Now that Pitt has announced that Marcus Gilbert is transferring — word is that he could choose to join his brother, Marcus, at Fairfield University — the Panthers can look at his departure a number of ways:
In a disturbing trend, Gilbert is the fourth member of Pitt’s 2011 recruiting class to leave the program, following Khem Birch (UNLV), Jaylen Bond (Texas) and John Johnson (Penn State). Only Durand Johnson remains.
Gilbert’s transfer leaves the Panthers perilously thin at center, though not necessarily this season because the 6-foot-11 sophomore was planning to redshirt. Pitt has freshman Steve Adams and senior Dante Taylor, and can move Talib Zanna to the post in a pinch. But Taylor’s eligibility expires after the season, and Adams could opt to leave for the NBA (though that’s not expected). Either way, Pitt coach Jamie Dixon will need to sign a center.
The good news is that the Panthers now have two scholarships available for the Class of 2013, which already includes 6-foot-8 power forward Michael Young and 6-1 guard Josh Newkirk. Dixon could opt to sign a junior-college transfer, though he would have to hope for another Ontario Lett instead of the next Cassin Diggs or Doyle Hudson.
On a related note, I will be covering the Panthers for the remainder of this season, starting with their Big East Conference opener against Cincinnati on New Year’s Eve. I will try to provide additional coverage here and on Twitter @KGorman_Trib. Also, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
– Kevin Gorman