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Pitt AD: Basketball has ‘ways to go,’ but pledges support for Stallings |

Pitt AD: Basketball has ‘ways to go,’ but pledges support for Stallings

| Wednesday, April 19, 2017 1:24 p.m
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt coach Kevin Stallings watches his team against Clemson in the second half Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, at Petersen Events Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
University of Pittsburgh Athletic Director Heather Lyke speaks during a news conference Monday, March 20, 2017 at Petersen Events Center.

Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke, on the job only for the past month, said Wednesday basketball coach Kevin Stallings has “a ways to go” in rebuilding the program after the departure of several players, but she’s “very confident in his ability to start to build it” and wants to support him.

Since the end of Stallings’ first season – and the first losing season at Pitt (16-17, 4-14 ACC) since 2000 – four players have announced plans to transfer, including sophomore Cam Johnson, who would have been Pitt’s top returning scorer. A fifth player – point guard Justice Kithcart — was dismissed by Stallings near the end of the season.

That’s in addition to the loss of four seniors, all of whom were starters.

“I’ve had some great conversations with coach Stallings,” Lyke said at PPG Paints Arena where she was part of the announcement of 22 high-profile NCAA events coming to Western Pennsylvania. “I’m excited about working with him.

“My biggest question was really finding out what he’s about, why he wants to be at Pitt and what’s his vision for building this program. And after my conversations with him, I know he wants to be here. I know he’s committed to being here, and I’m very confident in his ability to start to build it.

“He’s got a ways to go, but we need to support him, we all need to get to know him a little bit better and that’s what I’m doing right now, spending time getting to know him, figuring out what are the greatest ways that we can support him.”

Stallings has six recruits in his 2017 class after junior college guard Troy Simons, who had verbally committed to Pitt after leading the NJCAA in scoring, signed a letter of intent with New Mexico.

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

Categories: Pitt
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