After a disappointing 2018 season, Pittsburgh coach Jeff Capel has turned his attention to recruiting. With no quality forwards and Jared Wilson-Frame graduating, the biggest need for Pitt is forward and a three point specialist. With Trey McGowens, Xavier Johnson, and Au’Diese Toney the only impressive returning players, Pitt could also use some help on the wing and a backup guard.
As of today, Pitt has three hard commits. Justin Champagnie is a four star small forward from Brooklyn that is ranked as the 111th best player in the class on 247 Sports. Champagnie recently committed to Pitt and will likely slot in as the starting small forward with Toney sliding to power forward. Pitt also has a commitment from Gerald Drumgoole, a 6-6 small forward from Indiana. Drumgoole is also a four-star and ranks 118th in the class. The final commit is from Karim Coulibaly, a three star power forward from Pennsylvania. Coulibaly is the 228th ranked recruit in the class, but could get serious minutes in Pitt’s weak front court.
Pitt recently faced a blow when JUCO transfer Sean McNeil excluded them from his final six. McNeil was one of the best shooters in the class and Pitt now will need to try to find another player that can replace Wilson-Frame as a deep threat.
Capel has four targets in the 2019 class left in Ibrahimo Diallo, Olivier Robinson-Nkamhoua, Niven Glover, and Jalyn McCreary. Diallo is a seven foot center from California. Diallo recently announced that his final two schools are Pittsburgh and Ohio State, with his commitment likely to be coming by the end of this week. Robinson-Nkamhoua is a three star power forward from Maryland. After moving to the United States from Finland in 2017, Robinson-Nkamhoua sat his entire junior year with a foot injury. With a strong senior year, he has emerged as a diamond in the rough, receiving offers from a handful of power five schools. Capel offered him earlier this month, and he announced that his commitment will come by mid-april. Glover and McCreary are both three stars that Pittsburgh hasn’t offered yet, but could offer if they fail to get any other players.
Overall, Capel has brought a solid class that will make an immediate impact. Drumgoole and Champagnie are both great wing players that will give the Panthers more depth in the middle of their lineup. While they haven’t landed a big man that is likely to contribute, they will have much better depth at the two, three, and four. While Coulibaly may not be a star, he will likely offer quality minutes. With the commitment of either Diallo, McCreary, or Robinson-Nkamhoua, Pitt could completely rejuvenate their front court in hope of better results. In this scenario Capel could opt to play the hot hand and rotate three or more forwards depending on form. While the lack of a star or serviceable forward is frustrating, this is undoubtedly a successful circuit. 247 Sports has Pitt ranked as the sixth best class in the ACC, not bad for a team that finished tied for last place. Capel will look to bring in an even better class next year, as he has offered six recruits ranked in the top 60 in the 2020 class.