Pitt forward Samson George is set to be honored ahead of his team's matchup with Syracuse on Wednesday as part of the Panthers' Senior Night festivities. The move was announced by Pitt on Tuesday, and it comes despite the fact that George is a junior with at least one year of eligibility remaining. George will be joined by Pitt forward Kene Chukwuka, a senior who could also be granted additional eligibility after sitting out this season in order to recover from hip surgery.
One last ride at home tomorrow.— Pitt Basketball (@Pitt_MBB) February 25, 2020
Pitt x Syracuse. Senior night. 7PM. #ZooEra | #H2P pic.twitter.com/hgeGKqVLqM
The revelation that both players will take part in Senior Night has led to speculation that George and Chukwuka may not return to Pitt next season, although no official announcement regarding their respective departures from the program has been made. Both players were recruited by former Pitt coach Kevin Stallings in 2017, and neither seemed to figure prominently into Jeff Capel's vision for the Panthers.
George was a standout at First Love Christian Academy in Washington, Pennsylvania, where he averaged 15.0 points and 11.5 rebounds as a senior. He was considered a three-star prospect by 247Sports and held offers from the likes of Duquesne, Rutgers, USC and VCU. However, the native of Minna, Nigeria, has rarely seen the court at Pitt, as he has played in 23 games over three seasons and made zero starts. Over that span, he has averaged 1.0 points and 1.1 rebounds and seen his role diminish, as he played in 13 games as a freshman and just four as a junior this year.
During the 2017-18 season, Chukwuka split time in the Pitt frontcourt with Terrell Brown and struggled to contribute. In 31 games that season, the Stockholm native scored a total of 76 points and committed 79 personal fouls, averaging roughly 2.5 of each per game. He showed slight improvement under Capel last season but still managed just 3.2 points per game while once again committing 2.5 fouls per game in 32 contests.
Even if George and Chukwuka opted to stay at this point, they would be highly unlikely to play notable roles on next season's team, as Brown and Abdoul Karim Coulibaly have both made strides under Capel this year, while the coach has also landed commitments from frontcourt players Max Amadasun, Noah Collier and John Hugley since his arrival.
In addition to George and Chukwuka, graduate transfer Eric Hamilton and senior Anthony Starzynski are set to be recognized for their contributions to the program at the Petersen Events Center on Wednesday.
If this development, in fact, signals the end of George and Chukwuka's Pitt careers, their exits will provide Capel with additional open scholarships. The coach has recently been in pursuit of 2020 recruits William Jeffress and Femi Odukale. Jeffress has Pitt in his top 10, and Odukale visited Pitt over the weekend.