The Pitt basketball program suffered another defection Monday afternoon with the transfer of 6-foot-11 center Rozelle Nix.
“I would like to take my time and say thank you to all of [the] University of Pittsburgh and basketball staff for helping me to get better everyday not only as a player but as a man,” Nix said on Twitter. “I will be graduating this August and transferring to another school…”
The Cincinnati native first joined the Panthers in 2015 after playing two seasons at Pensacola State junior college in Florida. In his second year, Nix averaged 11.2 points and 9.5 rebounds on his way to earning first team All-Panhandle Conference honors.
Once he arrived at Pitt, Nix seemed poised to replenish a frontcourt which had struggled in recent years. But his debut was delayed due to a foot injury he sustained during the 2015-16 preseason which forced him to miss the entire year.
In the 2016-17 season — his only year on the court at Pitt — Nix became a fan-favorite despite averaging only 6.3 minutes and 1.4 points per game. His size, blocking ability and willingness to battle under the basket made him an exciting player on an otherwise thin bench.
His transfer is the fifth for the Panthers this offseason and the first since guard Cameron Johnson left in early April. It leaves the team with only two returning scholarship players — seniors Ryan Luther and Jonathan Milligan — outside of former walk-on Zach Smith.
Pitt now has four open spots in this year’s recruiting class. Coach Kevin Stallings and his staff will look to still uncommitted players — mostly graduate transfers and junior college players — to round out the group. The signing period for the class ends May 17.