Pitt center John Hughley entering the transfer portal. Joe Tipton reported the news this morning and Hughley confirmed it on Twitter. Hughley is a 6’9″ junior from Cleveland. He came to Pitt as a four-star recruit and was one of Jeff Capel’s biggest recruiting victories during his Pitt tenure.
Hagley injured his knee before the start of the season and missed the first two games before returning to the court and playing in eight games. Hughley averaged 8 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. He posted a season-high 17 points in a November victory over Fairleigh Dickinson.
However, Hughley’s knee was never quite right, and he eventually missed games due to ‘personal reasons’. In early January, it was announced that Hughley would be sitting out the rest of the year.
Jeff Capel said at the time, “We are here to support John as he learns to manage the challenges in his personal life.” “John has worked hard to get to this point and he is to be commended for seeking help to grow as a young man. This next step will give him the time and space to focus on his personal development We are here to give them love and support in this journey which will undoubtedly help them throughout their lives.
Hughley entered the season considered the centerpiece of the Pitt team. A season ago, he averaged 14.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game for the Panthers. Hagley was an All-ACC honorable mention pick last year and is expected to make an even bigger impact this season.
Pitt had only won 11 games a season earlier, but Hughley chose to stay with the Panthers and wanted to change things this season. Pitt eventually turned things around and made its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance under Capel’s watch, but Hughley did not play much of a role in the team’s success.
As a freshman, Hughley appeared in only seven games during the 2020–21 season. He was arrested on charges of criminal conspiracy and receiving property in an off-the-court case involving a stolen car. He was suspended indefinitely, but the felony charges were eventually dropped. Pitt caught on by Hughley and he returned to the team the following season.
In Hughley’s absence, Pitt’s second-string big man Federico Federico flourished in an unlikely expanded role. Federico was not seen as a major recruiting win, but he has been key to Pitt’s success this season, and now has two years of eligibility remaining.
Hughley’s departure would mark another opening for the roster next season. Pitt will lose seniors Jamaris Burton, Nellie Cummings, Greg Elliott, Aiden Fish and Nike Sibande. The Panthers have already signed three recruits in the Class of 2023, including a pair of four-stars Carlton Carrington And Jaland Lowein addition to marlon barnes, who coincidentally goes to the same high school as Hughley was born. Given his departure, Pitt has at least two roster spots to fill heading into next year for now.
The NCAA Transfer Portal opened on Monday and more than 150 players entered on the first day.