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Delaware transfer Ithiel Horton places Pitt in top two

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The high-scoring guard plans to announce his decision in early July

Basketball: Spalding Hoophall Classic Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Capel and the Pitt coaching staff received a bit of good news on Monday, as Delaware transfer Ithiel Horton revealed that he has trimmed his top three to a top two, and Pitt made the cut. Horton is no longer considering Virginia Tech and will instead focus only on Pitt and Arkansas as potential destinations. The news follows Horton’s visit to Pitt on Sunday and came during his visit to Fayetteville.

Horton is a rising sophomore who averaged 13.2 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game with the Blue Hens in the 2018-19 season while shooting 40.9 percent from three-point range. He also led all freshmen in scoring in the Colonial Athletic Association. And prior to his arrival in Newark, he was a standout in New Jersey’s high school ranks, as he averaged 12.0 points per game over a four-year span split between Roselle Catholic, St. Anthony and Union High School.

For Pitt, Horton would likely fill the role currently held by Xavier Johnson, who is expected to test the waters of the NBA draft after his sophomore season. Back in May, Johnson told Alan Saunders of Pittsburgh Sports Now that he does not envision himself remaining at Pitt through his senior season.

”I honestly don’t seen myself being here for four years,” Johnson said. “Me and my dad talked. He doesn’t see me here for four years. My AAU coach doesn’t see me here for four years, either.”

Capel and his staff have been looking to address Johnson’s looming departure this offseason, as they have previously pursued Ethan Morton, a 2020 point guard out of Butler, Pennsylvania, and Jahvon Quinerly, a point guard who transferred out of Villanova. However, Capel failed to land either, as Morton committed to Purdue in May and Quinerly landed at Alabama in June, making Pitt’s pursuit of Horton a matter of vital import.

At this point, it is unclear if either Arkansas or Pitt has an edge in their competition to sign Horton. However, it bodes well for Capel and his staff that they at least have the staying power to remain under consideration after Horton’s trip to the South. The 6’3”, 200-pound sharpshooter has noted that he plans on announcing his decision in early July.