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Pitt contacts transfer targets Alan Griffin, Ian DuBose

NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt coach Jeff Capel and his staff have been hitting the transfer market hard this offseason, and their pursuit of secondhand contributors notably picked up steam after star guard Trey McGowens entered the NCAA transfer portal.

Over the past two weeks, the Pitt staff has reached out to outgoing players from Gardner-Webb (Nate Johnson), Dartmouth (Brendan Barry), Wichita State (Jamarius Burton) and Virginia Tech (Landers Nolley II). And in the last two days, Pitt has reached out to two new transfer candidates in outbound Illinois shooting guard Alan Griffin and departing Houston Baptist shooting guard Ian DuBose.

Griffin announced his intent to transfer on Tuesday night, and within hours, Pitt got in contact with him, according to Andrew Slater of The Athletic. Griffin was viewed as a likely starter for the Fighting Illini next season, and the former three-star recruit was no slouch coming off the bench, either. Last season, the 6’5”, 195-pound guard averaged 8.9 points and 4.5 rebounds while playing just 18.1 minutes per game. He also led the team in three-point shooting, making 41.6 percent of his long-distance shots as a sophomore.

At Pitt, Griffin could become a key contributor at the two-guard spot recently vacated by McGowens. Griffin’s stats compare favorably to McGowens’ on a per-40-minute basis, as he would have averaged 19.8 points and 10.0 rebounds per game had he maintained his rate of play in that time span. McGowens, who saw 33.6 minutes per game last season, would have contributed 13.7 points and 3.9 boards.

The other transfer targeted by Pitt this week was DuBose, a native of Durham, North Carolina, who plans to transfer out of Houston Baptist. Pitt’s interest in the 6’4”, 210-pound guard was reported by Jake Weingarten of Stockrisers on Wednesday, and like Griffin, he was targeted to replace McGowens.

DuBose averaged 19.0 points and 7.3 rebounds for the Huskies last season, playing 33.1 minutes per game over 29 contests. He also shot 43.8 percent from three-point range as a sophomore but saw that dip to 32.6 in the 2019-20 season. Given all that, DuBose’s promising stats are less theoretical than Griffin’s, making him more of a known quantity. But DuBose would face a steeper learning curve than Griffin, as the transition from the Southland to the ACC would be harsher than the move from the Big Ten to the ACC.

With that said, what DuBose offers is consistent scoring, and that is something in short supply at Pitt. Last season, he scored in double figures in 28 out of 29 games, and the one time he fell short, which was a matchup against Oral Roberts on Nov. 8, 2019, he was just one point shy of hitting the 10-point mark. He also thrived against high-major teams, putting up 20 points against Texas Tech, 16 against Michigan, 13 against Houston and 18 against Dayton in the four games immediately following his nine-point showing.

One key difference between Griffin and DuBose is that Griffin is a regular transfer who will have to sit out one year before playing, and DuBose is a graduate transfer who will be able to play immediately at his next school. Griffin also has two years of eligibility remaining, while DuBose only has one. As for Pitt, the program has two open scholarships and is likely to bring in just one transfer under ideal circumstances, as it is still in pursuit of blue chip William Jeffress.