Coach Dan72’s Outlook for Pitt BB 2022

Editor’s Note #1: FR Dior Johnson has been suspended by the University due to arrest on various assult and kidnapping charges.

Editor’s Note #2: The Supreme court has allowed college athletes (and high school players I gather) to earn money by selling their NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) rights for sometimes big money – Just ask Jordan Addison. Pitt has made a decision that the University still will not pay players but a consortium of business has jumped to the top of the mix and opened their wallets. The details of this can be found in this article by Pittsburgh Sports Now.

Pitt’s 2022 Basketball Roster and Outlook

This is the most talent accumulated on a Pitt Basketball in a long time. I think at the very least the make the NIT but wouldn’t be surprised if they are upper tier ACC. How was Capel able to be so successful? It’s all about the Benjamins! NIL $$ .

Pitt has the #15 ranked recruiting class coming in next year.

I expect the only returner TO START will be Hugley. Here are the newcomers:

1. Dior Johnson – 18 yr old from California. A 4 Star former 5 Star prospect POINT GUARD 6’3” 180lbs. Some rated him the best HS PG in the USA last year. I believe he starts for Pitt all year. His tapes show no weakness. He can shoot and distribute with the ACCs best. Stud!  He was offered $1 million NIL $ by others yet he chose Pitt. You do the math.  He may be one and done. No worse than two and done.

2. Nelly Cummings – grad student  Top 5 transfer guard from Bowling Green then Colgate. Played against Pitt last year and is from Pittsburgh. 6” shooting guard Avg 14.7 PTS per game with a 38.4 shooting%. I think he may be first off the bench.

3. Blake Hinson – 6’7” small forward Junior from Ole Miss then Iowa State where he didn’t play a game. Avg 10.1 pts per game 4.6 rebounds. Slick ball handler and can drive to the hoop. Big upside. 4 star prospect out of HS.

4.  Greg Elliot – shooting guard transfer from Marquette. 6’3” 180 lbs. senior. Avg 7pts per game 88.7 Free throw shooter. 38.9 FG % 38.6 from the three point line. It’ll be interesting where Capel fits him in.

5. & 6. Guillermo and Jorge Diaz Graham. 6’ 11” twin towers from Spain. These guys are projects but as Many have said “you can’t teach height” both can pass and score inside and have given Hugley fits in practice. Both have put on weight since coming to Pitt this summer. Both very hard workers and Coach O’Toole has been their mentor all summer. Both are frosh but I suspect each will play three years for Pitt before turning pro. Here’s an article about them...

7. Vason Stephenson – walk-on guard from Montour HS 6’3” – freshman

8. Fede Federiko -6’11 220lb  center sophomore originally committed to WVU. Juco transfer avg 11.7 pts/ game 8.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks. I project him as a starter and a great combination w Hugley. Capel loves him! Played on Finland’s National team.


John Hugley – maybe the best underneath player in a while for Pitt. He’s hurt and out 2-3 weeks with ankle injury . Full time starter when he returns.

Nick Siband – Guard 6”4 senior shooting guard avg 6.9 pts/ game 41.5 shooting percentage …suffered a torn ACL vs Gannon last year and missed the season. Avg 6.9 pts/game two years ago. Shot a team best 43.9 from three point range. Appeared in 14 games with eight starts two years ago. Transferred in from Miami of Ohio.

Nate Santos – small forward 6’7” appeared in 25 games last year avg 2.8 pts/ game and 1.9 rebounds.

Jamarius Burton – guard 6’4” 200 lb first on team w minutes played last year. Played his first two years at Wichita State. Avg 12.4/pts/ game 3.5 rebounds 2.5 assists. 88% FTs

KJ Marshall -5’10” junior guard. Bench player appeared in 6 games last year with one point scored.

William Jeffress – guard without a lot of basketball sense. Moments were just too big for him last year. Left ankle is injured and he’ll be out for a while.

Aiden Fisch – former Pitt Basketball Manager. Appeared in six games last year. Senior from Murraysville, PA. (Ed: He’s a happy kid!)

That’s our team for ’22 – ’23 season. Like most teams our success will depend on how they gel together and how well they are coached. Free throw shooting and three point shooting should improve massively. Injuries or lack thereof should be a part of the equation.

This is the most talent I’ve seen on a Pitt team in maybe…..ever. The sky’s the limit.

