Earlier this week after Kevin Stallings was introduced as Pitt's new head coach, all three of Pitt's basketball commitments decided to "open up their recruitments." They asked for a release from their letters of intent, and it looked like Pitt would have to start from scratch. It was hardly unexpected, as a coaching change generally bring defections, especially on the recruiting front. It left Pitt with potentially four open roster spots to fill.
In a few short days, however, it appears all three of the recruits will honor their commitments to Pitt. Corey Manigault was the first to reaffirm his commitment on Tuesday evening. That one was a slight surprise, as Manigault was recruited initially by Marlon "Smoke" Williamson, but Smoke has yet to find a new coaching gig and that may have hurt any chance of the player following the coach. In an article on Pantherlair by Matt Steinbrink, Manigault expressed a few reasons why he decided to stick with the Panthers.
"The biggest thing for me was the city and the fan base. There is nowhere else better to play and that was the difference to me. I couldn't see myself anywhere else.
Justice Kithcart announced late on Thursday night on Twitter that he will also be sticking with the Panthers.
Obviously that is big news, as many consider Kithcart to be the prized recruit of the class. With James Robinson graduating, it leaves a wide open spot for a new point guard next season. Kithcart had a spectacular senior season, and he really elevated his stock over the past few months. The four-star recruit absolutely has a chance to start from day one next season.
The third player in the equation is not quite as definitive just yet. Paul Zeise tweeted Thursday night that Crisshawn Clark is expected to re-commit shortly, and Dan Sostek confirmed it. Clark himself had an interesting tweet Thursday evening suggesting that he has come to a decision. It appears now, that we know he settled on sticking with Pitt.
It feels good to hear that my Coach feels strongly about the decision I'm going to make. #samepage— Crisshawn Clark (@Ohio_Shawn3) March 31, 2016
It was certainly a pleasant surprise that Kevin Stallings was able to win over recruits in a matter of a few days as the head coach. He is noted as a pretty well-regarded recruiter, and he showed right away he can work quickly and effectively. It's no secret that Stallings walked into a tough situation created by his boss, Scott Barnes, but in his short tenure so far Stallings has done and said all the right things.
Assuming there are no roster defections from the current group of players, that would leave Pitt with exactly one roster spot to fill before next season. Pitt has a solid cast of forwards, three different candidates to play point guard, and a few shooting guards in the mix, so the obvious position that they could look to use that last scholarship on would be a true center. Finding a quality high school big man is tough this late in the game, I would guess Stallings and his staff check the graduate transfer market.