2022 Record: 24-12 (14-6)
Head Coach: Jeff Capel (Career Record 250-191) (Pitt Record 75-81)
PG: Jaland Lowe
SG: Ishmael Leggett (Rhode Island 16.4 Pts, 5.8 Reb, 2.4 Ast)
SF: Zach Austin (High Point 14.1 Pts, 5.4 Reb, 1.3 Ast)
PF: Blake Hinson (15.3 Pts, 6.0 Reb, 1.2 Ast)
C: Federiko Federiko (6.6 Pts, 5.3 Reb, 0.5 Ast)
6: C Guillermo Diaz Graham (3.5 Pts, 3.2 Reb, 0.7 Ast)
7: PF Pape Kante (Injured)
8: SG Carlton Carrington
9: PF Jorge Diaz Graham (2.9 Pts, 2.2 Reb, 0.4 Ast)
10: SF William Jeffress (2021-22- 3.4 Pts, 3.3 Reb, 0.6 Ast)
11: SG Marlon Barnes Jr.
12: SG Michael Hueitt (Catawba 8.2 Pts, 3.1 Reb, 0.7 Ast)
Pitt went into the portal this offseason to reel in projected starters and high volume scorers Zach Austin from High Point and Ish Leggett from Rhode Island. Leggett had a dramatic rise in his production this past season at Rhode Island. He’s been inconsistent from the field on occasion and needs to work on improving his three point shooting numbers but he has that scoring potential to be a productive player for Pitt next season. Zack Austin is in a similar situation as Leggett is in terms of production and impact. Austin is also a very high volume scorer that was inconsistent at times, but when he’s on he can really score in bunches. One of Leggett or Austin, preferably both, will need to dramatically improve their three point shooting stats to give Pitt a chance to be a quality team in the ACC next season.
Some players that are returning for the Panthers next season include Blake Hinson, Federiko Federiko, and William Jeffress. Hinson was the most productive player for the Panthers last season. He really surprised after taking a full season off and committing late in the process last year. The Ole Miss transfer impressed averaging over 15PPG and 6RPG. He improved in nearly every statistical category after making the jump from Ole Miss to Pitt. He will need to take on a leadership role being one of the older players on a team full of young underclassman that need development. Jeffress is a forward who missed all of last season with a toe injury. He struggled in his first 2 seasons from the floor, but the year off and recovery could be what he needed to make a big jump. Federiko was the primary center for the Panthers last season. He excels on the defensive end and has nice touch around the rim in addition to being an above average rebounder.
Rising sophomore big men Guillermo Diaz Graham and Jorge Diaz Graham are additional returners for the Panthers. The twins out of Spain committed late in the process last season and contributed in a solid way for the team last year. Neither brother saw a ton of action, but when called upon they played hard and filled their role well. Both brothers are very athletic with the ability to stretch the floor. Pitt also got a commitment from D2 transfer Michael Hueitt out of Catawba. The 6-3 guard could provide some shooting off the bench on occasion.
The Panthers also hauled in an elite recruited class in which all players could compete for rotational minutes early and some even have the chance to start. Pitt originally signed Dior Johnson an elite point guard who was projected by many to start and have a very productive season. He, however, is no longer with the team and his spot will be replaced with 4 star PG Jaland Lowe out of Texas ranked #89 in the 247 sports rankings. Pitt also signed 4 star PF Papa Kante ranked #74 in the 247 rankings who was originally committed to Michigan. Another Pitt signee inside the top 100 is guard Carlton Carrington out of Baltimore ranked #91. The final signee in Pitt’s star studded class is 3 star guard Marlon Barnes Jr out of Cleveland.
Pitt should be toward the middle of the ACC standings next season. Pitt outperformed their preseason expectations last season by sneaking into the NCAA Tournament playing in the first four. Pitt seems more like an NIT team this season if they make any postseason play. Their season in the ACC next season looks to be 6th and their floor is 10th. It will be interesting to see how these 2 new transfer additions mesh with what is already returning to the Panthers squad.