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January 13, 2018


ACC Network Affiliates (if lucky) or ACCNetwork Extra/WatchESPN.

As you know by now, Ryan Luther is out for the season. Pitt seems confident that he will be given a medical hardship waiver for an additional year, as the NCAA seems to have gotten a little more relaxed over the years (still bitterly seething over the rejection of Mike Cook’s waiver).

“It hurts not to be out on the court and in practice with my teammates,” Luther said in a statement. “We have a good young core of players that I believe are going to continue to improve each day.

“I was hopeful that the latest MRI would show solid improvement in the foot, but it was pretty clear that it has not responded well enough to return to action without the threat of it becoming a stress fracture like last season.

“I am going to apply for a medical hardship and hope to remain at the University of Pittsburgh for another season. I love my coaches and teammates and believe in what we are building. This university and the city of Pittsburgh are home to me. I am anxious to get healthy and look forward to doing something special here next season.”

Said Stallings: “Ryan’s injury has not responded as well as we had hoped, and our medical team has recommended shutting him down for the remainder of the season. I know Ryan is frustrated with the injuries to the foot the past two years, but everyone involved agrees that it is in his best interest to rest the foot and allow it adequate time to make a complete recovery.”

It makes sense for the program as far as this year to next. It also makes what was already a tough, transition season filled with losses all the worse.

Pitt going 0-ACC is back on the table. As is the likelihood of finishing as the worst team among all the P5 conferences. Right now, Cal (#197) is bringing up the rear per KenPom but Pitt keeps falling lower (down to #192).

By shelving Luther, the Panthers are effectively punting on what was already devolving into a lost season, one in which they are tasked with competing in the ACC with a roster featuring seven freshmen and nine first-year Division I players. Through 17 games, Pitt is 8-9 and 0-4 in the ACC, and has gone 3-4 in its games without Luther. Statistician Ken Pomeroy projects the team to lose its remaining 14 ACC games, which would make it the third team since 1987 to go winless in the conference.

Saving him for next season, though, could be the smarter long-term play for Stallings, who will be in desperate need of some positive momentum in what would be his third season with the program.

Without Luther, Pitt would have had a woefully small number of options on the low post for the 2018-19 campaign, with Golden and four returning players taller than 6-foot-6 who average a combined 7.6 points per game. Now, he will be paired with what will be a promising quartet of sophomores — Marcus Carr, Shamiel Stevenson, Parker Stewart and Khameron Davis — leading scorer Jared Wilson-Frame, who will be a senior, and St. John’s transfer Malik Ellison, who is sitting out this season in adherence to NCAA transfer requirements.

If you want to be really calculating and cynical — and really, that’s a hallmark here — this move almost guarantees Kevin Stallings a third year. A very young, and new team loses its best player to a previous injury.

Next year, Luther would return along with a very good, experienced transfer in Malik Ellison being eligible. The team would be set up with better depth overall and some more size inside.

It also means that a significant improvement would have to happen. Not necessarily making the NCAA Tournament jump, but the team has to be in the conversation at the end of the year. As in somewhere around the “bubble.”

In a vacuum that may seem like too big a step for a team that might finish this year with only 8 wins. But realistically, Pitt can’t wait much longer then next year. Attendance took a big tumble last year. This year, in a rebuild, it has cratered (hopefully). There will be hope for next year, but the team will have to prove itself quickly to give fans a reason to believe they can go to the Pete and think Pitt is going to win.

Pitts a 5 point underdog, this game may be watchable.

Comment by alcofan 01.13.18 @ 1:04 pm

Unrelated but Keith Jackson died today. I always liked to say if he didn’t announce the game it really didn’t count.

Comment by JLE 01.13.18 @ 1:07 pm

Keith called our shining moment, Sugar Bowl National Championship Jan 1st 1977. I was unfortunately 3 months old.

Absolutely hate Randy Bates as new DC hire. Welp gearing up for another Pitt loss. Aaah the life/curse of a Pitt fan…

Comment by Pap76 01.13.18 @ 1:26 pm

So, not a great start todsy

Comment by Keith 01.13.18 @ 2:18 pm

SAD! 🙁

Comment by MariettaMike 01.13.18 @ 2:23 pm

Wow this is ugly our defense is atrocious!

