riddance and you can take KS with you!

Comment by HbgFrank 03.04.17 @ 9:32 pm

Herman should have reached out to possible coaches before he allowed Jaimie to walk for a reduced fee. Instead, Jaimie walks, Herman resorts to cronyism and we suffer
His aged mother probably can’t stand him either.

Comment by Gasman 03.04.17 @ 9:57 pm

Don’t you get it. It does not matter who the kids are, his coaching style will NEVER get any team to elite status. He just is not a big time coach,period!

Comment by JoeKnew 03.04.17 @ 10:01 pm

Wonder how old his Gma was when he signed his contract with Pitt?

Comment by HbgFrank 03.04.17 @ 10:16 pm

That’s it in a nutshell Joe! Stallings PRESIDED over this dismal display of team disunity and disintegration and, as CEO, never once manned up and took responsibility. It is right in front of all to see: he exhibits chronic pessimism, displays inhibited integrity and disrespects the University he is paid handsomely to represent. What has he done which would lead anyone to believe these character flaws are fleeting in nature? No, they are deeply ingrained in this man approaching 60 and will only continue to manifest themselves in his current capacity wherein he is clearly in over his head. LANCE THE BOIL PITT!!

Comment by Wally 03.04.17 @ 10:37 pm

I just keep looking to the number of double digit leads blown over the course of the year and can’t help but blame coaching. There has to be some young coach out there with 100x the energy and knowledge of xo’s as Stallings (an oxymoron bc the program is in free fall).

Comment by ShorePitt 03.04.17 @ 10:46 pm

I’m fine with eating crow or telling you I told you so

And again stallings isn’t the long term answer, but I’m excited to see what an entire roster of new players respond to him and not be defiant

I’m actually surprised that ppl are ok with these tantrum like players that we have..but’s pitt fans

Comment by Keith 03.04.17 @ 11:13 pm

And I’m not even saying things will work out, but I’m gonna watch and see what happens

Comment by Keith 03.04.17 @ 11:14 pm

Bugs Bunny would refer to Stallings as an oxymoroon. ?

Comment by Lastrowofsection4 03.05.17 @ 6:20 am

There are few options going forward. Currently Kevin Stallings has recruits coming in next year. This is a complete rebuilding project. Not optimistic about next year, but a coaching change now, would probably mean that Pitt would lose their recruits. Will things get worse, possibly, but there isn’t much anyone can do at this point. When it was announced that Jamie Dixon was moving on to TCU. I wanted to Pitt go after a young up and coming mid-major coach.

Comment by Justinian 03.05.17 @ 8:02 am

I agree we are stuck with KS and his recruiting class looks pretty good. But what good are good players if the coach can’t coach … and Stallings’ history seems to day just that …. he can recruit but with all the talent, his teams doesn’t live up to expectations.

One more point about his hiring …. Pitt hasd built a recent reputation of being a good BB school, and is in a great BB conference. Yet, the AD held only one interview. Just more evidence how fixed KS’s hiring was.

Comment by wbb 03.05.17 @ 8:11 am

wbb – and that AD was supposed to be a BB guy.

Something smells “fishy”.

I want a congressional investigation…

Comment by Erie Express 03.05.17 @ 8:21 am

Justinian, indeed. Pitt has worked themselves into the proverbial corner with no feasible way out. They are left with two choices, both loser hands. If they fold and cut Stallings loose the resulting chaos will set the recruiting back to what may be an unrecoverable position and will bring about untold reputational damage.

On the other hand if they go all in, doubling down on the hand they have they would be in essence casting their lot with a captain who stood on the helm of a sinking ship, all the while blaming the crew for its plight and calculated every move to ensure his own survival.

Given the pecuniary minded proclivities of this administration, they will no doubt choose the latter.

Clearly a business case of gross incompetence. And the man who sold them down the river left town with all the money and none of the blame. Pure genius. When will they learn?

