lair Sibande intends to return to Pitt next season
The Pitt basketball program is getting towards the end of the 2020-21 season. Earlier this week the team hosted Senior Day prior to the final home game against Wake Forest. The Panthers currently have two seniors on the roster, and yet only of them, Terrell Brown, participated in the festivities. The other, Nike Subande, chose not to celebrate senior day. Following the game, a season-high performance in which he scored 23 points, Sibande indicated he was still unsure if he would be back next season. Pitt head coach Jeff Capel said there was a chance the senior guard could return. On Friday afternoon, Sibande confirmed to reporters that he will be using the extra year of eligibility granted to all players and will be back with the Pitt program next season. On the year, he is averaging 5. 5 points per game, but has posted 14. 6 in Pitts last three contests. I just didnt get the full year and not the season I expected, Sibande said. So next year Im just going to come in ready. Sibande transferred to Pitt from Miami OH prior to the season. He petitioned to be granted immediate eligibility, but the NCAA ruled against that. He went onto miss the first five games of the season. The NCAA then opted to make all transfers eligible for this season. Sibande found that ruling out just moments before the teams game against Miami. He went onto play against the Hurricanes and finished with three points in his first game at Pitt. Sibande then scored 8 points in 26 minutes of action against Louisville in the teams next game. From there, he was forced to miss significant time due to contact tracing. Sibande never got into the mix of the Pitt rotation following that, but everything changed recently. A concussion sustained by starting forward AuDiese Toney before the Florida State game put Sibande into the starting lineup and he played a then season-high 36 minutes and posted 12 points and 7 rebounds. The subsequent transfers of Toney and Xavier Johnson also created more playing time and Sibande has started has the past two games as well. He poured in 23 points last game out and looked to be comfortable on the floor with the added opportunities. He will look to carry that momentum into tomorrows regular season finale with Clemson. Sibande has not been the only beneficiary of the added playing time, freshmen William Jeffress and Femi Odukale have seen elevated roles and the core moving forward is something that excites him. We got a pretty good group and we got some really good freshmen that love the game and love to be around it, Sibande said. So were just talking about trying to find the ways to continue too keep positive vibes and good energy so we can just focus on winning.

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