The new Pitt basketball coach might have the same problem the previous one faced.
Eight members of the team, unhappy with the firing last week of former coach Kevin Stallings, have asked for and received a release from their scholarships with the intent to transfer, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
The group includes the team’s best player, senior Ryan Luther, who missed all but 10 games last season with a foot injury. Luther, who is expected to receive an injury waiver from the NCAA to play next season, posted a tweet last Saturday in support of Stallings.
— Ryan Luther (@RyShanLu4) March 10, 2018
The others include most of the freshmen recruited last year by Stallings: point guard Marcus Carr, center Terrell Brown, shooting guard Parker Stewart, guard Khameron Davis, forward Shamiel Stevenson, sophomore Kene Chukwuka and guard Malik Ellison, who sat out last season after transferring from St. John’s.
Carr did much of the ball-handling, and Stewart became a 3-point shooting threat as the season progressed, finishing with a 38.6 percent accuracy rate from beyond the arc.
Not seeking a release are junior-college transfer Jared Wilson-Frame, a senior next season who led the team with 13 points per game, and little-used freshmen Samson George and Peace Ilegomah.
The release doesn’t mean the players must leave the program. They have the option to return, and most, if not all, are expected to meet with the new coach when one is hired, possibly as soon as next week.
If they do transfer, that would bring the total of players leaving the program the past two offseasons to 13, plus point guard Justice Kithcart, who was dismissed by Stallings at the end of the 2016-17 season.
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.