Greg Elliott hopes to use experience, leadership to lift Pitt basketball back to glory


Pamela Smith | Visual Editor

Graduate student guard Greg Elliott (3) yells after scoring during Pitt men’s basketball’s game against West Virginia earlier this month.

By Frankie Richetti, Senior Staff Writer

It didn’t take long for Pitt graduate student guard Greg Elliott to find a new home after entering the transfer portal this offseason. Elliott spent the first five seasons of his collegiate career at Marquette before opting to exercise his final year of eligibility elsewhere.

The decision to play his final season of college basketball at Pitt took just a few days. After his official visit to Pitt in May, Elliott told that he immediately knew Pitt was the place for him. Pitt head coach Jeff Capel said he wanted Elliott to sign with Pitt because he brings a plethora of assets to Pitt’s roster.

“Greg is a talented guard who brings toughness, three-point shooting, experience and maturity to our backcourt rotation,” Capel said. “He has been productive throughout his career and has the ability to really impact the game with his three-point shooting. Greg’s overall skill set fits well with the rest of our backcourt and will help enable us to move guys around on the wings more freely.”

Elliott knew that playing at Pitt presents on-the-court challenges, but he refuses to refer to this season as a rebuild despite fans and pundits alike seeing it as just that. 

“It’s not a rebuild, we here to make something happen,” Elliott said. “It’s not going to be a surprise to nobody but the people that’s on the outside looking in.”

Elliott was in a similar situation just last season with the Golden Eagles. Marquette went 13-14 the year prior, and newly hired head coach Shaka Smart entered his first season with the program. Marquette finished last season 19-13 and qualified for the NCAA Tournament when nobody saw it coming. 

Elliott played a pivotal role in Marquette’s success last year. He shot 39% from three, provided veteran leadership and did whatever it took to win basketball games. Elliott picked up the slack when the Golden Eagles needed a scoring punch — scoring 22 points against UCLA and 25 against DePaul. Elliott also played unselfish basketball and sacrificed shots for others. 

Elliott said he believes that his experience last season with Marquette will pay dividends.

“Last year we came from a coaching change, everybody was expecting that to be a rebuild,” Elliott said. “But Shaka, he told me when he came in last year that we weren’t rebuilding nothing. We was going in to make a statement no matter who we was going against, or no matter what. I feel like I want to do the same thing here…I’ve been through it so the guys can see I’m a person that led by example, and I can do it again.”

Elliott said Pitt rosters a group of experienced players and won’t experience the growing pains most younger teams go through. However, the Panthers dropped three games to West Virginia, Michigan and VCU to start the season. Still, Elliott’s approach has not changed. 

He is constantly the first Pitt player on the court for warmups. He brings energy every time he steps on the floor. And most of all, he is always talking to his teammates and looking for different ways to serve as a leader. 

Elliott said he treats every teammate differently based on their individual characters. 

“It depends on who the person is or what they may need,” Elliott said. “I know the twins, they don’t really talk that much so I just scream at them. It’s different.”

Pitt sophomore forward Nate Santos said the energy Elliott brings is good for everybody.

Energy that everybody could absorb, and it’s good energy,” Santos said.

Elliott’s goals for the season speak to his selflessness and drive to win. When talking about goals, Elliott always speaks from a team level, not a personal level. While he has only played for the team for a few months, he’s fully embraced his role as a Panther. 

In doing so, Elliott wants to bring Pitt basketball back to its former glory.

“Personally, I want to get Pitt basketball back to where it’s supposed to be,” Elliott said on Pittsburgh Sports Now’s “Just Buckets” podcast. “Getting to the tournament, making runs in the ACC tournament. I feel like that’s something Pittsburgh’s been needing for a while now. Me getting here and talking to people from here, I get an Uber ride and they’re telling me, oh, you play for Pitt?’ We need y’all to be good.’ That’s not something I’m used to.”

Elliott believes the Panthers have the pieces to do just that.

“Our expectations are to make a complete turnaround,” Elliott told “We want to become a top team in the ACC and I think with the pieces from last year and the new pieces we have coming in, I think we can make some serious strides.”