Former Big East rivals Pitt and Rutgers faced off for the first time since 2013 on Tuesday night, as they were paired up in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. The matchup also brought Pitt great Brandin Knight back to Pittsburgh for the first time since his departure from the program’s coaching staff in 2016, and he was met with a tribute that was broadcast on the jumbotron of the Petersen Events Center.
"This is the best place to play in the country!"— Pitt Athletics (@Pitt_ATHLETICS) December 4, 2019
We welcomed back the great Brandin Knight last night!@bknight20 currently serves as an assistant coach at Rutgers.#H2P | @Pitt_MBB pic.twitter.com/qOQo8yLc0X
”Brandin Knight is the best two-way player in Pitt history,” longtime Pitt broadcaster Bill Hillgrove said in the video tribute. “To break records for both assists and steals is remarkable. He is the reason this program is where it is and will always be.”
Knight’s former teammates Carl Krauser, Julius Page and Chevon Troutman also weighed in on Knight’s legacy at Pitt, as did Pitt head coach Jeff Capel, who called Knight “the epitome of a Pitt basketball player.” Some of Knight’s former players, including Ashton Gibbs and Tray Woodall, were spotted in the stands for his return, as was Hillgrove’s longtime broadcast partner Dick Groat, and Knight was met with a standing ovation from the crowd.
”I’m very gracious and appreciative of the warm welcome that I received from my old stomping grounds,” Knight said in a Twitter post on Wednesday. “It was good to see old fans, friends and family the last two days. The program is in great hands with [Capel]. He’s a great leader and teacher. Good luck.”
During his playing career at Pitt, which lasted from 1999 to 2003, Knight set program records for minutes played in a single season, with 1,284 in 2002, as well as career assists and career steals, with 785 and 298, respectively. He also served on Pitt’s coaching staff under Jamie Dixon from 2006 to 2016.