April 26, 2017

No Bad News Is Some Good News

Filed under: Basketball,Recruiting — Chas @ 7:33 am

No one else has left Pitt’s basketball program. One of the late verbals even made it official by signing his Letter of Intent.

Pitt has added to its 2017 recruiting class with the official signing of a national letter of intent by 6-10 center Peace Ilegomah. The talented big man joins a solid three-man class of Rivals Top 100 point guard Marcus Carr, big man Terrell Brown and junior college standout Jared Wilson-Frame.

“We are excited about our incoming class,” said head coach Kevin Stallings. “We are going to build around players committed to one another, the community and the university and this is a talented group of players that will help form the foundation of this program.”

Ilegomah averaged a double-double with 14.0 points and 12.0 rebounds per game along with 3.0 blocks per game to help guide the CBD Montverde [Fla.] postgrad team to a 25-7 record and a runner-up finish in the National Prep Championship. The native of Lagos, Nigeria played two seasons at Roselle Catholic [N.J.] prior to doing a postgrad year at Montverde Academy. He is listed as the No. 27 center in the class by 247Sports.

It is expected that small forward Shamiel Stevenson will sign his LOI this weekend.

If you’ve been missing the subtle nuances of Coach Kevin Stallings message in the last week it is not the part about building a foundation. It is about players committing to the team — whether that team is the school, the basketball program or the head coach.

In light of departures — some expected and one not so much — that has (to completely understate this) concerned Pitt fans with immediate future of Pitt basketball. The message uttered after Cam Johnson has announced his transfer. After Aaron Thompson was released from his LOI (oh, and is now considering VCU where assistant coach Jeremy Ballard went after only one year on staff under Stallings at Pitt).

The message is that the players signed, those that are still here and those that will be signed (or transfer in to Pitt) are the ones truly committed to Pitt basketball. And without saying it, suggesting that those that left or don’t come to Pitt are not committed and should be ignored.

It is really the only message available. He can’t lash out at the players who left. He can’t complain about the misses. Stallings can only play up the commitment from the players he has. And talk up rallying around them and the team.

There are possible transfers still coming. Stallings and Pitt basketball have some big visits coming up over the next couple weekends. He needs to close the deal with at least one of them. He really needs some recruiting wins, and soon.

Another thing unresolved is replacing Ballard (P.S., might be time to get his name off the list of coaches on the site). Director of Basketball Operations, Dan Cage, has been allowed to go recruiting with Ballard’s departure. He might get promoted to full assistant, but the lack of any news on this front is another troubling undercurrent.

Like so much of Pitt basketball since March. Another unsettled issue. That is the theme of this offseason to date. Unsettled and instability with a complete cone of silence around the program. In the absence of any information, and even leaks. Well, people will fill in the gaps with their own biases and based on what has taken place so far. Further portraying a program descending rapidly into the abyss.

Zero acc wins this year maybe a few in preseason non conference games. Maybe.

Comment by Steve 04.26.17 @ 7:45 am

(warning heavy sarcasm ahead)

Good Job Stallings!!! Now his offensive genius will be showcased! Now that he has his own player and maybe a second player this weekend things will change.

IF he could only have 5 maybe 6 players in total then we would truly witness this coach who is adored by opposing coaches (and only opposing coaches) really shine.

Not only all that, but his attitude and approach will completely change. He will be a stand up guy. He will not blame these players for the teams short comings. They will take the blame for losses and wins as a team. He won’t berate players publicly (he enjoys doing it but will change now promise) he will instead discuss issues behind closed doors away from the media.

Yes all this will change now that Kevin Stallings his first and only player.

Now all we have to do is sit back and watch the awesome begin.

Comment by Tony in Harrisburg 04.26.17 @ 8:10 am

Can we choose conferences for different sports?

Heck, ND can.

If so, I vote for the Patriot League for hoops.

We’d be competitive.

Comment by steve1 04.26.17 @ 8:29 am

Chas, as usual, with the uncanny sense of reality. You’re absolutely right. Perception has become reality because that’s all we have to latch on to. The program has the appearance of one in disarray. Until we see something showing otherwise, that’s all we can grasp. Lyke has already pushed out one of Barnes’ cronies.

link to

Change will come. Maybe not at the speed some fans would prefer, but it’s going to start rolling downhill soon. You start at the top and it trickles down. That’s how you fix culture.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 04.26.17 @ 8:36 am

Pitt was going to hit bottom no matter the coach.

The cupboard was bare. Always tough to follow a legend, especially when he hasn’t recruited an elite player since Adams.

That being said, Stallings has been an abject failure on every level.

