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Pitt women's basketball player Brenna Wise headed to Indiana

Two years ago, guard Josh Newkirk transferred out of Pitt's basketball program to Indiana. Women's basketball star Brenna Wise is doing the same.

Wise announced the move recently.

"Oh, my gosh, it was one of the toughest decisions I ever had to make," she said. "It came down to a lot of heart and soul. I fell in love with the coaching staff. "It's truly an honor to have the opportunity to play in the Big Ten. Indiana is a basketball mecca."

Funny enough, but the first thing I thought of after that were the comments made by Josh Newkirk about Indiana being a 'dream come true.'

Per NCAA transfer rules, will have to sit out for a season.

Wise said she was leaving the Pitt program earlier this year after the season ended. She's been one of the team's best players over the past two seasons and it was pretty clear there was sort of a rift between her and head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio.

As anticipated, she commanded a lot of interest. Other reported finalists included Ohio State, Michigan, Villanova, and Dayton. Those are all fairly close by for her (since she's from the area) so it looks like she wanted to stay pretty near home. I have to imagine that more offers from quality programs a little farther away were there, too.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Pitt will host Montana and UC Santa Barbara in Legends Classic

In March, it was announced that Pitt would participate in the 2017 Legends Classic. This week, the Panthers' opening round opponents were determined.

Pitt will face Montana on November 13th then play UC Santa Barbara on November 15th.

Regardless of the outcome of those games, Pitt will still advance to the semifinals along with Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and Penn State.

Ordinarily those early-round games would just be footnotes. But with all of the roster turnover Pitt has had, I don't think fans will be feeling overly confident in those games as much as in years past. Still, UC Santa Barbara was only 6-22 last year and Montana was 16-16 while playing in the Big Sky. If Pitt can't find a way to win those games (at home, no less), it will probably be a very long year.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Pat Signal: Noah Palmer commits to Pitt

Pitt lands a local defensive end.

Proud and very excited to announce that I have fully committed to the University of Pittsburgh #H2P #L1TS8URGH pic.twitter.com/NUh6t28GCu— Noah Palmer (@npalmer_3623) May 18, 2017

Noah Palmer announced via Twitter today that he has committed to Pitt. Palmer is a 6’4” 225 pound defensive end from Jefferson Hills, Pennsylvania. He chose Pitt over offers from a number of MAC schools.

Palmer plays his high school football for Thomas Jefferson, a local powerhouse in the Pittsburgh region. He helped guide the Jaguars to a 12-1 record and a WPIAL championship in AAAA. Palmer posted 43 total tackles and 3 sacks along with two defensive touchdowns. Here is a look of his highlights from his junior season.

Palmer becomes the third commitment for this class, joining tight end Jay Symonds and Quarterback Nick Patti. Historically, Pitt’s recruiting efforts tend to pick up considerably in the months of May and June, and that looks to be the case again this season. Pat Narduzzi and his staff are still waiting to land a big time prospect, and perhaps by landing Palmer could help land his teammate, highly touted defensive tackle Devin Danielson.

Pitt offensive lineman Alex Bookser arrested and facing numerous vehicular charges, possible DUI

Well, this seems like fun:

Pitt offensive lineman Alex Bookser was arrested Sunday morning and charged with eight vehicular charges, including misdemeanor driving under the influence, after he was accused of crashing his SUV into two parked vehicles on campus, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The newspaper indicated Bookser was also charged with accidents involving damages to attended and unattended vehicles, failure to obey stop signs, driving at an unsafe speed, careless and reckless driving and operating a vehicle without an official certificate. He is scheduled to appear in Pittsburgh Magisterial District Court for a preliminary hearing on June 26.

Not good news.

Bookser, of course, is a key figure on Pitt's offense. With the Panthers' offensive line in a partial rebuild with the loss of two starters that were just drafted to the NFL, that unit isn't expected to be as strong as it was last year. Not a train wreck, mind you - just a little weaker.

Bookser is one of the reasons for some optimism on the line because he is a returning starter and played quite a bit two years ago. An experienced player, Bookser adds quite a bit to the line.

