Pitt lost its fifth player to transfer on Monday as big man Rozelle Nix announced on Twitter that he is leaving the program. The 6-foot-11 Nix was a reserve center for the Panthers this past season as he plans on graduating in August and becoming immediately eligible as a graduate transfer.
Nix is a former transfer from Pensacola Junior College who missed the 2015-16 season with a foot injury before returning to the court this season. Appearing sparingly as he tried to play himself back into shape, Nix only played 126 minutes during the 2016-17 season for the Panthers.
While Nix isn’t an important loss for the Panthers, he is the sixth player–including a decommitment from former Class of 2017 recruit Aaron Thompson– to leave the program who could have played for Pitt next season.
Coming off of a 16-17 campaign and 4-14 finish in the ACC, head coach Kevin Stallings is going to have to rebuild the roster, basically from scratch, but he expected most of the departures this offseason to take place. In an interview last week with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Stallings was asked about all of the transfers and how he’ll handle things from here.
“I could have told you months ago ‘I would expect this guy to leave and this guy to leave and this guy to leave,'” Stallings said to the Post-Gazette. We had a couple of unexpected departures. We didn’t expect the thing with Cam [Johnson]. We didn’t expect the thing with Aaron Thompson, though that wasn’t a departure. It’s a guy you’ve invested time in recruiting. I think that in the present state and environment of college basketball, that’s becoming more the norm than the exception. And I’m talking more about the unexpected departures. I think any time you take over a program, you know there are going to be some departures. You don’t know from the outset who it’s going to be, but you know there are going to be some.”
Pitt rebuilding in a very deep ACC is going to be very difficult and Stallings needs to land some new talent to build with. While the Panthers have some decent recruits coming in, like guard Marcus Carr and junior college wing Jared Wilson-Frame, Pitt is going to need many more players to compete in one of the toughest leagues in the country.