Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE
Pitt's athletics department has a field day with us. For some reason, they love breaking news at inopportune times - such as when I'm about to hit the sack. So when the email came through about Malcolm Gilbert transferring, I wasn't all that surprised. Well, okay - I guess I was a little.
Gilbert played as a freshman last year mostly out of necessity. There was Dante Taylor in the middle, but when Khem Birch bolted, he saw more minutes at the end of the season. This year, the plan was to redshirt him - presumably because the Panthers had Taylor to pair along with phenom Steven Adams. The thinking among most fans went that Adams and Taylor would eat up most minutes at center so since Gilbert didn't redshirt last year, doing it this year made sense.
That strategy was fine with me, but maybe it wasn't with Gilbert - although the official reasoning for Gilbert wanting to transfer is, according to head coach Jamie Dixon, "he wants to play with his brother." Oh dear. His brother Marcus currently plays at Fairfield, so, well, yeah. Technically, Marcus could also transfer and the two could take their brother act on the road, but whatever. I never understood the whole 'wanting to play with family' thing. If that was truly what he wanted to do, why not hash all that out first and insist on any prospective school adding his brother a year later?
Don't know much about it than that, but what we do know is that depth at center gets even worse now as Pitt lost Birch and Gilbert over the past two years. The Panthers really have no true backup option at center if either Adams or Taylor would get into foul trouble or worse - go down with an injury.
Head coach Jamie Dixon has now lost three transfers over the past year and at some point, a few questions have to be asked. The Birch transfer was blown off as an immature kid and when Johnson transferred, it seemed due to a glut at guard. But with Gilbert now moving out, Pitt's really in a bit of a bind here. If Adams sticks around, that still gives Pitt only one true center next season (and truth be told, Adams is really more like a power forward). If he changes his mind on what he's said to this point, the Panthers are suddenly without a center, meaning recruiting one becomes the highest priority.
Does Ontario Lett have any eligibility left?