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Felony charges against Pitt's John Hugley dropped

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The Pitt power forward's suspension has yet to be lifted, but the court result leaves the door open for a potential return

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt power forward John Hugley was suspended from the men’s basketball team indefinitely after he was charged with multiple felonies in connection with the theft of a car. But at a hearing on Thursday morning, the felony charges against Hugley were dropped.

The 6’9”, 240-pound power forward was facing two felony counts of criminal conspiracy and one felony count of receiving stolen property. Those charges stemmed from an incident in which an unnamed friend of Hugley’s was alleged to have stolen a 2012 Chevrolet Malibu on July 19, 2020. Hugley allegedly joined his friend in the vehicle. The two men, one of whom was later identified as Hugley, were caught on video entering the car and driving away. The vehicle was found on Aug. 4, 2020, along with a stolen license plate.

After Thursday’s hearing, the only remaining charges against Hugley are driving without a license and unauthorized use of a vehicle, both misdemeanors. And with the former blue-chip recruit being a first-time offender, he will be eligible for Pennsylvania's ARD program.

The ARD program, or accelerated rehabilitative disposition program, allows first-time offenders to have their record expunged after a probationary period during which certain requirements must be met. So with the felony charges dropped and the misdemeanors up for expungement, Hugley could ultimately end up with a clean record in the near future.

With that said, Hugley’s suspension has yet to be lifted by Pitt. Due to the suspension, he was ordered to vacate the school dorms. As a result, he returned to his home in Cleveland and has been completing online coursework while awaiting a resolution to his legal issues.

Hugley will not be able to return to Pitt until the school’s disciplinary process has concluded. The timeline for that has not been revealed, but it now appears that is the final hurdle standing between Hugley and a return to the team.

Hugley is a former four-star recruit out of Brush High School in the Cleveland area. He joined Pitt in October 2019 and was ranked by Rivals as the No. 80 recruit in the 2020 class. At the time of his suspension, he was just seven games into his Pitt career and was averaging 5.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.

If Hugley’s suspension is lifted and he is permitted to return to the team, that could be a positive turn of events for a program that has been in turmoil since February. At that point, Xavier Johnson became the first of five players to transfer out of Pitt. Jeff Capel has since struggled to replenish the team’s ranks and lost Justin Champagnie to the NBA draft.