Trey Zeigler grew up idolizing former Pitt players Brandin Knight and Julius Page. He watched them bring Pitt from the bottom of the Big East to the top when he was in grade school in Pittsburgh while his father, Ernie, was an assistant alongside Jamie Dixon on Ben Howland's coaching staff from 1999-2003.
So when Trey decided to transfer to Pitt last spring, it was believed to be a perfect fit for both parties. Dixon was looking for a shooting guard, and Zeigler was coming home to a system he and his father knew well.
"Sometimes things just don't work out the way you think," Ernie Zeigler said Tuesday night after Pitt announced Trey will transfer after one season in a Pitt uniform. "That's life. It was a learning experience for Trey. It will help him grow into a better young man. You have to try to move forward. There is no ill will or hard feelings on my part toward Jamie or anyone at Pitt. Jamie is a class guy. I wish him continued success."
Zeigler averaged 4.4 points and two rebounds in 31 games. The 6-foot-5 guard came to Pitt after averaging 16 points per game in two seasons as a starter at Central Michigan, where Ernie was head coach.
Zeigler received an NCAA waiver to play immediately at Pitt because of his father being fired by Central Michigan last spring. Zeigler, a former top recruit coming out of high school, considered UCLA and Duke before deciding on Pitt.
Zeigler was expected to start at shooting guard, but struggled to learn Dixon's system. Freshman James Robinson started at point guard, and Dixon switched veteran Tray Woodall to shooting guard.
Zeigler was suspended for two games in November and December after being cited for driving under the influence. Dixon welcomed him back after that and Zeigler eventually earned 16 minutes per game as a reserve guard.
It's not known whether Zeigler would transfer to another Division I school or attempt to play immediately by transferring to a Division II or III school.
"He's moving forward and hopefully putting himself in a position to develop and become the player he can be," his father said. "There is no particular destination he has in mind. He'll take his time this time around and try to move forward."
Ray Fittipaldo: email@example.com and Twitter @rayfitt1. First Published April 3, 2013 4:00 AM