I don't want to get into the silly discussion of ranking DUIs/reported DUIs. I know there's going to be a lot of comparisons made to what Tyler Boyd did just prior to his senior season but driving under the influence is a bad situation no matter where you are. Even if it's not a populated area, you run the risk of hurting yourself.

All that being said, this seems like it could have been very, very bad. Hitting cars? Police officers drawing firearms? Yikes. Driving under the influence in Oakland is just a bad deal. Congested streets, one-way streets, and not to mention drunk students milling around all hours of the night. That no one was hurt as seems to be the case is obviously great news.

All eyes will be on Pat Narduzzi for this regarding a suspension. Boyd, you might remember, got a game. But he also had three fewer charges than what Bookser seems up against and Bookser is reported to have hit cars, hit a building, and there's some video of the incident.

The elephant in the room will be if Bookser plays against Penn State in the team's second game of the year. Missing the Panthers' game against Youngstown State wouldn't be as big of a deal. But if he's not there in Happy Valley, that would make winning an already difficult game even tougher.

Regarding that suspension, too, I'm not sure we can expect to hear a decision soon. While Narduzzi can act swiftly if he so chooses, he also didn't announce Boyd's suspension until about two months after the charges were reported - and that was in part because the season was closer to kickoff.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Pitt baseball team on slide after sweep to North Carolina State

As recently as a couple of weeks ago, the Pitt baseball team still had a good chance to make some noise in the ACC standings. But the team has really faltered since then and now sits at 22-27 on the year.

After taking four out of five in non-conference games against SIUE and Maryland Eastern Shore, the team was promptly swept on the road at Georgia Tech. The games were close as Pitt lost by only a combined five runs (including two one-run losses) but a sweep is still a sweep no matter how you look at it.

Then, after managing an extra-inning win over Youngstown State in the middle of the week last week, the Panthers were swept again in ACC competition, dropping three games to North Carolina State this weekend. Those games weren't as close and the series culminated in a 14-6 beatdown.

Things have really taken a nosedive for Pitt, not only lately, but dating back to the beginning of April. Pitt had just taken consecutive series' from Duke and Virginia Tech and looked like they could make some progress in the conference this year. In the five series' since then, however, they've won only two of 15 games. Now, at 8-19 in the conference, they are last in the Coastal Division and tied for last in the entire ACC.

Admittedly, this was supposed to be a down year for the Panthers. But when you haven't yet had a winning season in the ACC (in conference or overall), the losing starts to grow old. Assuming he is back next season, that should be a big one in terms of evaluating head coach Joe Jordano. The ACC is difficult to compete in, there's no doubt about it. But as I wrote at the beginning of the season, at some point the program needs to take a real step forward. They sort of did that last season, finishing a game under .500 overall. However, if they're unable to make any real progress next year, that will make five losing seasons in a row. And if the idea is to be competitive across the board in all sports, that's just not good enough.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Monty Boykins transfers to Pitt

Pitt lands a transfer guard from Lafayette

Excited to officially be committed to play basketball at the University of Pittsburgh next year! #H2P #OaklandZoo #Panthers pic.twitter.com/7NI4ujJQ6W— Monty Boykins (@MontyBoykins32) May 15, 2017

Monty Boykins announced today his intentions to transfer to Pitt. He chose the Panthers over other finalists Penn State and Duquesne. The commitment comes after he visited campus last weekend. He is immediately eligible for one season.

Boykins spent the past four years with Lafayette College in the Patriot League. He was injured for nearly the entire season this past year, but as a junior he averaged 10.7 points per game along with 2.7 rebounds. Here is a better look of the type of player Boykins is.

Boykins is a native of West Chester, Ohio. Out of high school, he chose Lafayette over offers from Duquesne, Lehigh, James Madison, among some other mid-major programs. He was rated as a two-star recruit by Scout.com.

Boykins will likely figure as a bench option for next season, but could compete for the starting shooting guard position. Boykins and incoming recruit Khameron Davis are the only natural off-guards on the roster for now, but it appears they are still approaching other names on the transfer market.

