First it was Crisshawn Clark. Then came Corey Manigault. Now, Damon Wilson becomes the latest member of the Pitt basketball program to depart.
I am grateful for my experience at Pitt for these last two year, but I have decided to finish my college years at another school. H2P!!— Damon Wilson (@IHate_DamWilson) March 22, 2017
If you count the Justice Kithcart mid-season dismissal and the graduations, that makes a total of eight players that are gone from this year's sub .500 squad.
I'm not entirely sure where I come out on the Wilson departure but it's really difficult to be too upset about it. Wilson played nearly 11 minutes a game last season and, despite not making a big impact, certainly got onto the court to show a little of what he can do. He shot below 35% from the field and was benched for much of this season. When he did get onto the court this year, it mostly was not very good. He made only 26% of his shots and missed all 12 three-pointers that he shot.
There just wasn't a whole lot there and it's pretty clear that without a change in scenery, I'm not sure how much he would have progressed here. I always caution about giving up on underclassmen too soon and if Wilson went somewhere else and thrived, it wouldn't be the strangest thing in the world, I suppose. But I just think his confidence had to be shot here after this season. Pitt desperately needed guard depth and with Clark out and Kithcart often struggilng, Wilson's chance to play was probably as good as he was going to see. So when even this year he couldn't play, I'm sure he felt like the writing was on the wall.
Wilson averaged less than a point per game this year after scoring 3.3 the year before. Where he ends up is anybody's guess. But don't forget that he is only two years removed from being a four-star recruit once with several offers from programs like Georgia Tech, Georgia, and Virginia Tech. Maybe someone is convinced that all he needs is a year of development and some playing time. He also has two years of eligibility left. He may choose a lower level just to get playing time but a weaker major-conference team with holes to fill showing some interest wouldn't surprise me entirely, either.
The narrative that Kevin Stallings will have his own team next year only gets stronger. And ordinarily, while losing so many players in one season is a major blow, when you finish under .500 it's a lot easier to swallow.
As Craig Meyer of the PG notes, Pitt has two scholarship spots open for next year.