Reloading and rebooting: A look at Pitt basketball’s 2023 recruiting


Pamela Smith | Visual Editor

Pitt scores during the men’s basketball game against West Virginia on Nov. 11, 2022.

By Ben Pisano, Senior Staff Writer

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Pitt men’s basketball is currently tied for second place in the ACC with a probable chance at making their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2016. Inversely, women’s basketball has a 1-11 record in conference play, ranking dead last in the ACC. 

Even though there’s still plenty of basketball left to play, it’s never too early to look ahead to next season. Both teams have already signed some notable prospects to their 2023 recruiting class.

Men’s Basketball

In November, Pitt men’s basketball received letters of intent from three 2023 signees — Jaland Lowe, Carlton Carrington and Marlon Barnes. The Panthers’ 2023 recruiting class currently ranks at No. 25 in the country according to 24/7 Sports.

Jaland Lowe, a four-star 6-foot-1 point guard from Fort Bend Marshall High School in Missouri City, Texas, is one of the most highly touted prospects in the greater Houston area. Lowe’s efforts are bringing him national attention, as ESPN ranked Lowe no. 66 on their list of the top 100 recruits for the 2023 class. If Lowe sees even a minute of court time next season, he’ll vastly outperform Pitt’s previous first-year point guard recruit.

When Carlton Carrington committed to Pitt last June, he traded his St. Frances Academy Panthers uniform for a Pittsburgh Panthers uniform. A four-star 6-foot-4 combo guard hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, Carrington shows tremendous upside as a potent offensive threat. At the 2023 St. James MLK Classic — an annual event showcasing some of the top prospects from the DMV — Carrington put on a clinic, racking up an event record 42-point game, going 7-12 from behind the arc.

Marlon Barnes, a 6-foot-6 small forward from Brush High School in Lyndhurst, Ohio, received offers from Cleveland State and the University of Miami before verbally committing to Pitt last January. Current Panther junior forward John Hugley IV is another notable alumni of Brush High School’s basketball program. If Barnes can produce even a fraction of the value that Hugley brings to the program, he’ll prove himself as a worthwhile signee. 

It’s worth noting that Capel’s track record reveals more success in developing transfer students rather than first-year signees. All of the Panthers’ top five point leaders this season came out of the transfer portal. Still, there’s a lot to look forward to in this 2023 recruitment class, and the Panthers can add more depth to their roster when the transfer portal opens in mid-March.

Women’s Basketball

The women’s basketball team can use all the help they can get right now. While some changes in coaching staff may ultimately prove necessary to overcome the team’s recent failures, some fresh talent on the roster might help as well. So far, the Panthers signed Hannah Mills-Watson, Jasmine Timmerson and Lauren Rust to their 2023 recruitment class.

Canadian-born Hannah Mills-Watson is a 6-foot-4 forward from Capital Courts Academy, a team associated with the Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association. In the 2021-22 season, Mills-Watson helped propel her team to victory in the OSBA Championship. She also played for Team Ontario in the U17 Women’s National Championships this past summer. If she can rack up 12 points and seven rebounds against some of Canada’s best, one can hope she’ll hold her own in ACC play.

In addition to Mills-Watson, local phenom point guard Jasmine Timmerson verbally committed to Pitt last January before finally signing her letter of intent in November. In her junior season with perennial powerhouse North Allegheny Tigers, she earned First Team All-State and First Team All-Section honors after averaging 14 points per game. Recently, Timmerson reached 1,000 career points in a decisive victory over Hempfield.

Finally, forward Lauren Rust signed to Pitt’s 2023 class, joining the ever-growing list of Canadian talent on Pitt’s roster. Originally from British Columbia, Rust transferred to the Webb School in the small town of Bell Buckle, Tennessee, in grade 11. In March 2022, Rust helped lead Webb to their second consecutive state championship.

The 2023 women’s basketball recruiting class undoubtedly has the potential to succeed at the NCAA level and help bring this program out of its lowly state. Whether athletic director Heather Lyke will make necessary changes to the coaching staff to help these recruits develop to their potential is a question that only time will answer.