Why you would give a six year contract to a guy that was being fired, is complete incompetence.

He would have come for three. Pitt administration is the worst. Heywood, Graham and now this guy. Will we ever stop shooting our self in the foot? Stallings and the program will get hammered by the fans and media this year, the death spiral continues.

At least we have learned that an on campus facility doesn’t guarantee success.

Comment by gc 04.26.17 @ 8:36 am

gc – it appears 6 year contracts are in vogue. Every recent hire across the NCAA’s has been for 6 years. That bothered me too, initially, but it appears to be an industry trend.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 04.26.17 @ 8:55 am

6 years is standard now. Duquesne’s new coach got 7 years.

Comment by rayhpgh 04.26.17 @ 9:38 am

Where can I get one of these 6 year contracts? It’s not a reality in “real business life”!! Hope Barnes rots in hell for what he’s done to Pitt Basketball.

Comment by Dan 72 04.26.17 @ 10:16 am

Assuming Stallings deal is for six years, the year old Jeff Goodman tweet that continues to be reported as fact, it should be a cautionary tale for schools hiring marginal coaches. A six year contract duration should still bother folks as opposed to being accepted. Hopefully six year duration contracts go out of vogue.

Goodman also the tweet behind the 7 year reported term for Dambrot at Duquesne. It must be his thing and everybody just gloms on.

Comment by Barvo 04.26.17 @ 10:37 am

Pitt’s new asst coach link to

Comment by wbb 04.26.17 @ 11:14 am

So, some good news for Pitt basketball. Frankly, Ferry is the kind of guy I wanted to see; interesting remark by Rice. And, Peace is exactly what we needed for this program, in more ways than one.


Comment by 1618mt 04.26.17 @ 12:02 pm

Peace is a middling recruit ranked in the 250’s that probably shouldn’t be in the lineup until he’s a redshirt Jr. Meanwhile, he’ll not be getting a redshirt and probably getting significant playing time out of the gate in the ACC.

I’m also not a fan of Ferry. He’s just a comfortable hire having been with Stallings in the past. I’m not sure how he helps Pitt where it needs help the most … recruiting.

A 2010 graduate of Vanderbilt with a degree in Human and Organizational Development, Ferry worked for four years as a student manager including as the head manager as a senior before being appointed to the Commodores basketball staff in the summer of 2010. Ferry spent the 2010-11 season as the Vanderbilt Director of Video Operations.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 04.26.17 @ 12:32 pm

@steve1 – wouldn’t it make more sense, given the announcement, to go for a 3 on 3 rec league?


Comment by Pitt Dad 04.26.17 @ 1:13 pm

@1618mt – Ferry is a Vandy grad. He’s gone as soon as KS leaves (or is defenestrated).


Comment by Pitt Dad 04.26.17 @ 1:14 pm

I like Ferry….for Head Coach!

Comment by Dan 72 04.26.17 @ 1:34 pm

Regarding Ferry, if we’re going to eliminate candidates who are not Pitt grads because we’re afraid they might leave, then- ouch! That’s a tough way to live. I also don’t believe concern with KS should color our opinions of everything that happens with the program, unless there’s a substance.

Tossing, what I like about Peace is his size, athleticism and, per past articles, his defensive skill set. He reminds me of, potentially, an Eric Mobley type of player, the very kind of player we’ve lacked for many years. As far as the “250 rating”, that’s a total joke, he played for Monteverde grad team, there’s no credible data to suggest validity to that; yeah, that could prove accurate, but it’s totally throwing darts.

Comment by 1618mt 04.26.17 @ 1:36 pm

I am also a fan of Peace’s skill set. It’s been a long time since we had athletic center. However, to Tossing’s point, he will apparently be thrown to the lions next year as a true frosh, maybe too much too soon

Comment by wbb 04.26.17 @ 2:04 pm

Yeah – nothing against Peace but he’s super raw. Nowhere near ready to be playing. He has a chance to be a good player and I’m happy he’s a Panther but I highly doubt he’ll pay dividends anytime soon.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 04.26.17 @ 2:50 pm

Well, I agree with that, even Adams was raw as a freshman, and big men do develop more slowly. However, if all you’re asking for is defense initially, then he’ll have a chance to contribute as role player (this of course all assumes that he has potential).

Comment by 1618mt 04.26.17 @ 3:01 pm

Steve Adams was a 5 star recruit and the #2 overall in his class … and still took some time to fit in. Peace is #256 in his class which would be the equivalent of an 8th round draft pick in the NBA. The other guy we’re waiting on, Shamiel, is also in the 250’s. Both should be redshirting.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 04.26.17 @ 3:19 pm

I lobbied for King Rice, Ferry’s ex-boss, pre KS. Our powers-that-be back then said otherwise, how dare the UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH hire a rehabilitated drinker?

