Panther Staff Embracing Past & Building for Future
PITTSBURGH – First-year head coach Kevin Stallings has quickly embraced the history of Pitt Basketball since taking over the reins of a program that has won 1,583 games and made 26 NCAA Tournament appearances in late March. In the months following the hire, Stallings has been active with the normal rigors of the coaching profession (building a team, recruiting, summer workouts, media responsibilities, etc.), while also working diligently to engage donors, alumni, corporate partners and former players.
“Any time you come to a new place, it is important to recognize and appreciate the work put in by those before you,” said Stallings. “Pitt basketball has a great history because there have been so many outstanding players and people that have been a part of the program. We want all of our former players and their families to know that they remain an important part of this team. We are excited to have so many players back in the first year of this and we look forward to building this event in the years to come.”
This weekend Stallings, his staff and the Panther Club have invited former players and their families back to Pittsburgh to spend a day inside the program. A guest list approaching 75 people will be back at the Petersen Events Center to watch a summer workout before sitting down for a cookout style luncheon. Guests will also join the current Pitt roster and coaching staff for a dinner reception Saturday evening in Oakland.
The list of returning players includes 1974 All-America Billy Knight as well as former standouts Curtis Aiken, Sam Clancy, Brian Generalovich, Jason Matthews, Ronald Ramon, Chris Taft, Tray Woodall and Cameron Wright to name a few.
Stallings has six of his top seven scorers returning from a team that finish 21-12 and reached the NCAA Tournament a year ago. Four seniors – Jamel Artis, Chris Jones, Sheldon Jeter and Michael Young – give Pitt one of the most experienced groups in the ACC, while Cameron Johnson and Ryan Luther emerged as solid contributors late last season.
The Panthers’ schedule features 17 games against teams that reached the postseason a year ago as well as matchups with Louisville (2) and SMU who self-imposed postseason bans despite spending much of the year ranked in the AP Top 25.