Hail to Pitt !

55 thoughts on “Coach Dan72’s Outlook for Pitt BB 2022

  1. Dan – thanks for the update on Pitt mBB.

    With Dior suspended, does that change this last line?

    “This is the most talent I’ve seen on a Pitt team in maybe…..ever. The sky’s the limit.”

    I’m not seeing what you are describing – I like the 3 G’s in Nike, Burton and Cummings, but Hugley is out with an injury and the coaches show me absolutely nothing…

    Is Hinson the key?


  2. Dan, I really like your optimism, but Mr. Johnson has scuttled our hopes for a major breakout season. I firmly believe that we will be better..MUCH BETTER than we have been during the Capel years. One of our problems that have been the result of miserable recruiting has been the lack of height. Pitt now has some trees to hopefully improve our rebounding. The twins are a work in progress, but the talent seems to be real. Our Finnish import is a BIG man and if he has mobility and some basketball smarts he can be an enormous plus with Hugely.

    Guards? we shall see how it all plays out. I am going to go out on a limb and predict that we will make the NIT (something beyond any possibility in the Capel years.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How many times has Pitt lost a key player that could have made a huge difference? It would be an interesting list. People want to blame Capel but this guy could have made a lot of the previous frustration evaporate like a bad dream. Don’t want to say that the nightmare continues since there are still a lot of good players, but what could have been…


  4. Losing Dior Johnson is a disaster! You have to have a super point guard to compete in the ACC! Pitt hasn’t had an ACC quality point guard in forever.

    Don’t sleep on Federiko underneath
    Elliot and Hinson.

    This year is all about Capel and staff. How they mesh this team will show whether they can actually coach. I’ve lowered my expectations
    greatly because of that.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t believe we should count on Dior. The allegations against him that came out are truly gruesome describing serious domestic abuse. While it remains to be seen what a grand jury would charge him with, it appears grim.


  6. Dan, Thank you for the article.

    I only know good BB when I see it, but when I saw a short video of Dior, I was super impressed. Now my optimism for the season is dashed.

    It was Dior plus the twins plus Big John returning that had me hopeful. Now I’ll be concentrating on and rooting for the twins.

    Wonder where all this money is coming from to improve BB recruiting. (Must be Fran and Scooter and Wolfe pitching in!)

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Transfers Cummings and Elliott will be Capel’s PG’s – both have been to the postseason and are seasoned veterans.

      They will be the coaches on the floor and hoping they are left alone to lead the team.

      Nike and Burton will man the 2 or 3, with Hinson playing both the 3 & 4.

      Hugely will mainly play the 5 unless the twins mature quickly. If that happens, big John will play some 4, probably his strength position.

      Fedi will probably play the 4&5 along with the twins.

      All others will get spot duty and playing time if they get hot.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Appreciate the article Dan, good to know the team. Great job!

    I heard that Dior Johnson has been released in a case of mistaken identity.

    jus kiddin. Maybe why you don’t throw a kid off the team immediately without a smidgin of proof?


  8. Probably the most talented and balanced roster that Capel has had. I really, really like Jeff Capel. I’ve met him and watch almost every press conference. He’s a great guy.

    But I question his coaching ability. I know Dan does too.

    Hopefully the talent will win out and get us to the NIT at a minimum.

    I do have one comment about Dior Johnson’s situation. If I’m Capel or Heather Lyke, I have the kid into the office, and have him explain his side of the story. Forgetting about all of the very serious charges, if he simply tells them that he laid a finger on the victim or threatened her in any way, he’s off the team immediately.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great work, Dan! Enjoyed the player analysis! Can’t help but think what might have been if Dior hadn’t been arrested. Suddenly that PG recruit for next year is really looking huge!


  10. Ike – how do you know there isn’t “a smidgen of proof” in the Johnson situation?

    Gordon, I wonder about Shocky Jacques-Louis’ handling of playing time at Pitt by the staff.

    In 2019 he had 23 receptions for a 15.1 ypc average and also rushed 13 times for a 6.5 ypc average. That pans out to a 12.1 yards every time he touched the ball. What makes that impressive is that he played sparingly the first five games of that season.

    In the last five games, when he played regularly, he had 18 catches for 298 yards and 2 TDs (17.0 ypc)

    He may have chewed it up having started and played the full schedule.


