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Ex-Pitt star Julius Page weighs in on Stallings debate

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Page: “I feel we’re not giving the man a fair shot.”

Pittsburgh v Virginia Photo by Chet Strange/Getty Images

Head coach Kevin Stallings and the Pitt Panthers were dealt another defeat at the hands of the Syracuse Orange on Saturday, falling 60-55 at the Petersen Events Center. The loss dropped the team to 0-9 in the ACC, doing little to stifle the ongoing debate over Stallings’ future at Pitt.

That debate came up during the pregame show on 93.7 The Fan, and former Pitt guard Julius Page became the latest alumnus of the basketball program to weigh in on the coach. His stance was somewhat surprising.

”I feel for the guy,” Page said. “Whether we liked him from the start or not, I feel we’re not giving the man a fair shot. ... And as an alum, in my opinion, I would be anti-getting rid of this guy.”

Page’s take on Stallings stands in stark contrast to that of the last Pitt product to go public with his feelings on the coach, as former guard LeVance Fields was clearly disappointed that former assistant Brandin Knight — Page’s former teammate — was overlooked for the job.

Fields voiced his displeasure with the state of the program and Stallings, in particular, the morning after Pitt suffered its worst loss since 1906 to Louisville in January 2017.

Given the abysmal start to conference play this year, many fans have grown frustrated with Stallings, and the conversation about Pitt in the local media has centered on whether the university will part ways with the coach at the end of the season.

However, another faction of the fanbase has clearly bought into Stallings’ description of the 2017-18 season as his “second first year” and continues to call for patience. That stance isn’t entirely without its merits, either, as the coach’s departure could cause another exodus of talent, undoing what little progress he has made.

With all that said, the results Stallings has led the Panthers to have certainly been disappointing, even by his own admission, and as long as that continues to be the case, the debate over his future will carry on.

Still, it’s interesting to learn that within that debate, Pitt’s former players are apparently as divided as the fanbase is over the future of the coach.