BREAKING: Pitt transfer Josh Newkirk has committed to Indiana, his father told @CBSSports. Two years of eligibility remaining. #iubb— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) August 23, 2015
A few weeks ago, it was announced Josh Newkirk would transfer away from the Pitt program, and today it is being reported that he is heading to Indiana according to Jon Rothstein of CBS. Newkirk is a former three-star recruit that averaged 5.9 points and 2.7 assists per game last season. Newkirk was Pitt's first guard off the bench for the past two seasons.
Heading into this season, CBS called Josh Newkirk the breakout player of the ACC. Unfortunately, it never worked out that way for the Panthers. Newkirk only tallied double figure scoring in seven of Pitt's 34 games this season. In two of Pitt's biggest games, Newkirk managed to only play six minutes against North Carolina and logged just two minutes against Syracuse. He struggled with his outside shooting, and became a liability at times with his turnovers and defense. All this was after a promising freshman season, where he showed flashes of stardom.
Part of Newkirk regression may have been due to an injury. He underwent microfracture surgery this offseason, and was likely not even going to play at all for Pitt as they were planning to redshirt him. With the injury and recovery, it initially sounded like Newkirk would transfer closer to his Raleigh, North Carolina home. So the transfer to Indiana comes as quite the surprise. Oddly enough, Newkirk's best game last season came against the Hoosiers (16 points 8 assists, 2 steals), and obviously it left an impression on Indiana coach Tom Crean.
From Pitt's perspective, it really does not matter for this season's team. If he stayed here, he was taking a redshirt and would not have suited up to help this year's team. To end up at Indiana with the reports of his intentions to get closer to home is a little surprising, though. Anson broke down that Pitt has depth to weather the storm this season, and I must say I agree. Pitt will start James Robinson for the fourth straight season, and any combination of Chris Jones, Sterling Smith, and Damon Wilson will start alongside Robinson with the other two providing depth. Not to mention, Cameron Johnson may be a player to watch after sustaining an injury himself last season.
Newkirk's regression is something also to consider, he just wasn't working out here in Pittsburgh. So as a whole, a fresh start for both sides seems like a good idea. Pitt is heavily pursuing about five point guards in recruiting, and with Damon Wilson (eligibility willing) just a freshman, Pitt should be fine in the long term also.