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Pitt big man Rozelle Nix becomes program’s fifth transfer this offseason

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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.

Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim: ‘I’ve gotta coach for five or six more years’

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Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim has had an interesting offseason.

The 72-year-old is now in position to be the Orange’s head coach for longer than anticipated after previous coach-in-waiting Mike Hopkins went back West to take the Washington job in late March.

Boeheim made some remarks about his coaching future at the annual ‘Cuse Awards that were held earlier this week as he even referred to potentially being around for more than half a century.

It’s hard to know if Boeheim’s comments were serious or if he was trying to have some fun with his school’s athletics community during and end-of-season awards gala but here is his intro, according to Nunes Magician.

“I hope everybody’s having a great year,” he said. “I didn’t. Normally when you lose your last game, you’re really upset. Not so much when you’re in the NIT.”

The camera immediately went to John Gillon and Tyus Battle who couldn’t hold back laughter.

 The Hall of Famer continued, “Not only did we lose the last game, but then I find out I’ve gotta coach for five or six more years.”

The “I’ve gotta coach for five or six more years” is especially interesting because Boeheim immediately inked an extension with the Orange following the sudden departure of Hopkins this offseason. While there were unconfirmed reports that the extension was through the 2021-22 season, according to Adam Zagoria, that year would seem to make sense for one major reason.

Boeheim still might coach his son, Buddy, at Syracuse over the next few years.

Buddy Boeheim is a Class of 2018 wing who has Division I potential after a big junior season at local Jacksonville-DeWitt High School. The 6-foot-5 Buddy Boeheim had a very positive first weekend in the Nike EYBL with the Albany City Rocks this April as he averaged 9.7 points per game and shot 50 percent from three-point range.

Since Boeheim might be able to coach his son with the Orange, it does open up the unique possibility that he does decide to coach for another five or six seasons. While Buddy Boeheim isn’t any kind of elite talent, he does have the potential to be a rotation player at Syracuse if he continues to improve — most programs could certainly use a 6-foot-5 floor spacer.

Buddy is currently deciding whether to return to Jamesville-DeWitt for his senior season, or test himself more by going to a prep school for next season, according to Donna Ditota of Syracuse.com. Keep an eye on Buddy’s decision here, because a prep school for him during his senior year could be a move that is designed to help him adjust to Syracuse and the ACC.

Either way, Boeheim has an interesting dilemma regarding his future and it doesn’t appear that he’s stepping down anytime soon.

North Carolina lands four-star Class of 2017 big man Garrison Brooks

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North Carolina pulled in a late Class of 2017 commitment to begin the weekend as the Tar Heels secured a pledge from four-star Class of 2017 big man Garrison Brooks.

The 6-foot-9, 225-pound Brooks was previously committed to Mississippi State, but he was granted his release this spring to explore other opportunities.

The Tar Heels pounced as they’re getting a low-post threat who could develop into a potential double-double threat. A solid rebounder who isn’t afraid to play with physicality, Brooks has a chance to earn some immediate rotation minutes with seniors like Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks exhausting their eligibility.

Brooks is regarded as the No. 120 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, according to Rivals, as he is a four-star prospect. The native of Auburn, Alabama joins a North Carolina recruiting class that includes point guard Jalek Felton, shooting guard Andrew Platek and big men Brandon Huffman and Sterling Manley.

Louisville’s Jaylen Johnson pleads guilty to marijuana possession

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Louisville big man Jaylen Johnson pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana in Woodford County, Kentucky earlier this week, according to court records.

The 6-foot-9 Johnson just finished his junior season with the Cardinals but he was pulled over on March 22 for not having a visible licence plate. According to a citation, police said the vehicle had a strong odor of marijuana and a search uncovered a Gatorade bottle with a suspected plastic bag of marijuana.

Johnson pleading guilty means that he had to pay a fine of $260.

According to Jason Riley of WDRB in Louisville, the Cardinals were recently made aware of Johnson’s arrest.

“We just became aware of the matter and have addressed it internally,” Kenny Klein, Louisville spokesman, texted to Riley.

It’s hard to say what kind of punishment Johnson will receive but Louisville is counting on him to be one of its key pieces next season when the Cardinals have national championship aspirations. Johnson averaged 8.0 points and 5.8 rebounds per game last season while shooting 58 percent from the field.

N.C. State picks up key graduate transfer from Baylor guard Al Freeman

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N.C. State and new head coach Kevin Keatts earned a key addition on Wednesday afternoon as coveted Baylor graduate transfer Al Freeman decided to play for the Wolfpack next season.

The 6-foot-3 native of Charlotte averaged 9.4 points per game while shooting 38 percent from three-point range last season as he gives N.C. State a veteran guard who can come in and get immediate minutes. Freeman was a key piece for Baylor the last two seasons as he logged 30.0 minutes and 23.3 minutes per game, respectively, the last two seasons for consistent top-25 team.

Freeman and four-star freshman guard Lavar Batts represent two solid recruiting gets for Keatts in his early weeks with the Wolfpack as he’s off to a solid start when it comes to landing talent.

VIDEO: North Carolina’s Luke Maye throws 76 mph ceremonial first pitch

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North Carolina forward Luke Maye will forever be remembered for the jumper on the left wing that sealed an Elite Eight win over Kentucky in the 2017 NCAA tournament.

But the 6-foot-8 Maye also appears to be a talented baseball player.

The sophomore hero that helped the Tar Heels capture a basketball national championship this season was honored on Friday night by throwing out the first pitch against N.C. State. Maye didn’t disappoint during his ceremonial efforts by firing a 76 mph fastball.

Maye’s brother, Cole, is a left-handed freshman pitcher on the Florida baseball team while the duo’s father, Mark, was a starting quarterback at North Carolina in the ’80s. It looks like Luke was the one who went with the unique sport by picking basketball instead of something that can really utilize his family’s arm strength.