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Samson George transfers from Pitt to Central Arkansas

Former Pitt forward Samson George entered the NCAA transfer portal on March 27 after seeing limited action on the court under Panthers head coach Jeff Capel, and on Friday, he committed to Central Arkansas.

The move came on the same day that outgoing Central Arkansas center Hayden Koval committed to UNC Greensboro, and with George’s exit, he became the third Panther to complete a move to another school this offseason. The first was Ryan Murphy, who moved on to Tulane as a graduate transfer on April 2. The second was Trey McGowens, who transferred to Nebraska on April 4.

Before committing to Pitt in June 2017, George was a star at First Love Christian Academy in Washington, Pennsylvania, about 30 miles south of Pittsburgh. During his senior season at First Love, George averaged 15.0 points and 11.5 rebounds and finished his high school career as a three-star prospect with 10 scholarship offers. And ultimately, he chose a Pitt program then helmed by Kevin Stallings over Duquesne, Rutgers, USC and VCU.

Over three years at Pitt, the 6’8”, 220-pound forward averaged 0.9 points and 1.0 rebounds and saw his role diminish amid a regime change that saw Stallings fired and replaced by Capel. As a result, he played in six games as a sophomore and seven as a junior after playing in 13 as a freshman under Stallings. The drop in minutes came as the native of Minna, Nigeria, struggled to rise above Terrell Brown, Kene Chukwuka and Abdoul Karim Coulibaly in Pitt’s frontcourt pecking order.

In Conway, Arkansas, George will join a program in flux, as Bears head coach Russ Pennell stepped down from his position in January, handing the reins of the 1-9 team over to assistant coach Anthony Boone. Boone then led the Bears to a 9-12 finish. Central Arkansas posted its only winning record at the Division I level in 2018, but the team has seen its win total drop in each of the two seasons since.

Last season, the Bears had three forwards on their roster, and the team will lose Aaron Weidenaar at the position to graduation. George could end up in a role similar to his, as Weidenaar saw plenty of action, playing in 110 games over four years but mostly contributed off the bench, starting in just five games. With that said, George could also benefit from the move down and distinguish himself in a shallower pool of talent, much like Malik Ellison did at Hartford in the 2019-20 season. But time will tell how he fares at his new school.

As a graduate transfer, George will be able to play at Central Arkansas immediately. He will have one season of eligibility remaining.