A couple of days late on this but ICYMI, former Pitt assistant coach under Jamie Dixon, Brandin Knight, will not be joining the staff of new head coach Kevin Stallings.
“Pitt will always hold a special place in my heart but after careful consideration I have decided to continue my career elsewhere. I can’t thank the administration, the fans, alums, the Oakland Zoo and the people of Pittsburgh enough for making my time here amazing.
“Coach Stallings and his staff will do a great job of continuing the winning tradition of Pitt basketball. While it is difficult to say goodbye to a place that has been home for 17 years, I’m extremely excited for the opportunities that lie ahead!!! H2P”
It's not a huge surprise that Knight would decline. Reports indicate that he interviewed for the head job when Jamie Dixon left for TCU (and Dixon reportedly endorsed him for the job), but not getting the job probably disappointed him to some degree. And without Dixon around anymore, that took away some of the familiarity.
Plus, another reason that Knight may have passed is that, per Kevin Gorman of the Trib, the job under Stallings would have been a demotion. Knight was Dixon's top assistant but would not have had that role under the Panthers' new coach.
Interestingly enough, the loss of Knight looks even bigger when you consider a recent article in the Trib. Wade Baldwin's father talked about Pitt recruiting his son (Baldwin was a kid that Pitt recruited but he ended up at Vanderbilt) and in not so many words, essentially said that Knight was the reason his son considered the Panthers and that he was an excellent recruiter. Conversely, he said that Dixon did a poor job and was unimpressive. While we don't know how accurate that may be, it is the tale of at least one recruit's family on the record saying that Dixon did a poor job in recruiting him.
Let's be clear here - Knight wasn't landing a slew of five-star guys by any means. But according to this article, he certainly carried his weight when it came to recruiting. Losing that bit of continuity hurts to some degree. While Stallings is seen as a good recruiter, I have little doubt that he could have used Knight has he starts looking for talent in new places.
Knight didn't release his intentions yet so it's not know where he'll wind up. But there's little doubt that he has other opportunities and you can expect him to resurface somewhere soon.
Should Knight eventually land a head coaching job and have any kind of success at all, you have to imagine he'll be a guy that Pitt could have on their radar at some point in the future.