Pitt is in hot pursuit of 2015 big man Cheick Diallo (who had a solid game at Saturday's Nike Hoop Summit), but also heavily chasing after Charlotte transfer Mike Thorne. Several programs, including Kansas and Illinois, are reportedly in the mix to land Thorne, but a new player has apparently entered the field recently:
Graduate transfer Mike Thorne is visiting Pittsburgh this weekend. Kansas, Illinois to get visits. Also now has new interest from Kentucky.— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) April 10, 2015
Kentucky in the mix obviously hurts Pitt here. They had enough competition already and the Wildcats throwing their hat into the ring will make it more difficult for the Panthers to land him. It also makes Kentucky a candidate to pluck both Diallo and Thorne, the two big men we've heard most linked to Pitt in terms of guys they are pursuing for next year's team. With the Wildcats losing arguably their seven best players to the NBA Draft this year, one thing they can certainly offer is some playing time.
Thorne, who was born in Fayetteville, NC, has the allure of playing in the ACC if he joins Pitt. He averaged 10.1 points and 7.3 rebounds for the 49ers this year. At 6'11" and 270 pounds, it goes without saying that his size would be a tremendous asset to a slightly undersized frontcourt last year.
Losing out on both Diallo and Thorne would be a major disappointment. Thorne represents a short-term fix since he only has one year of eligibility left, but he would still significantly help a Pitt team that lacked enough of a presence in the paint this past season.