Jeff Capel and the Pitt coaching staff were the recipients of disappointing news on Thursday night, as Ethan Morton, the No. 1 Pennsylvania recruit in the 2020 cycle, announced his commitment to Purdue. Pitt was one of eight finalists for Morton's services.
"To all the coaches that recruited me throughout this process, I am grateful for the relationships that we built and the advice that was given," Morton said in a message posted on Twitter. "With that being said, I would like to announce that I am 100 percent committed to Purdue University. Thanks to Coach Painter, the entire Purdue staff and [the] Purdue fanbase for accepting me into your family."
Morton, a standout point guard at Butler Area High School about an hour north of Pittsburgh, is a consensus four-star recruit, and ESPN and Rivals both consider him one of the top 50 juniors in the nation. As such, Morton was pursued and prioritized by Capel since he was hired as Pitt's head coach last March.
However, he was also targeted by nine Big Ten programs, each of which offered him a scholarship, and the allure of the oldest Division I conference in college athletics proved too much for Pitt to overcome.
The outcome of Morton's recruitment was somewhat expected, as it was accurately predicted by 12 out of 12 recruiting analysts at Rivals and 247Sports. Collectively, the 12 analysts had an accuracy rate of 76.5 percent ahead of Morton's announcement.
The 6’5” point guard averaged 27.5 points, 10.3 rebounds and 8.1 assists during his junior season at Butler and was named the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Player of the Year in 2018.
He joins a Purdue team that has enjoyed sustained success under Boilermakers head coach Matt Painter. Over the past four years, the team has posted 26 or more wins every season. Purdue also reached the Elite Eight in 2019, losing to Virginia 80-75.