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Five-star center Efton Reid chooses LSU over Pitt

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The five-star center would have been Pitt's highest-rated recruit since 2011

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

Pitt was said to be one of a few programs in the running to land coveted five-star prospect Efton Reid, a top-30 recruit in the 2021 class. But on Sunday afternoon, all the talk amounted to nothing, as Reid committed to LSU.

The 6’11”, 240-pound center out of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, holds five-star ratings from Rivals and ESPN, while 247Sports views him as a four-star recruit. However, all three recruiting websites rank him among the top 30 prospects in the nation, with 247Sports placing him at No. 28, Rivals placing him at No. 24 and ESPN placing him at No. 18.

Other programs said to be in the mix for Reid included Florida State, Ohio State and Virginia, and the Cavaliers had a strong case to land Reid, as he is a native of Richmond and the program won a national title in 2019. However, Tony Bennett and his staff will have to move on without the elite prospect just like Jeff Capel and the Panthers staff will this coming season.

Swinging and missing on elite recruits is becoming a theme of the Capel era at Pitt, as Reid is just one of many prospects who have been tied to the program late in their recruitment only to land elsewhere. The long list of recruits who have named Pitt as a finalist and not committed includes Kofi Cockburn, R.J. Davis, Donovan Johnson, Karim Mane, Bryce McGowens, Adama Sanogo, Khadim Sy, Earl Timberlake and Jarrod West.

Tripping over the finish line for one recruit is not an issue for most programs under normal circumstances, but Pitt is not most programs and its circumstances are far from normal.

Before the commitment of Nate Santos last month, the program did not land any 2021 recruits and did not publicly pursue many, as it brought in a large 2020 class. However, John Hugley, the centerpiece of that class, is suspended indefinitely over legal issues; five other players entered the transfer portal, including two of Pitt’s top scorers and two bigs; and Justin Champagnie, Pitt’s only remaining star, is considering entering the NBA draft.

Given Pitt’s predicament and the diminishing pool of talent before Capel, failing to land Reid has the potential to hamstring the program in the long term, as its frontcourt options are now limited. And in the short term, it forces the coach and his staff to scramble to fill the many holes in Pitt’s roster in the coming weeks.