Pittsburgh Basketball: Nike Sibande addition helpful for program stability

Pittsburgh Basketball lands a quality transfer in Nike Sibande. Even if he can’t play next season, he’ll be important for the program to have going forward.

The rebuilding job for head coach Jeff Capel and Pittsburgh Basketball continued this weekend with the announcement that Miami (Oh) guard Nike Sibande has elected to transfer to the ACC program. This came out of nowhere, as the Panthers weren’t even one of his original finalists over a month ago.

Arkansas, Georgetown, Georgia, and Xavier were teams who were after Sibande, along with Alabama. The Crimson Tide was rumored to be a frontrunner. But in the end, Pittsburgh got the former Redhawk guard and will provide an added boost to a team that could use it.

In three seasons (97 games), Sibande averaged 15.1 ppg and 5.1 rpg on 41% shooting from the field. His three-point numbers took a dip in his junior campaign but did make 75+ in each of the first two seasons. He’s a prototypical shooting guard with good size at 6’4 and can score at all three levels. Sibande is a solid defender as well, which will help make his transition to the ACC.

When will Nike Sibande play for Pittsburgh Basketball?

As of now, Sibande will have to sit out the 2020-21 season barring a waiver from the NCAA. He’ll likely have to wait, which isn’t a bad thing for the Panthers. The team did suffer big blows with both Ryan Murphy and Trey McGowens transferring this offseason, But they do have three-star class of 2020 guard Femi Odukale and Ithiel Horton, a transfer from Delaware who averaged 13.2 ppg as a freshman before sitting out this past season.

There might not be a great level of depth for Pittsburgh Basketball but it allows Coach Capel to see which players will be part of the main rotation for the following year, where expectations will rise. Having Sibande, who would be a senior that season, would be good for experience and provide a much-needed scoring lift. The Panthers has been right at the bottom in scoring the past few years so having a proven double-digit contributor makes this an ideal pairing. If Horton has a big upcoming season, Sibande can easily play at the small forward position, unless rising sophomore Gerald Drumgoole Jr. can breakout.

The current 2020 recruiting class for the Panthers is filled with promising frontcourt players so hopefully, that big issue is cleared up. The other thing to deal with is perimeter scoring production. If mid-major transfers Horton and in the future, Sibande, can do that, Pittsburgh Basketball will get back towards the top half of the ACC.