The college basketball season still has another weekend to it, but the off-season is pretty much under way for just about everyone else. The coaching carousel is in full swing, and the scrambling to complete rosters is now in effect.
College basketball has taken an interesting turn in recent seasons, and essentially a form of free agency has taken over the game. More and more transfers happen each season, and the ever-popular graduate transfer rule has been a huge addition in recent seasons. And not to mention, some of the blue-chip recruits wait all this out, and look for the best possible landing spot. It is a wild and wacky few months to say the least.
So with that said, where does that leave Pitt? The Panthers graduate Cameron Wright and Derrick Randall, while junior forwards, Joe Uchebo and Tyrone Haughton have opted to transfer themselves. Pitt is already bringing in four-star Damon Wilson and junior-college transfer, Rozelle Nix. So that essentially leaves two spots for Jamie Dixon and his staff to work with heading into the free agency months. Here are some options that are out there.
-- Cheick Diallo is obviously the biggest name out there still linked to Pitt. The five-star forward from New York has had Pitt in play for quite some time, and he has an obvious interest in the school. We all know by now, the other finalists are Kentucky, Kansas, Iowa State, and St. John's.
We now there are some elements to his recruitment that can change. St. John's has gone from Steve Lavin to Chris Mullin, and the newly named head coach is going to put the full-court press on Diallo. Still, Diallo just played his high school ball in the area, and he himself is not a native New Yorker. But the news of Iowa State's top assistant moving to St. John's may make them the favorite. Iowa State could be in flux with Fred Hoiberg's name in the mix for NBA jobs and the lead recruiter moving on from there, and as I mentioned before, Kansas' and Kentucky's rosters can change rather quickly with NBA early entries.
Having said all that, Pitt is still a possibly landing spot, and a relatively stable one compared to the others and how their rosters and coaches can change in the coming weeks. Obviously Diallo is taking this down to the wire, so we will not know what happens with him for a while yet. Personally, I'm not holding my breathe on him, but I would not be shocked if he picked Pitt, either.
-- Mike Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, is also on Pitt's radar. According to Adam Zagoria, Pitt is one of many suitors for the seven-footer. We also know that Jamie Dixon has been in to visit Thorne. Like Diallo's recruitment, Pitt will be going up against some marquee programs like Kansas and Arizona.
Thorne is an ideal fit for the Panthers, as he can come in and have a chance to start instantly and sure up a team needing a big presence in the middle. He posted 10 points and seven rebounds a game last season, and that is certainly something Pitt could stand to add. Another benefit of adding a one year graduate transfer is that Pitt would turn over his scholarship quickly and would gain one for the already strong 2016 recruiting class.
-- Another immediately eligible transfer that is linked to Pitt is Rafael Maia of Brown University. The 6'9" post player has been a consistent player for Brown, and has averaged roughly 10 points and 7 rebounds for each of the past three seasons. Obviously you have to question the level of competition he plays, but he held his own in some of Bears' tougher non-conference games.
-- Pitt recently got into the mix for a late bloomer named Michael Edwards. He is an athletic 6'10" post player from Michigan and his recruitment has taken off in recent weeks. Pitt, along with SMU, Auburn, and Marquette have recently offered Edwards. Pitt's best connection to the kid is the Michigan AAU circuit, and Pitt's assistant coach Marlon Williamson was a big player in that for a long time. There is obviously increasing competition for Edwards, but at least there appears to be some connection for his services.
-- A big name Pitt fans should be familiar with is Maverick Rowan. He was one time a Pitt commitment, but opened his recruitment when his family moved to Florida. He is technically a 2016 recruit, but recently there was a buzz about him possibly reclassifying. While the initial news of that move definitely happening were premature, it has not been ruled out either. Pitt is still in the mix by most accounts, along with a lot of schools notably, North Carolina and Louisville.
-- An interesting name is Marcus LoVett. Pitt has offered the four-star point guard, but it appears Illinois, DePaul, and St. John's are very much in the mix for his services. For being such a talented player, his recruitment has been a strange one. I'm not sure how far Pitt is in with him, but Dixon has reportedly watched him play several times.
Obviously, those are just some of the ones we have heard about over Twitter. Plenty more possibilities can pop up over the coming weeks, and we are still a ways off from knowing just exactly who will be on Pitt's roster next season. Pitt has a strong team returning with essentially four starters back, and a piece here and there can really push the team into better standing instantly.