To give an update where things are roster wise, Pitt has Ryan Luther and Jonathan Milligan returning. They have six commitments signed on for next season and will be welcoming St. John’s transfer Malik Ellison into the program. Monty Boykins now gives Pitt 10 scholarship players. Kevin Stallings and company can still add three more players.

Desmond Palmer, Gillian Schriever named to All-ACC First Team

Pitt's track and field teams competed at the ACC Outdoor Championships over the weekend. Neither team fared incredibly well with the men's team finishing 10th and the women's team 12th overall. A few individuals, though, made All Conference teams.

Desmond Palmer and Gillian Schriever both landed on the All ACC First Team. Palmer made the All ACC First Team in both the 110m hurdles and the 400m hurdles (runner-up in both) while Schriever earned her achievement in the 5000m race, finishing thrd. In addition, Matt McGoey made the All-ACC Second Team in the 3000m Steeplechace event by finishing in fourth.

The Pitt men's relay team, often a strong group, nearly finished third to make the podium. They finished one-hundredth of a second too late and fell to fourth.

Next up are the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds on May 25-27.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Tracking the Pitt basketball transfers and their new destinations

I've sort of lost track of all of the Pitt basketball transfers but I had a little time to catch up as I was interested in seeing who landed where.

Cameron Johnson, the biggest guy available, is still sorting some things out. And from what I can tell, Corey Manigault hasn't announced a new home yet. He was said to be visiting Arizona State a while back, but I haven't heard anything since then. But most of the departed Pitt players have found new teams.

Justice Kithcart, who was dismissed midseason, is headed to Old Dominion. Interestingly enough, Kithcart's old coach at Virginia Episcopal seems to allude that his disciplinary issue at Pitt was a little overblown.

"He was a really good kid," said Curtis Staples, Kithcart’s coach at Virginia Episcopal. "Those words made it sound worse than it was. I wish they hadn’t used them but they did."

There are plenty of places to go for talent but this sounds at least one guy that's down on the way Stallings dismissed his former player.

Crisshawn Clark, who never played for Pitt due to injury, is headed to Portland where he'll play for former NBA guard Terry Porter. Meanwhile, Damon Wilson will go to Georgia State and Rozelle Nix is heading to South Alabama. He's headed down a notch but still staying in Division I. Those last two are slightly interesting in that both Georgia State and South Alabama are in the Sun Belt so Nix/Wilson could meet each other on the court.

Former incoming 2017 recruit Aaron Thompson is easily going to the highest-profile spot of this group in Butler. Thompson isn't only going to a quality program, but he expects to play early:

There's an opportunity to get early playing time at Butler and that played a role in his decision making. "I think it factors into it a lot," Thompson said. "I think there is a clear path to playing time at Butler. I feel like that would help me in a great way to play early and get some experience."

Lots of smaller schools here, which is mostly what you'd expect. I wouldn't have been surprised to Wilson land at a slightly bigger program but he also really didn't show too much while here. Seeing Thompson scooped up by a good program isn't surprising since he hasn't even played in his first game yet and I wouldn't be surprised to see Corey Manigault scooped up by a power-conference team. And obviously, Cam basically has his pick of schools.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Pitt Football Recruiting: Quarterback Nick Patti commits to Panthers

There's no question that the Pitt football 2018 class has been really slow up to this point. That's not much different the other class Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi has had, but entering May, the Panthers had alone commit under their belts for 2018.

That changed on Wednesday with quarterback Nick Patti joining the team.

Currently, Patti is only a two-star recruit. He had a ton of offers, per Rivals, but many were from smaller schools. His biggest offers outside of Pitt were Rutgers, Cincinnati, Boston College, and Temple. At 6'3" and still another year of high school, he has decent size.

Patti will join what is becoming a pretty deep group of quarterbacks at Pitt. That's a pretty far cry from years past where Pitt was a major injury away from potential disaster under center.

One of the reasons he chose Pitt was because of the ability of Narduzzi and Watson to develop quarterbacks.