    1. He was behind Addison, Mack, Wayne and Krull as far as targets. He did drop many balls, but I think you are right, he felt slighted. I believe he left before Addison’s announcement and I think he did try to come back but was rejected. I am sure he felt that behind Addison and Wayne and with the addition of Mumpfield and others he wouldn’t be used as much as he wanted.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. How did you know I was directing that comment towards you Reed? 🙂

      Point is, I don’t know, do you? If PITT is pretty sure they have iron clad proof, they should act on it. Question is, why do you want to throw an innocent until proven guilty young man off the team until he at least proven to be involved in the alleged abuse and/or assault? These are just my thoughts on todays P correct society.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There are different burdens of proof and two organizations that are investigating. There is a criminal case, which may or may not prove innocence or guilt. Many plea down criminal charges or charges are dropped when attorneys get involved. That doesn’t mean a crime wasn’t committed. Criminal Courts use a innocent beyond a reasonable doubt standard.

        Separately, Pitt will have an internal investigation, probably thru Title IX and student conduct (two different investigative bodies). The school also operates under a standard of proof, but they get to choose. The choices are either by a preponderance of the evidence (which is more likely than not), or clear and convincing, which is a much higher bar. Regardless, Pitt as an institution must choose a standard for all of their complaints across the board and stick to it. I am not sure which standard Pitt uses, but if it is the preponderance standard, this is not good for the individual basketball player.

        Candidly, Pitt may be forced to suspend the student based on their own internal requirements if they use a preponderance of the evidence standard based on what has been made public. Two different standards. Two different investigative bodies. The Title IX part doesn’t need a complainant to move forward, so even if the victim changes her mind, it just doesn’t impact decisions.


  11. Thanks, Dan! Busy season for me, so you’ll hear less from me … not related to Pitt’s performance. haha. I usually dip out about now every year and fall into monitor and read mode rather than contribute.

    I was skeptical of Dior from the jump. So much talent but still out there? Tons of red flags. I do like the Hail Mary … I don’t like the black eye from it. The charges are horrific. Part of me says you have to take that chance, but if you’re going to take that chance you have all the responsibility for what comes with that decision.

    I have no idea what to expect from Pitt basketball. Dior Johnson, if he lived up to the 2020 top 10 hype, could have been a guy to ride to the sweet 16 or further … you only need one guy … that dude … in basketball. Without him, I don’t think they have that guy who can carry a team. I’m guessing NIT is best case and bottoming out around 17-18 wins. If they fall below that, I can’t imagine Capel surviving another season. if they win 17 or 18 games I can see another year.

    Pitt football has a lot to fix coming out of the bye … I had patience but a lot of concerns posters had going into the season appear to be coming to fruition. I was hoping the games against Western Michigan and Rhode Island were just checking the box type wins but they appear to have held some valuable information on what and who this team is.

    I still don’t think the OL is as bad as some do. Mistakes, sure, but most college offenses have the same. Slovis makes the OL look worse than it is by being indecisive and afraid to make a mistake. He holds the ball way too long against P5 opponents. Most good teams will be able to get pressure after 3 seconds so that ball has to be out or you have to have the mobility to buy yourself some more time.

    Defense, fingers crossed, is fixable. I see youth as the biggest factor. Pass rush isn’t getting there as you would hope but teams are doing the exact opposite of what Slovis is doing … getting the ball out fast.


  12. Reading the press and player attitudes towards Dior Johnson, it seems like they feel he will be back. Maybe there is more to this story, just as with the Hugely auto theft arrest where he was duped. Or maybe they are just getting accustomed to annual arrest stories. I recall with Hugely that there was a deafening silence for months as the situation played out. But with Dior there is a hearing coming up Oct 20th which should tell us something about the seriousness and legitimacy of the charges.. As Capel said, maybe he is just misunderstood!


  13. Thought I saw where Miami is only favored by 7 over VT this week. I thought the Canes were back?? 🙂

    Also surprised to see UNC only favored by a touchdown over Duke. Should be a shoot-out…

    Go Pitt.


    1. Aside from Pitt, the only other college team I follow is the U. (my dad wouldn’t let me go to Miami because it was too expensive…good call getting me to Pitt instead with minimal student loans) Miami is a football wreck right now. They have a new hc and oc that changed the offense which is much slower paced compared with last year’s dink and dunk/rpo. What happened to if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it? QB Van Dyke has really struggled in the new offense, the coaches have changed his throwing motion, and he was benched in a blow out loss to Middle Tennessee State….and we thought losing to five against Georgia Tech was bad!