Instead we got an un-rehabilitated non-winner

Pitt Dad, yes, you’re right, 3 may be all we’ve gotmany

Comment by steve1 04.26.17 @ 6:39 pm

got, just got, sorry

Comment by steve1 04.26.17 @ 6:39 pm

TT – I’ll be confident of where Peace is, or is not, when I see him play, but to suggest that’s he’s the 256th best player in the country based on the rivals rating for him is laughable (as if anyone knew). In the case of Stevenson I don’t buy it either, but I do think its fairer in his case because there’s more data to assess. Sometimes I think people put way too much stock in that stuff, though I don think most recruiting sites tend to do a good job with about the top 50+ kids or so.

Steve1 – I have no idea why Rice wasn’t considered, I liked him at the time too, but then again that’s only the tip of the iceberg with that hire…

Comment by 1618mt 04.27.17 @ 7:35 am

Sorry… I DO think sites do a solid job with to 50+++

Comment by 1618mt 04.27.17 @ 7:36 am

1618mt – all you have to do is look at the offer list and neither had any besides Pitt. Both are developmental prospects that hopefully turn into something as upperclassmen. I’m fairly confident neither should be getting significant playing time as freshmen in a conference like the ACC. I’m happy to welcome them to Pitt and I can’t wait to root for them but I’m not counting on them to be program changers, which is what Pitt needs.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 04.27.17 @ 9:53 am

Peace seems the kind of player Dixon would work with for 2-3 years to the point he would be a good fit…like Mobley or McGhee. We will see what KS does with him…or not if we get rid on him at the end of the upcoming season.

Comment by DD 04.27.17 @ 10:27 am

Off topic a bit, but one wonders what the Zoo will be like this year. Talk about air flying out of the balloon…it is one thing when fans don;t show up…but this season, the Zoo could only be half full…inconcievable!

Comment by DD 04.27.17 @ 10:28 am

DD – yeah, I’m hoping the Zoo can keep the student section filled. BTW, it’s no secret that I’m not a fan of Stallings but I’ll always be rooting for Pitt and will 100% not mind if I eat crow. I hope I’m wrong. I’m not bailing on the program but will vent my frustrations. I’ll still attend games and watch on TV.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 04.27.17 @ 10:34 am

Agreed…I love Pitt enough to watch them even when they suck, though admitedly, when they are good I don’t miss a game, when they suck maybe I watch 33%. But I still have the desire to watch!

Comment by DD 04.27.17 @ 10:46 am

DD – you got it (re Peace), and that all men take time to develop. What I was saying is that to come in as a role player to rebound and defend the interior, is doable if a guy has the athleticism, even for a freshman in the ACC. He was on a grad team, nobody knew about him, and I’m giving kudos to KS for finding him; even if he doesn’t pan out, this is exactly the kind of prospect KS needs to look for, under the radar, until he establishes himself (or gets fired, whatever comes first).

And I agree with you again DD, I will always root for them even if they’re struggling, the only thing that makes we walk away is when the effort and passion is not there, that to me makes them unwatchable. I will be stunned if the program regains its mojo under KS, but I will be rooting for them to do just that.

Comment by 1618mt 04.27.17 @ 12:38 pm

Yep – when the team doesn’t care, it pisses me off and that was the vibe I got at times this year. Say what you want about Dixon but only once did I think the team quit on him (Rutgers) and then they responded well and closed the season playing hard and won the dumb fake tourney twice removed.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 04.27.17 @ 1:04 pm

Agree 1618.

Who knows maybe we just put Peace and Nix down low to clog it all up and grab every miss. Will work great in the non-con. Not so much in the con.

Comment by DD 04.27.17 @ 1:24 pm

No one heard of Peace? That is BS. He is better than anything Dixon signed in recent years.

Don’t bash recruits because you don’t like KS.

He has good size and is athletic.

Comment by notrocketscience 04.30.17 @ 9:36 am

I like all the recruits. Dixon didn’t do shit.

Comment by notrocketscience 04.30.17 @ 9:37 am

Pulled this from the Trib –

link to

May be the best signing for this class – seems ready to play on day one. Only need one more to be ready now if Milligan & Nix stay at Pitt with Luther.


Comment by Erie Express 04.30.17 @ 7:49 pm

Rocket – Who said no one heard of Peace? I may have said look at who was recruiting him. He didn’t have a lot of offers. That’s a fact.

