Pitt head coach Jeff Capel named redshirt junior guard Malik Ellison the captain of the men’s basketball team for the upcoming season in an announcement on Tuesday morning.
”Malik has done a tremendous job leading our team in the offseason and has earned the honor of being named team captain,” Capel said in a statement. “His work ethic is contagious, and he has done a great job taking our newcomers under his wing during the first summer session. Malik brings energy and excitement to every workout, and his voice resonates with his teammates and our staff. I look forward to watching him continue to grow as a leader in our program.”
Ellison has yet to take the court for the Panthers, as he transferred into the program from St. John’s in 2017 and was required to sit out a year due to NCAA rules. However, he was described by former Pitt head coach Kevin Stallings as perhaps the team’s best player in practice last season, and it would appear from his statement that Capel concurs with Stallings.
His lack of in-game action in blue and gold notwithstanding, Ellison is likely the team’s best option to fill such a role, as he took part in 57 games with the Red Storm, has spent the past year with the Panthers, and will be one of three scholarship-holding upperclassmen on the roster.
”It is an honor to be named team captain, and I am excited about the opportunity to help lead our team,” Ellison said in response to the news. “We are working hard every day to re-establish a winning culture here at Pitt. We have a great coaching staff, and we are all committed to one another. We have a chance to build something special here.”
During his time in New York, Ellison averaged 7.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists over two seasons. He also made 35 starts and participated in 88 percent of the Big East team’s games as an underclassman. Prior to that, he was considered one of the top 100 prospects of the 2015 class and the No. 5 player in New Jersey by 247Sports during his recruitment.
Considering the rave reviews from both Stallings and Capel and the faith that Pitt’s current coach has placed in Ellison, it should be interesting to see what comes of the promotion.