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May 22, 2017

This is so stupid.

It has been seven weeks since Cam Johnson made it known that he was transferring from Pitt as a grad transfer with two full years of eligibility left. To no one’s surprise the process of finding a new home has been a slow one.

A long-armed, tall guard who shoots better then 40% on 3s. From a Power conference. He was going to be in demand. And he was. Teams like Arizona, Kentucky, Oregon and others all contacted him. He took plenty of visits.

It was clear that Johnson was looking to play at a big name school where he would get plenty of exposure.

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May 19, 2017

Still Trying to Add Pieces

Filed under: Basketball,Recruiting,Transfer — Chas @ 7:11 am

I don’t know about you, but I needed to do a refresher on Pitt’s scholarship roster before even talking about the remaining recruiting stuff.

Returning players:

Ryan Luther, Forward, Senior

Jonathan Milligan, Guard, Senior

Zach Smith, Guard, Senior

Incoming freshmen:

Marcus Carr, Guard

Khameron Davis, Guard

Shamiel Stevenson, Small Forward

Terrell Brown, Power Forward

Peace Ilegomah, Center

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May 5, 2017

So the  two weeks have been close to positive for Pitt basketball and coach Kevin Stallings. Or at least as good as it’s been since the season ended.

No one else left, a couple coaches hired, a NLI signed and now a transfer. Let’s review.

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April 13, 2017

Awkward Holding Pattern

Filed under: Basketball,Recruiting,Transfer — Chas @ 7:37 am

Sorry about the gap in posting. As usual, I put off doing the taxes until the final week. And naturally, that coincided with a crunch week of 12-hour work days.

There’s not much to really write about what is happening in Pitt basketball at the moment. Pitt is pursuing transfers — grad and regular — visits are on the table. Yet, it doesn’t seem like anything is happening. Even as it also feels like a period of total chaos and a desperate need for something. Anything to happen.

The team for next year will not have one returning starter. A recruiting class that is sevendeep, and it still isn’t enough. There are still rumors of at least one more possible transfer out of the program. I mean, at least it isn’t Memphis, but this is still a mess (or as Pat Forde put it as an aside in a column about this year’s coaching hire — “blooming disaster”).

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April 1, 2017

Cam Johnson Latest to Leave

Filed under: Basketball,Recruiting,Transfer — Chas @ 8:02 am

Well, so much for an impromptu vacation.

You know it’s bad news when a press release is e-mailed out at 5:30 on a Saturday morning:

Redshirt sophomore Cameron Johnson will graduate and transfer following the spring semester school officials announced Saturday morning. The Moon Township, Pa., native will earn his degree in three years at Pitt and have two season of eligibility remaining after receiving a medical redshirt for the 2014-15 season

Johnson averaged 11.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game a year ago as the Panthers finished 16-17 overall and 4-14 in ACC play. A two-time All-ACC Academic Team and a 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-District selection, Johnson finished fifth in the ACC in three-point percentage (.415) and eighth in three-point field goals (2.36 3pg.).

Pitt currently has a seven-player recruiting class featuring highly-touted junior college prospects Jared Wilson-Frame and Troy Simons and high school standouts Aaron Thompson, Marcus Carr, Terrell Brown, Peace Ilegomah and  Shamiel Stevenson. The Panthers have additional scholarships available and will look to reshape the 2017-18 roster with graduate transfers, traditional transfers and late signees. Johnson will become the fourth player to transfer out of the program since the close of the 2016-17 season.

Man, I hadn’t even gotten the coffee made when I saw this. Probably a good thing, when you don’t want to do a spit-take on your phone.

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March 14, 2017

Who Are These Guys?

Filed under: Basketball,Recruiting,Transfer — Chas @ 5:17 pm

That will be the question Cam Johnson, Ryan Luther and Pitt fans will be asking. The Pitt basketball roster continues to, um, evolve.

Freshman Corey Manigault and sophomore Crisshawn Clark will transfer out of the University of Pittsburgh basketball program school officials announced Tuesday. Both players are expected to finish the spring semester and leave the school in good academic standing.

