New Pittsburgh basketball coach Kevin Stallings has been a busy man since word surfaced Sunday that he was leaving Vanderbilt.
Like any new coach, among his first orders of business was to try to retain the recruits signed by the previous coach. Except within a day of Stallings being hired, Justice Kithcart and Corey Manigault have both asked to be released from their National Letters of Intent signed in the fall.
Junior college guard Crisshawn Clark tweeted that he was still committed to the Panthers.
While both players could still end up at Pitt after building a relationship with Stallings and his new staff, both want to explore the landscape a bit more, assuming Pitt releases them.
Manigault is a 6-8 power forward from Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) and Kithcart is a 6-2 guard from Virginia Episcopal (Lynchburg).
According to reports, Maryland, Providence and Temple are among the potential suitors for Manigault.
Kithcart, ranked as the No. 15 combo guard in the nation by the 247Sports Composite, had considered TCU and Memphis when he initially picked Pitt. Oddly enough, former Pitt coach Jamie Dixon is now at TCU. He also was recruited by Vanderbilt and Stallings.
“I was just very candid with both of them,” Stallings said during his introductory news conference, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “If they don’t want to be here, I understand how change can affect some people, so we’ll do what we have to and can to keep them, but at the same time not be in their way if they want to go elsewhere.”
Stallings has reportedly offered 6-2 junior point guard Aaron Thompson, Manigault’s teammate at Paul VI. Thompson is considered a four-star by Scout and a three-star by Rivals. While Thompson has many offers in the ACC as well as UConn, he also had an offer from Vanderbilt when Stallings was the coach.
In a radio interview with the Starkey and Mueller Show in Pittsburgh, Stallings said being at Pitt presents a wider recruiting pipeline than what he experienced at Vanderbilt.
“There were so many factors and so many moving parts with that process at times at Vanderbilt that it made our recruiting pool quite a bit smaller,” Stallings said, according to pittsburgh.cbslocal.com. “We felt like we were able to be very effective within that small recruiting pool but I would tell you if there were 100 kids that were Division I college basketball players, we could probably recruit 25 or 30 of them…As long as I worked there, I refused to look at it as an impediment. I was not going to use that as an excuse.”