“Well, Pitt has a great coaching staff that is there to stay, in my opinion. Coach Watson and coach Narduzzi were the two guys in this whole process where I just hit it off with them from the start,” Patti said. “They’re two guys that I definitely want to play for and they develop quarterbacks really well.”

He's also interested to get going on the recruiting trail himself:

“I’m going to talk to coach Watson over the phone and ask him about who some targets are that I should really want to pursue in recruiting,” Patti said.

This will be Watson's first season with the Panthers but there's no question that Nathan Peterman had success here. He came to Pitt as an underachieving question mark and left as an NFL Draft pick. Obviously, it's not Narduzzi in there doing most of the heavy lifting with the quarterbacks. But Peterman's development came during his time here and with the coordinators he hired.

As that Rivals article notes, he's faced good competition in high school at Montvale in New Jersey. Not only that, but he helped his team win a state championship. Last season, he threw for 1,737 yards and 15 touchdowns to only five interceptions.

Pitt still has a long way to go to fill out its 2018 recruiting class but they took a step forward today with the commitment of Patti. The job is pretty closed this season with Max Browne expected to be the guy under center but after that, all bets are off.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Rozelle Nix to transfer from Pitt basketball program

Just when it appeared there might be some stability with the recent Pitt basketball additions, there's at least one more exit as center Rozelle Nix has decided to take his game elsewhere.

Thank you Pittsburgh! #NextChapter #Grindtime #TimeWillCome #Dat pic.twitter.com/G1veaj1slE — Rozelle Nix (@Ro_Boogie_34) May 8, 2017

Nix will have one year of eligibility left and should be able to play immediately as a grad transfer.

If you're wondering when this vicious cycle will end, well, this might be it. Jonathan Milligan remains as a question mark but the Post-Gazette's Craig Meyer says he could return:

I wouldn't be surprised at all if Jonathan Milligan's back next season, so this may, just may be the end of Pitt's offseason transfers. — Craig Meyer (@CraigMeyerPG) May 8, 2017

The Nix departure is not completely unexpected. He did play some last year but that was largely because the Panthers were in such a bind losing Ryan Luther for much of the season and not really having any other options down low to back up Michael Young.

Nix's exit, of course, is not the end of the world. Not only that, but it's barely a blip on the radar screen of Pitt's problems. Sure, he's one of the few players from last year's team that was left to potentially return but the 1.4 points and 2.6 rebounds per game will hardly be missed.

It can even be argued that Pitt will be better off playing a younger body because, at the very worst, they should get some experience and be able to produce as much as Nix did. And while I know there's angst about not wanting to throw young/inexperienced guys to the wolves next season, next season is basically a lost cause. And I'm not going to get up in arms about a project having to play immediately and burning a year of eligibility. If Pitt is going to return to any sort of level of prominence, they're going to need better recruits than the ones they're getting, anyway. It's a moot point in my mind.

None of that even mentions that Pitt still has several scholarship spots still open - at least three and possibly four if Zach Smith goes back to walk-on status, per the PG. If playing Peace Ilegomah is really such a problem, there are plenty of spots to bring another body in. I think the whole thing about keeping Nix for depth concerns are kind of overblown.

That isn't to say his contributions this past year weren't appreciated. Nix was, at times, one of the few players who looked like he was giving 100% out there. It was refreshing to see him come into games and do whatever he could try to make things happen. Heck, sometimes he did make things happen. But as I said during the season a few times, he just didn't look like an ACC caliber player. Nix's motions were all over the place sometimes and his defensive recovery after being lulled away from the basket was so bad that it was actually something to be hold.

Great guy, great effort - just not enough talent/agility to play consistently well in the ACC (which, by the way, is hardly an indictment).

In the end, this is almost certainly about Nix hoping to play more than it is an indictment on Kevin Stallings for losing another player. Nix should be able to do that if he drops down a level in competition and doesn't have to face guys quite as athletic as what he saw this season.

If you're trying to keep up here, Pitt has either three or four spots available, depending on what happens with walk-on Zach Smith and his scholarship.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

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