Comment by Wally 03.05.17 @ 8:39 am

@Keith Young, Artis, Jeter and Jones were once thought to be those highly desirable kids who WANT to listen and WANT to do whatever it takes for the TEAM to win. The group coming in next year could reveal themselves to be much like this group, especially with KS as coach.

Other than volume, I still don’t get the enthusiasm for next year’s class. They are all consensus 3 stars with Thompson being a borderline 4. Only Thompson has an impressive offer list, but it isn’t any more impressive than Damon Wilson’s was. The only reputed shooter in the group is Brown (same weight as Cam Johnson but 2 inches taller). The two jucos (Wilson-Frame and Simons) that seem to really excite some aren’t exactly posting great stats in their conference games. The recently published (PGH Sports Now) list of schools interested in Simons are: Memphis, Utah, Middle Tennessee State, Chattanooga, Dayton, New Mexico State and Portland State. Simons graduated from HS in 2014 and was in HS for five years. I am therefore surmising he will be 22 by the start of next season.

It will be interesting to see how much two junior juco transfers will WANT to listen and WANT to do whatever it takes for the TEAM to win.

Comment by Barvo 03.05.17 @ 8:57 am

If the rumor of Manigault leaving is true, it also says a lot about Stallings. Manigault looks to me to be the kind of guy that could develop into a pretty good power forward, not someone you want to cast off. Especially when you have very little to begin with.

I am not sold on the recruiting class either. Stallings missed on all the elite players he was after and very doubtful these guys will be ACC ready. Especially playing without coaching.

Comment by gc 03.05.17 @ 9:27 am

gc – might I also add, playing before an empty arena…

Comment by Erie Express 03.05.17 @ 9:39 am

the two things the recruiting class has are (1) numbers (as Barvo alluded) and (2) variety … guards, forwards and center. Those are positives.

It remains to be seen (1) how good they are and (2) if the coach can make them winners, which IMO is as big a question mark as if they are talented.

Comment by wbb 03.05.17 @ 9:45 am

How many times do .I have to say the ranking of this class is due to quantity, not quality. Stallings plays the ever popular blame game, all responsible except him.

Comment by JoeKnew 03.05.17 @ 9:53 am

Post game quote from our BB CEO from yesterday –

On the effectiveness of benching Young and Artis:
“It was not the first time that this has happened. I have no way of knowing, and honestly do not care, but my job is to uphold the integrity of the team and do things right by them. We struggled to score at the beginning of the game, and it is not like we closed it down once they came into the game. We didn’t. We didn’t all of a sudden threaten them because we had other players in the game.”

The “do not care” comment stuck out to me…

Comment by Erie Express 03.05.17 @ 9:55 am

Barvo – Next year’s class is a good foundation class only. You can’t win anything substantial with them on their own. Pitt needs to add two top 50 recruits to that roster in 2018. If they do, Pitt can be a really good team again in 2019. I’d say my enthusiasm is tempered and has certain qualifications.

I will say, however, I get to see a lot of upper echelon high school basketball in my area. Thompson has ACC starting talent. I don’t think he should be starting year 1 but he may be thrust into that position. You won’t get the deer in the headlights looks that you get from Damon Wilson though or early Chris Jones. Thompson is part of a legit HS program that feeds D1 rosters. He’s the schools all-time wins holder and plays hard at both ends of the court. He’s a great leader and a kid who doesn’t care too much about the stat sheet … only what the scoreboard says. He has the clutch gene too.

I’m bummed Mannigault is leaving too because I also got to see him in HS. He was always going to be a project though and I was shocked he didn’t red shirt this season.

I harp on the two top 50 recruits because the one of constants with the Final 4 is that teams generally have at least two top 50 recruits. You don’t need five 5 stars to be good. Team chemistry and two players in the 26-50 range that will stay at the school for 3 years is formula.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 03.05.17 @ 10:38 am

HCKS needs to have borderline NBA players to barely make the field of 68. Next Year’s train wreck will make this year look like a pleasure cruise in comparison.

Comment by Tony in Harrisburg 03.05.17 @ 11:45 am

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