When Jeff Capel took the Pitt head coaching job earlier this spring, the Panthers were reeling and the roster was practically gutted.
A program already lacking in talent after finishing last in the ACC, the Panthers were facing significant potential transfer losses and the lack of any sort of recruiting class. After a few months on the job, Capel and his staff have built a roster that is at least capable of remaining somewhat competitive next season while laying a potential foundation for the future.
Saturday’s commitment from top-150 guard Au’Diese Toney is yet another step in Pitt’s on-the-fly rebuild. A Class of 2019 prospect who is planning on reclassifying into the college basketball next season, the 6-foot-6 Toney is a versatile perimeter player who could wind up being used in multiple spots.
Toney is the third high school player Capel has landed in recent months to go along with four-star guard Trey McGowans and three-star guard Xavier Johnson. Considering the slim pickings of the spring recruiting cycle for unsigned seniors, and Pitt has done about as well as they could have hoped heading into next season when it comes to recruiting.
Since Capel was also able to convince a few players to stay, most notably leading scorer Jared Wilson-Frame, he’ll also have some ACC experience coming back. Nobody is expecting Pitt to make any kind of dent in the loaded ACC next season. They at least have a future that looks a lot brighter than before.
Capel and his staff haven’t even been able to recruit a class of high school players for a full year yet. And with Capel’s ability to help land top-flight talent during his assistant coaching tenure at Duke, it’ll be fascinating to see if four-star and five-star prospects start to take Pitt seriously as an option once again.
At the very least, Pitt won’t be a total pushover as they have some enticing pieces for the future.