The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

Column | Most entertaining players to watch at Pitt this semester

Notre+Dames+Cormac+Ryan+%285%29+drives+past+High+Points+Zack+Austin+%2855%29+during+an+NCAA+college+basketball+game+Tuesday%2C+Nov.+16%2C+2021+at+Purcell+Pavilion+in+South+Bend%2C+Ind.+
Michael Caterina/South Bend Tribune via AP
Notre Dame’s Cormac Ryan (5) drives past High Point’s Zack Austin (55) during an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021 at Purcell Pavilion in South Bend, Ind.

As the 2023 athletic calendar begins, Pitt fans will flock from all over to watch their favorite players take the field. Each sport has exciting players who cause the fans to show up in droves. Here are the most entertaining players to watch at Pitt this semester.

Men’s basketball redshirt junior forward Zack Austin

Austin, a recent transfer from High Point University, will look to make an immediate impact on the Panthers in 2023. In two seasons with High Point, Austin averaged 14.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Fans can also expect a strong defensive effort from Austin, as he averaged 2.2 blocks per game at High Point. While on Pitt’s overseas trip to Spain, Austin made headlines for three posterizing dunks in two games against the local teams. 

This sort of dazzling play will surely earn reverence from Oakland Zoo members, who become important during home games. The 6-foot, 6-inch forward will look to continue this trend against NCAA opponents this season. Pitt will host Duke, North Carolina, West Virginia and Syracuse at home in marquee matchups. 

Austin joins the team following the loss of one of the most successful classes of Panthers this century. After losing electrifying players such as guards Nike Sibande and Jamarius Burton, the Panthers will need Austin to step up to fill the void.

Football senior linebacker Bangally Kamara

Kamara is coming off of a strong 2022 campaign, in which he totaled 49 tackles and eight pass deflections in the star linebacker position. This also included a nine tackle game against West Virginia in the Backyard Brawl. However, he spent much of the year sharing the field with future Tampa Bay Buccaneer Sirvocea Dennis — Pitt’s starting middle linebacker for the 2021 and 2022 seasons. 2023 is Kamara’s time to shine and he registered a sack in the first game to show for it. Additionally, he registered three other tackles against Wofford’s offense. Kamara will look to continue his success from previous years by continuing a trend of explosive play from the linebacker position group.

Volleyball first-year outside hitter Torrey Stafford

Stafford joined the volleyball team this fall as a first-year out of Torrance, California. Ranking as the No. 12 recruit in the 2023 class, Stafford became the first member of the team to ever represent Team USA at the youth level in 2022. Stafford joined the U-19 team as they swept Brazil in the 2022 Pan-American Cup finals. 

Stafford has made an immediate impact on a Pitt volleyball team that began the year ranked No. 5, registering 38 kills in five games played thus far. Additionally, Stafford demonstrated efficiency against Montana with a hitting percentage of 70%.

With the departure of players like Courtney Buzzerio and Serena Gray last season, Stafford and fellow first-year right side Olivia Babcock came to Pitt tasked with filling a big hole on the roster. Albeit with a small sample size, Stafford seems ready for the challenge.

Men’s soccer first-year forward Albert Thorsen

Following the departure of senior midfielder Valentin Noel and junior forward Bertin Jacquesson to Major League Soccer, Pitt began the season at home against Penn State with a starting lineup that included nine players who had not played for Pitt before. Norwegian first-year   Thorsen became part of an interesting lineup for the Panthers that evening. 

Thorsen, who started for the Panthers at forward, immediately made an impact for Pitt, who struggled to get anything going in the first half of the opener. After allowing a goal right before halftime, Thorsen netted the equalizer in the 79th minute of the match to end it in a draw. 

Thorsen not only reinvigorated a team that seemed downtrodden after conceding earlier in the game, but also fired up a sold out Ambrose Urbanic Field. He followed that performance up with another goal in the following match against Howard at home. 

About the Contributor
Ari Meyer, Staff Writer