PITTSBURGH, Pa. — If the 2017-18 season wasn’t rocky enough for the Pittsburgh Panthers, the start to the off-season has pushed it over the edge.
The Panthers went 0-18 in ACC play, leaving them as the only Division I team to not have a conference win on the year. Pittsburgh went 8-24 for the season, giving them a 24-41 record in two seasons under Kevin Stallings.
Stallings, who took the job at Pittsburgh after time with the Vanderbilt Commodores, was fired as the Panthers’ head coach after two seasons. While Pittsburgh hasn’t hired a replacement for Stallings as of yet, whoever does accept the role will have their work cut out for them.
According to reports, including a report on ESPN.com by Jeff Goodman, seven more players have requested their release from the Panthers in light of the coaching change, and all are expected to receive their releases sometime Friday afternoon.
It all started with talented freshman Parker Stewart, who was the first player from the Panthers to request his release. The 6’5” guard from Union City, TN averaged 9.1 points and 3.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 38.6% from three point range.
He received his release Friday morning.
In the report from Goodman, the list of players transferring from Pittsburgh includes the following names: senior Ryan Luther, sophomore Kene Chukwuka, and freshmen Marcus Carr, Khameron Davis, Terrell Brown, and Shamiel Stevenson.
Luther is expected to apply for an additional year of eligibility after playing just 10 games this season.
Junior Malik Ellison has also requested his release, despite not having played a game for the Panthers. He transferred from the St. John’s Red Storm following the 2016-17 season, and sat out all of last season due to the NCAA’s transfer regulations.
Among the players who are transferring, Luther and Carr averaged the most points per game this past season. In his 10 games, Luther averaged 12.7 points, good for second-most on the team and 10.1 rebounds per game.
Carr, a freshman from Toronto, ON, averaged an even 10.0 points and 4.0 assists per game while appearing in all 32 games.
Also on Friday, it was announced that four-star prospect Bryce Golden has requested a release from Pittsburgh. Golden was a 2018 recruit for the Panthers. The coaching change is having its effects all across the roster for the Panthers moving forwards.
Only three players remain on the roster from last year’s team. Junior Jared Wilson-Frame, who led the Panthers in scoring with an average of 13.0 points per game, is back for the time being. Reserve freshmen Samson George and Peace Ilegomah are the others who remain on the roster.
Whoever takes the vacant head coaching position at Pittsburgh will have an uphill battle in front of them. With the news of Golden requesting his release on Friday, the Panthers have just one commit for the 2018 class as of now, according to Rivals.com.
The only player committed to the Panthers for the 2018-19 season is 6’1” guard Danya Kingsby, who hails from Twin Falls, ID. It’ll be interesting to see how the Panthers’ roster fills out as the off-season rolls along.
– T. Bennett