Jeff Capel announced on Thursday that Au’Diese Toney will join Xavier Johnson in departing the program. Johnson’s exit was announced on Wednesday, and Toney’s followed less than 24 hours later.
“We have come to the mutual agreement that Au’Diese [Toney] will be leaving the Pitt men’s basketball program effective immediately,” Capel said in a statement. “We appreciate his efforts the past three seasons in our program and wish him well as he looks to continue to grow on and off the court.”
The news of Toney’s departure, like Johnson’s, was unexpected. However, in Johnson’s case, there was pre-existing public tension between the player and coach, as Capel had benched Johnson over technical foul troubles and vented about the issue in a press conference. With Toney, there were no such issues.
The 6’6”, 210-pound guard-forward was averaging 14.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game this season and was one of Pitt’s top three contributors, along with Johnson and Justin Champagnie. He had also come a long way in his three seasons at Pitt, as he had improved his point and assist averages annually and was having his best season in terms of rebounding three-point shooting.
However, Toney had also dealt with injury issues periodically, and at the time of his departure, he was recovering from a concussion that he suffered in a car accident. That injury sidelined him for Pitt’s 79-72 loss to Florida State on Saturday, and it was the second game he missed due to injury. The other was Pitt’s 64-54 loss to Louisville on Dec. 22, which he missed as a result of a right ankle injury suffered during a team practice.
Toney is the third member of Pitt’s 2018 class to leave the team. Trey McGowens led the way with a transfer to Nebraska in 2020, and as previously noted, Johnson left on Wednesday. Now, the team will have to move on without the three on-court leaders Capel was building the modern Pitt program around.
With Toney no longer on the Pitt roster, Nike Sibande should see the court on a more regular basis, which should give him an opportunity to build on his 12-point, seven-rebound game against Florida State. William Jeffress and Noah Collier may also see additional minutes, as the team will look to them for depth.
As for Toney, he will be entering the NCAA transfer portal and continuing his career at a new school. However, at this time, his potential destinations and when a decision might be reached remain unclear. Toney concludes what was a promising career at Pitt with totals of 763 points, 423 rebounds and 80 steals.