I think most of us, realistically, just don’t expect much from him for a few years. No bashing. Nothing out of the ordinary for a recruit ranked in the 250’s. He’s not ACC ready as a freshman though.

Erie – There is no way Shamiel is ready to play day one. He only shot 43% from the field in HS. What will ACC defenses do to him? Plus, he’s another recruit ranked in the 250’s. He could end up being a good player for Pitt but he should be redshirting with the hope of him being a regular contributor as a redshirt sophomore or Junior.

As far as a foundation goes, the class is fine … if Stallings actually makes it the end of his 6 year contract. You need role players like these two … once they develop.

This isn’t bashing recruits. It’s just understanding the landscape of the ACC. You can hate on Dixon’s recruiting but he still generally recruited in the 75-125 range. Once you get outside the top 125, kids fall into the developmental label in a conference like the ACC which is littered with top 75 recruits.

If Stalling survives this year, he’s going to have to start bringing in Top 50ish type recruits. That’s how you upgrade over Dixon. Dixon’s teams generally over-performed based on recruiting rankings. Stallings has not shown he has the coaching acumen to have a team over-perform. He’ll need the talent to be the x-factor instead of coaching ability. He’s not going to get there with recruits ranked in the 250’s.

Dixon didn’t do shit?

Big East champs
Big East tournament champs
11/13 NCAA tournaments
Two #1 seeds in NCAA’s
Elite 8
#1 overall ranking in Polls

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 05.01.17 @ 10:24 am

Wait, Jamie Dixon is back again?

@TT That was X2 as Big East champs

Dixon accomplished Pitt’s only upsets of a #1 ranked team (twice) against UConn in 2009.

Dixon was also national coach of the year in 2009-2011 as recognized by The Sporting News, USA Basketball and Naismith.

From Jim Boeheim:

“The thing about Jamie is not only did he have the best record, but he did it when the league was probably as difficult to play in as [it was at] any other time in history,” says Boeheim, who coached in the Big East for 34 years and ranks second all-time in NCAA victories. “He made it happen because his teams play great defense and they work hard, like him. Good doesn’t describe Jamie as a coach; he’s great. He’s taken that program to a place and to a level never before seen [at Pitt]. It’s incredible what’s happening in Pittsburgh — and it’s because of Jamie Dixon.”

Dixon was the winningest coach in Big East history.

Dixon had winning records against Boeheim, Calhoun, Wright and Huggins. Dixon was .500 against Roy Williams. He was just below .500 against Coach K and Pitino. All but Huggins are NC winners. All but Wright and Huggins are in the HOF and it’s only a matter of time for Huggins.

That’s a lot of shit done.

Comment by Barvo 05.01.17 @ 12:55 pm

Barvo – The disrespect he gets is comical. I won’t argue those that say he needed a change of scenery. That’s a logical argument and one I kind of sorta agree with. I also think that this year’s rebuild could have been the fresh start he needed with 4 seniors leaving.

Those that absolutely dismiss his accomplishments drive me bonkers though. The recruiting criticisms even go overboard as he usually had starting lineups with players ranked 75-125. He even had three 5 stars commit to the program.

He’s one of the most accomplished coaches, regardless of sport, to represent Pitt.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 05.01.17 @ 1:13 pm

Jamie’s current recruiting class at TCU is ranked 31st

Pitt isn’t even in the top 45

Creighton, Xavier, Arizona State, Providence, Colorado, Vandy, VA Tech, Miami, FL State, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest have recruiting classes ranked higher than Pitt right now.

Per Chris Peak’s podcast last week – who does KS have to introduce to a recruit when he visits the Pitt campus? One player – Ryan Luther.

Think about that – the introduction at the Pete – one handshake, a game of PIG and you take him to the Dirty O for lunch.

Comment by Erie Express 05.01.17 @ 3:50 pm

A few other top 35 recruiting classes that make me go hmmm…

Iowa 35
MD 32
USC 26
Iowa State 23
Stanford 11
Western Ky 10
Missouri 9
Alabama 4


Comment by Erie Express 05.01.17 @ 6:18 pm

I actually like our recruits idk if they will be ready to play in the ACC right away but they will definetly get the attention as a starter right away because every position is up for grabs nobody is a lock so whoever comes into camp willing to learn and works hard will start weather there a freshman or a grad transfer. Stevenson is athletic and can play above the rim. Peace is an athletic Center and is a good defender. Jared Wilson Frame is a good passer and scorer. Marcus Carr can be a good floor general who can shoot and drive to the basket and finish thru contact.

Comment by PittPanFan 05.02.17 @ 7:55 am

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