“We wish Corey and Crisshawn the best of luck as they look to continue their collegiate careers elsewhere,” said head coach Kevin Stallings. “We will continue to support both of them through their impending transfers.”

Neither one is a shock.

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January 4, 2016

Chad Voytik Is Moving On

Filed under: Football,Players,Recruiting,Transfer — Chas @ 8:21 pm

I can’t blame him for deciding to transfer after he gets his degree in the spring.

“Chad has been a tremendous leader and teammate during his Pitt career, and certainly during the year I had the opportunity to coach him,” Narduzzi said. “We wish him the very best and will help him any way we can as he maps out his future pursuits. We will always consider him a Pitt Man. His contributions have been invaluable to what we are building here.”

“I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to attend and play for the University of Pittsburgh,” Voytik said. “I am blessed to have met some amazing people along the way: teammates that I’ll always be friends with, coaches that made me a better player and person, and fans that offered a tremendous amount of support. Pittsburgh will always be my second home.”

I wish him nothing but the best.

Let me start by repeating something I am know I have said on Twitter, and I’m pretty sure I have said on this site. It is not conflicting or inconsistent to think:

A. Nate Peterman was the better option at QB in the offense Pitt ran this past season.

B. Chad Voytik was not given a fair chance to keep the starting QB job.

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August 10, 2015

Newkirk Heads Elsewhere

Filed under: Basketball,Transfer — Chas @ 6:13 am

I know, this should be nothing but football coverage at this point. But…

In the space of his two years at Pitt, Josh Newkirk went from speedy sparkplug, to the guy some wanted to supplant James Robinson at point guard, to the guy who became lost on the court, to one of the players many expected/wanted to transfer because his play had fallen so far, to “oh, he had an injury, that explains it.”

In May, we finally learned how bad his injury really was. He needed microfracture surgery on his left knee.

Microfracture surgery is still such an emerging surgical technique for athletes after an injury. In some ways it is akin to UCL (Tommy John) surgery in the 80s. It works, but the recovery rates and level of recovery from where the player was, vary greatly.

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August 9, 2015

Pitt’s fall training camp starts today with the player’s reporting in from their time off-campus where they were tasked with finding a spot for the next new Pitt Stadium.  Serious on-field stuff won’t begin until tomorrow however when the staff and team can get on the field and start getting familiar with the new crop of players and reacquainted with the physical side of actual football.

Just as a point of info here is how the practice days will be conducted in general. A typical single practice day will go like this:

Coach Narduzzi Briefing: 9:25 a.m.

Practice Viewing/Photography Window: 9:55-10:25 a.m.

Closed practice from 10:25 until 12:15

Interviews: 12:15 p.m. (select players and assistants)

This is what we’ll see when Tuesday’s Media Day rolls around and  I’ll be up there for those sessions (more on that later):

Practice Viewing/Photography Window: 9:55-10:25 a.m.

Coach Narduzzi Press Conference: 1:30 p.m. (second floor team room)

Team Interview and Photo Session: 2:45-4 p.m. 

Some interesting things to note is that in all of the allowed two-a-day practices the evening practice is completely closed to the media.  That makes sense as no real news will be generated between 2:30 or so until they start up again in the evening. So that is the logistics behind the next three weeks of camp.

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May 27, 2015

Temporary Frontcourt Depth

Filed under: Basketball,Recruiting,Transfer — Chas @ 7:39 am

Over the last five years, depth in the frontcourt has been a major issue. A decent to very good starter — not as much an issue as it sometimes gets portrayed. It’s been the drop-off when that player has to come off the court. With agonizing misses of top-ranked recruits,  injuries, transfers, and players who were overmatched when they got to Pitt, though,  it has been a struggle to simply have one decent frontcourt player to come off the bench.

After this past season and lack of front court depth looking acute, Coach Jamie Dixon has gone hard for the short-term fix.

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May 7, 2015

Newkirk’s Knee

Filed under: Basketball,Injury,Recruiting,Transfer — Chas @ 12:15 pm

Josh Newkirk had knee surgery last week.

Pitt guard Josh Newkirk, who averaged 5.9 points and was second on the team with 93 assists last season, is expected to be out four to six months after having surgery to correct damage in his left knee, coach Jamie Dixon said Wednesday.

