PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – Just two days into his tenure as the new Pitt basketball head coach, Kevin Stallings joined The Starkey and Mueller Show to talk about leaving Vanderbilt to join Pitt in the ACC and his expectations for this program.
Stallings was able to have unprecedented success at Vanderbilt despite facing tougher standards for bringing players into the program and talked with the guys about just how much of the recruiting pool was cut down for them.
“There were so many factors and so many moving parts with that process at times at Vanderbilt that it made our recruting pool quite a bit smaller,” Stallings told us. “We felt like we were able to be very effective within that small recruiting pool but I would tell you if there were 100 kids that were Division I college basketball players, we could probably recruit 25 or 30 of them…As long as I worked there, I refused to look at it as an impediment. I was not going to use that as an excuse.”
One of the things Pitt Athletic Director Scott Barnes said he was looking for when he set out to replace Jamie Dixon was a coach with an up-tempo, fun style of basketball that will entertain the fan base. Stallings talked about what sort of style he likes to play and what he thinks he’ll be able to do right out of the gates with the players currently on the Pitt roster.
“Hopefully that’s my strength or my calling as a coach is finding a style or finding a way to play or finding an offensive system that is tailored and suited to the talents of the players I have,” Stallings said. “I know some guys, and even some guys that I worked for, they’re going to do basically the same thing every year and they’re going to do their best to recruit to that particular system. I’m going to try to recruit the best players and the best kids that we can find and figure out the best way to utilize their talents.”
One of the more controversial angles to the Stallings hiring is his past with Sheldon Jeter, who he previously blocked from coming to Pitt when they were both at Vanderbilt. Stallings was asked about that situation and if he ever blocked other players from transferring to other schools.
“Never once in 17 years,” Stallings said about whether or not he blocked other players.
Stallings went on to share with us where things stand between he and Sheldon now.
“Sheldon and I have had that conversation and I think his Dad actually said it best. There were misunderstandings on both ends and I’ll assume responsibility for that. The thing I can tell you, and I know Sheldon believes this, I really enjoyed coaching him and I really look forward to coaching him again…his disenchantment, if you want to call it that, with the situation that he had at Vanderbilt, literally had nothing to do with me and he will confirm that, as will his parents.”
Click the audio link below to hear the entire interview with Stallings as he talks about all this and more including his affinity for the city of Pittsburgh and what levels he’ll go to in order to find the absolute best talent to bring to Pitt.