The last couple of years have been, in basketball as well as American culture in general, quite turbulent to say the least.
In basketball, cultural issues aside, transfers, professional competition and many other things, not least of all the Covid-19 pandemic, have made life more difficult for every coach and this is as true for Jeff Capel as anyone.
We’ve said before that no one should be judged on the basis of this past season because there were a wild number of variables, some of them life-altering. Yet clearly, Capel is feeling a bit of pressure and in one sense, it’s understandable because two of his best players left before the season was over. That’s never been completely explained.
Capel made it clear that he was frustrated with point guard Xavier Johnson, who is now with the Indiana Hoosiers and for whatever reason, Au’Diese Toney, who was a very solid presence for Pitt, also left, in his case for Arkansas.
And on Monday, star forward Justin Champagnie announced he’d stay in the draft and would hire an agent, thus ending his college eligibility.
So clearly, Capel has to pull something off and quickly to keep from moving onto the proverbial hot seat.
We wouldn’t bet against him though. He’s shown a lot of resilience throughout his career and with the transfer portal, he has a chance to rebuild in a hurry and not necessarily with freshmen.