When guard Josh Newkirk committed to Pitt under head coach Jamie Dixon, it was seen as the Panthers' ability to compete for ACC kids with their move to the conference.
Now, two years later, the guard is leaving the program. Per the Pitt release distributed late Sunday afternoon:
Rising junior Josh Newkirk will return home to continue rehabbing a knee injury school officials announced Sunday. Newkirk, who had microfracture surgery on his left knee May 6, leaves in good academic standing and is expected to transfer to another Division I school.
"Josh is looking to get closer to home while he recovers from knee surgery and we are in full support of his decision," said head coach Jamie Dixon. "He has been an excellent student and strong representative of the University of Pittsburgh. We wish him the best of luck in his rehab and recovery."
Pitt grabbed Newkirk out of North Carolina and was part of the school's transition to compete more for players in ACC territory. He becomes the latest to transfer out of the program as Pitt's musical chairs routine continues.
The injury was expected to sideline him from anywhere from four to six months, meaning he could have been ready by November at the latest. But with the team signing Sterling Smith and having incoming freshman Damon Wilson (hopefully, that is - as of last week, he wasn't yet declared eligible) available to pair with starting point guard James Robinson, a redshirt could have been a possibility, too.
The biggest thing here is the timing and now in August, Jamie Dixon will have little time to fill the roster spot if he wants to go that route. Ideally, Pitt would land a player with one year of eligibility where the scholarship would come open next year. Pickings have to be pretty slim this time of year and we'll have to see what Dixon does with a now vacant slot.
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