Pittsburgh Baketball: Trey McGowens leaves, team pursuing transfers

Trey McGowens becomes the second player to transfer from Pittsburgh Basketball. The Panthers are looking to the transfer market to fill the void.

In somewhat of a surprise, Trey McGowens is transferring from Pittsburgh Basketball as reported by Rivals’ Corey Evans. The former four-star prospect was coach Jeff Capel’s first recruit and was a major player over the past two years for the Panthers. While Pitt made significant strides as a program over the past two years, McGowens struggled with consistency this past season after a decent freshman campaign.

The 6-4 sophomore guard averaged 11.5 points, 3.6 assists, 1.9 steals, as well as 3.5 rebounds along with 2.8 turnovers in 2019-20. The good news is that McGowens improved his assist-to-turnover ratio from his freshman campaign (from 0.7 to 1.3) and cut down his foul issues from the previous season. However, his efficiency took a huge hit as he averaged only1.12 points per shot as the Pendleton (SC) native made just 36.7% of his shot attempts from the field and 31.1% from beyond the arc.

McGowen’s production dipped to 9.1 points over Pitt’s final 16 games, a span where he shot just 32% from the field and 29% from 3-point range. The Panthers went 5-11 over this 16 game stretch, which included losing eight of its last nine games. Overall, McGowens scored in double-figures in 20 of his 33 appearances though his best performance came against Robert Morris when he tallied 25 points along with eight rebounds, five assists, and four steals. He also tossed in 24 points apiece against both UNC and Louisville.

McGowens and Ryan Murphy are now among five players that have transferred since Capel took over the program. Shamiel Stevenson (Nevada), Khameron Davis (Weber State), and Peace Ilegomath (Evansville) are among the players that have previously transferred.

Who could Pitt get to replace  McGowens?

With McGowens and Murphy leaving, it opens up two scholarships for Pitt in 2020-21. Two possible options to fill out the roster are Jamarius Burton and Landers Nolley II, according to Mike Wilson of SBNation’s Cardiac Hill. Wilson said that Pitt has been in contact with both players. Neither Barton or Nolley II will be eligible to play until 2021-22 as they must sit out next season as a result of the NCAA’s transfer rule. This is not necessarily a bad thing as the Panthers probably are a year away from possibly contending if they can secure either or both players anyways.

Burton is a 6-4 combo guard from Wichita State who is coming off a solid sophomore campaign. He can do a little bit of everything and averaged 10.3 points along with 3.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists while shooting 44% from the field as well as 38.1% from the 3-point line last year. Turnovers are a problem, however, and he is not much of a 3-point threat. Evans is reporting that Pitt is among more than a dozen teams that have reached out to the Charlotte (NC) native. Xavier, Marquette, Maryland, Seton Hall, Arizona, Virginia Tech, Arizona State, Dayton, West Virginia, Butler, UConn, and Illinois are among the other programs in touch with ESPN’s No. 5 rated sit-out transfer.

Nolley had a fantastic first collegiate season after missing the 2018-19 campaign due to the NCAA looking into his academic eligibility. The 6-7 small forward led Virginia Tech in scoring at 15.5 points a game and 3-pointers with 68 this past season. He scored in double-figures in 25 of 32 appearances, which included nine 20-point outings, and grabbed 5.7 rebounds a game overall. Nolley produced three double-doubles and grabbed double-digit rebounds on four occasions. However, the All-ACC selection had an issue with shot selection and efficiency as he only averaged 1.07 per shot and an effective shooting percentage of 43%.

Nolley has three years of eligibility remaining. Jake Weingarten of Stockrisers is reporting that UCLA, Oregon, South Carolina, NC State, SMU, Creighton, DePaul, UConn, and Auburn are among other possible suitors for ESPN’s top sit-out transfer. Nolley is reportedly looking for somewhere he can play the wing rather than the 4-spot.