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Jeff Capel Update

Former Duke star and assistant has a particularly smart focus as he tries to resuscitate Pitt basketball.

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Oklahoma v Texas
KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 10: Head coach Jeff Capel of the Oklahoma Sooners reacts on the sidelines during their quarterfinal game against the Oklahoma Sooners in the 2011 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tournament at Sprint Center on March 10, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Having followed former Duke Blue Devil Jeff Capel since he was in high school, we’ve got a reasonable sense of who he is and how good a coach he can be.

So we’ve been following his progress at Pitt closely. Like any new coach he’s been a whirlwind of activity but given the near collapse of Pitt basketball - all but two players asked for their release after former coach Kevin Stallings was fired and he had to do an overhaul of his own just last year - Capel has been in a tougher than normal coaching transition.

However he has managed to retain seven of Stalling’s guys and he’s recruited two guards which puts him up to nine players, nearly enough for a scrimmage. And of course he’s still looking for more players. You can get by with a thin roster for a year but every little bit helps.

More importantly though, Capel says he’s focusing on building relationships. That’s primarily with his team of course as he barely knows any of them. But it’s also with people in the university and around town. He’s been very smart about embracing the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates.

Right now, what Capel has to sell is faith and vision. He seems to be doing it pretty well.

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