Team physician Dr. Bryson Lesniak performed the surgery last week. It involved repairing Newkirk’s lateral meniscus and a micro fracture on the outside part of his knee.

“We expect Josh to make a full recovery and rejoin his teammates for the upcoming 2015-16 season,” Dixon said. “He’ll start summer school on Monday. The surgery was a success, and we know that Josh will work hard during the rehabilitation period.”

I remain continually amazed at the ability of the Pitt athletic department to keep information so tight.

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May 4, 2015

Grad Transfers Galore

Filed under: Basketball,Recruiting,Transfer — Chas @ 7:28 am

After adding some perimeter help for the 2015-16 season in Sterling Smith, Coach Jamie Dixon and Pitt basketball grabbed some frontline help. Rafael Maia is a Brazilian-born forward who played at Brown the last three years. Like Smith, Maia is a graduate transfer and eligible to play the upcoming season.

He’s 6-9 and averaged 9.9 points and 8.7 rebounds per game last year. He brings good size inside and will be looked to to help on defense and rebounding more than anything else.

Maia had Southern Cal and Nebraska pursuing him, but decided on Pitt after his visit to USC and without taking a trip to Nebraska.

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April 29, 2015

According to Chris Peak, Pat Narduzzi tapped into his Michigan State pipeline to add former Spartan Mark Scarpinato to the team. Scarpinato, a 6’3 286 pound DT, is an interesting case. He left MSU after the 2013-14 season to go to med school at Wisconsin. At that point Scarpinato was a redshirt sophomore yet had already graduated, an impressive achievement.

Scarpinato appeared in all 14 games of his sophomore season as part of a four man defensive tackle rotation on the number one defense in the nation. I’ll look into how his eligibility will function in terms of whether or not his year off counts against him. I would assume so and that would mean the former Spartan will only be able to play this upcoming season. At worst, Scarpinato is proven depth at DT and can use his experience to aid his fellow DL in adapting to a new scheme. At best, he could be a starter on a DL that under-performed last season.

Also in recruiting news, a JUCO WR eligible to play this fall could be coming to town. Rafael Araujo-Lopes picked up an offer from Pitt, and it’s a safe bet that with Rob Harley in California today to visit him, the deal could be closed soon.

April 28, 2015

Yesterday morning my daughter left on a weeklong school trip to Williamsburg, Virginia. She had to be at the school and boarding the bus around 5 am. You can imagine the fun of trying to get a newly-minted teen roused and ready at 4 am. As eager as she was for the trip and to get away from us, it was still 4 in the frickin’ morning.

The original plan was that I would get to sleep in while my wife would do the work of getting her up and out. Taking full advantage of that maternal instinct of seeing off her little girl and all that. Naturally my wife got sick over the weekend and it fell to me. The only upside being I could get into work very early and be able to finish early. Plus, at least I wouldn’t have to worry about taking the boy to school.

All went relatively smoothly with getting the girl to her school and on the bus.Aafter the slight alteration to the plan, it seemed that this day would work out well.

By seven the wife had texted me to to let me know that the boy had vomited, and the internet was out at the house. Oh, and when was I going to get home? Yeah, work on a Monday was the safe haven. The internet is still out as it seems that the modem died. The replacement won’t arrive until Wednesday. Given the rapid rate this one crapped out, I finally broke down and ordered an additional modem so that there is a back-up ready to be swapped out to avoid the agony of no computer access. No streaming video service. It is suddenly very quiet in the house.

This is a roundabout, complaining way of explaining why there was no immediate posting on the latest player to transfer into Pitt football.

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April 24, 2015

Help On the Perimeter

Filed under: Basketball,Recruiting,Transfer — Chas @ 7:21 am

Well, a domino fell Pitt’s way. Damion Lee is a graduate transfer from Drexel, and yesterday he opted to go to Louisville. That was enough for another graduate transfer, Sterling Smith, to rule out the Cards and opt for Pitt.

BorzSterlingSmith is a 6-4 guard, though I’ve also seen him listed at 6-2. Love the accuracy of measurements of high school and college players.

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