Jeff Capel and the Pitt coaching staff addressed a position of need on Monday, as they landed a commitment from Stony Brook transfer Mouhamadou Gueye, a 6’9”, 210-pound power forward. Gueye is the third graduate transfer Pitt has landed this offseason and the fifth new player that the Panthers staff has secured in 2021.
Pittsburgh has landed Stony Brook transfer Mouhamadou Gueye, he told @stadium. Senior big man averaged 9.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) May 31, 2021
Last season at Stony Brook, Gueye averaged 9.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game for the Seawolves and won Defensive Player of the Year honors in the America East Conference. The Staten Island native was also a capable shooter, as he made 34.5 percent of his three-point shots and 72.5 percent of his free throws. But despite Gueye’s efforts, the Seawolves saw a two-year streak of 20-win seasons come to an end with a 9-14 campaign. And with one year of eligibility remaining, the power forward decided to make the leap to major-conference competition.
Pitt has been in dire need of frontcourt help throughout the Capel era, and the situation came to a head this offseason with the departures of Terrell Brown and Abdoul Karim Coulibaly. At the time, that left Pitt with Max Amadasun and Noah Collier as its only players 6’8” or taller, and the pair of underclassmen had just one career start between them.
Gueye should go a long way toward addressing the loss of Brown as a defender. In fact, if he can maintain his level of play defensively at Pitt, Gueye may actually be an improvement on his predecessor, as Brown averaged just 2.5 points, 2.7 rebounds and 0.8 blocks last season and was not a notable shooter.
In addition, Gueye should have some help in the frontcourt, as Pitt has added Oakland graduate transfer Daniel Oladapo and JUCO star Chris Payton out of Indian Hills Community College. The two 6’7” small forwards share similar skill sets as capable scorers and rebounders, and the hope is that they can offset the loss of Justin Champagnie to some degree. And with John Hugley, a 6’9”, 240-pound power forward also returning after sorting out his legal issues, the Pitt frontcourt should have an intriguing mix of young and established talent.
With that said, Pitt’s road to landing Gueye was long and winding with no shortage of disappointments, as the staff swung and missed on 2021 blue-chip center Efton Reid as well as nine frontcourt players in the transfer portal listed as 6’8” or taller. But now, with Gueye, Oladapo and Payton joining Hugley in the Pitt frontcourt and Texas Tech graduate transfer Jamarius Burton and 2021 recruit Nate Santos joining Ithiel Horton, Femi Odukale and Nike Sibande in the Pitt backcourt, it seems Pitt's roster concerns are being put to rest.
At this point, Pitt has 12 scholarship players on its roster, and Capel has two additional scholarships at his disposal. Sibande, who was a senior last season, accepted the additional year of eligibility offered by the NCAA, which allowed Pitt to carry 14 scholarship players on its roster for the 2021-22 season. Sibande's scholarship will not count against the limit.