      The Miami defense last week really had trouble stopping duel threat QB Drake May from UNC. I am worried Pitt will have a hard time with May and UNC…can’t believe they are ranked only 25th in the coaches poll. I call UNC winning the Coastal this year.

      Miami looks like a 7 and 5 team in 2022 and Coach Cristobal has his work cut out for him.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. OFF TOPIC…
    I noticed on the last thread Big B’s Apollo Version of “YINZ.”
    For those that do not know- though I suspect most of yinz do- here is the origination of the word:
    Most Non-English European languages have two versions of the word “you.” A singular and a plural. In French, for example, those words are “Tu” and “Vous.” If you are speaking to one person, you use “Tu.” If you are speaking to more than one person, you use “Vous.” (The exception is if you are speaking to one person in a “formal” setting…such as the President…you would use “Vous.”)
    As the European immigrants were settling in our country and learning to speak English, they found it very hard to only use one word for both situations. So, they tried to pluralize it.
    Down south, they would say “You All.” Eventually contracting the word into “Y’all.”
    East Coast/Jersey area would say, “Youse.” As in, “Youse Guys gotta problem with that?” As well as some similar variations.
    In Pittsburgh/Western Pa. they would say, “You Ones.” Obviously meaning more than one. This too became a contraction. The closer you are to Downtown- excuse me, Dahn Tahn- this is pronounced “Yinz.” As you move outwards, the variation drifts back closer to the original. “Yunz.” “Yoons.” “Youns.” “You-uns.” Etc.
    Congratulations if you read this. You accomplished the goal of getting 2% better each day.
    Hope YINZ enjoy the rest of your day.

    Liked by 4 people

  15. Thanks so much Dan for the preview.

    Headlines sell newspapers (or newscasts), so I will wait patiently to see what comes out of this situation with Dior Johnson. But I’d rather lose him before the season than during it.


  16. Rumor on the Lair WR Bradley suspended or kicked off the FB team. Hopefully the rumor isn’t true. Pitt’s needs all the help they can muster at WR and Bradley IMO has the potential to help Pitt stretch the field with his size and speed.


    1. Does not appear to have legs at this point. One person claimed they heard it, but nothing to corroborate. Chris Peak said he’s heard nothing specific. We’ll see.


  17. I’m younger than some of you guys, but I go back to Charles Smith, Jerome Lane…Sean Miller, Jason Matthews, Demetrius Gore…then even Levance Fields an Dejuan Blair…I hope with all my Pitt heart this team gets us back to where could be…but not ready to say it’s the most talented or definitely not the best coached

    Liked by 1 person

  18. About Dior, all is not always what it seems…!!!

    I’ve been hesitant to write about this but over the years I’ve met several members of the mob, mostly thru their sons, my buddies growing up. I was a bookie for a while in my youth thru my early thirties and laid off bets with both Pittsburgh and Philly made men. Not proud for sure! No one tells you up front that they are “tied”. Just your friendly bookie you met at a bar.

    There are two main ways to fix a basketball game, the easiest sport to fix after boxing.

    #1 Is of course getting a starting five player to bet with you, get him behind in payments (which always happens to every gambler) and ask him to fix a game and make it all go away! And he better do it !!
    The grooming process can start as early as middle school.

    #2 is to pay a lady to get intimate with a player and then provoke him into bad actions, then use the threat of those actions (usually secretly taped) to get him to throw a game. Throwing a game doesn’t just mean losing.., it means not covering a spread or manipulating a spread.

    Same in the pros. I could write a book on games I know (later) that were fixed including many high school football and BBall games including a WPIAL Championship game where I actually was in uniform but didn’t play.

    Not that this is what happened to Dior Johnson…. but it sure has all the trappings of it. Let’s give the law and Pitt a chance to find the truth before jumping to conclusions. If you have any doubts of this read or see Mikey Franzese on You Tube or Facebook.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Crazy stuff – blocked extra point returned for a safety… not something one sees too often. Was pulling for the Hoopies… better they look, the better we look.


      1. I was pulling for WVU too, JoeL Even after that FG with 40 sec left, I thought the game was headed for OT.


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