Comment by PittPanFan 01.13.18 @ 2:26 pm

We start in a zone that looks like the softest zone I ever seen in my life kinda reminds me of a middle school zone.

Comment by PittPanFan 01.13.18 @ 2:28 pm

Good for the kids for coming back!, let’s see if we can come all the way back

Comment by Keith 01.13.18 @ 2:48 pm

Please recruit a big that can rebound and is solid in the post

Comment by PittPanFan 01.13.18 @ 3:22 pm

We got D2 bigs that wouldn’t start at Pittsburgh Johnston

Comment by PittPanFan 01.13.18 @ 3:26 pm

Comical but I’m a bad fan. GT is bottom feeder in ACC.

Comment by Upittbaseball 01.13.18 @ 4:23 pm

Just mail it in the rest of the season. Thanks Barnes, Gallagher.

Comment by alcofan 01.13.18 @ 7:38 pm

Thanks barnes u arrogant loser

Comment by Steve 01.13.18 @ 8:21 pm

It’s nice to see that some fans get it, no one wanted stallings and hated how it all went down, but he’s here for who knows how long

Lyke will make her move when she finds who she wants, no reason to make a irrational hire for the time being I cheer and root for the coaches and player we have


Comment by Keith 01.13.18 @ 10:59 pm

Well said, Keith.

Comment by HbgFrank 01.13.18 @ 11:30 pm

Kaezon Pugh-Howard
Kam Carter-Duquesne
Thomas MacVittie-Mesa CC

All the star lovers should recheck those profiles coming out of high school.

Comment by Nick 01.13.18 @ 11:53 pm

Nick – I see two 4’s and one 3 going to sub-D1 schools. Good for them – I’ll root for their success. Go make Pitt proud Lyke Flacco kind of did.

There is not a talent drain, but we have a HC making room for better talent. There are a few 4* FB recruits on campus right now.

The BB game was not a huge help yesterday, as that atmosphere had been in past years.

Comment by Erie Express 01.14.18 @ 6:50 am

I might be upset 2nd most of all (beyond, you know, losing every game) at the impact Stallings has had on the Blather. It has gotten to the point that there is just nothing to talk about now. Look at the last two game threads. Just sad. We used to actually talk basketball. Now, what’s the point?

Comment by DD 01.15.18 @ 7:22 am

DD – agreed. There is nothing to talk about. It’s not even worth bitching about the team. We all just have to bide our time until Stallings leaves. Most of us expected a bad season and the possibility of a winless conference schedule. All we asked for was continued progress and development … and that is not even happening right now. I can find story lines in a bad season. I have 25 years of experience doing it. For the first time, I can’t find a storyline to follow.

If Stallings and Pitt part ways, I’m curious if Pitt makes a run at Crean in the offseason. Not the most popular coach from Pitt’s BE days but fits the MO of what Pitt would be looking for after someone like Stallings.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 01.15.18 @ 9:17 am

Heather would bring her buddy Thad Motta which wouldn’t be a great move in my eyes.

Comment by Upittbaseball 01.15.18 @ 10:00 am

I would take Crean…always seemed to have JD’s number.

Comment by DD 01.15.18 @ 12:34 pm

Crean and Matta is just more of the same.

Comment by JP 01.15.18 @ 7:57 pm

JP – I’m not a big fan. I just think Crean would be at or near the top of the list. I honestly have no idea who’d I want. I know who I don’t want 🙂

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 01.15.18 @ 9:41 pm

Potential Pitt coaches?

Nick McDevitt, UNC-Asheville

Earl Grant, College of Charleston

James Jones, Yale


Comment by Pitt Dad 01.16.18 @ 9:10 am

Dad – The first two would appear to be good fits. I don’t like the guy from Yale. It would be too similar to Stallings. He’s been at Yale since 99′ and lot mediocrity.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 01.16.18 @ 1:30 pm

No one getting revved up for the Pitt Syracuse game tonight?

Comment by alcofan 01.16.18 @ 2:55 pm

Alcoa – This is what Stallings Created a program with zero excitement and following. He is a death sentence.

Comment by Upittbaseball 01.16.18 @ 6:20 pm

+1 upitt

Comment by alcofan 01.16.18 @ 6:55 pm

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