Pitt basketball coach Jamie Dixon has filled a much-needed hole on his roster with the addition of Central Michigan transfer Trey Zeigler. Now the question is, whether Zeigler will be eligible to play next season or in 2013-14.
Transfers must sit out one season when transferring from one Division I school to another, but Zeigler has applied to the NCAA for a special waiver. He is asking the NCAA to allow him to play next season because he played for his father, Ernie, at Central Michigan, and Ernie was fired last month.
"You hear so many different opinions on it," said Ernie Zeigler, who was an assistant coach under Ben Howland at Pitt from 1999-2002. "We're hopeful because of the circumstances that played out with my situation that he was going to be in a peculiar and awkward situation [at Central Michigan]. He's back home now."
Zeigler, who is 6 feet 5, spent four years in Pittsburgh when he was in elementary school. He attended North Allegheny schools and played AAU basketball with former Duquesne guard T.J. McConnell and former Beaver Falls standout and current Pitt football player Todd Thomas.
Pitt could certainly use Zeigler, a shooting guard, next season if he is eligible. The Panthers lose Ashton Gibbs, the school's No. 8 all-time scorer, to graduation. Two freshmen -- Cameron Wright and John Johnson -- started games at shooting guard this season when Gibbs had to play the point, but both struggled.
Zeigler would add scoring punch and rebounding to the lineup. He led Central Michigan in both statistical categories this past season. He averaged 15.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. He averaged 16.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game as a freshman in 2010-11.
Zeigler said Pitt's need at shooting guard and his familiarity with Dixon and Pitt assistant Brandin Knight were the deciding factors in his decision. He picked Pitt over Duke, UCLA and Arizona State.
Zeigler will report to Pitt next month and play in the Pittsburgh Basketball Club summer league with other local college players.
"Pitt is known for defense and toughness," said Zeigler. "We sat down and looked at the whole roster with who's coming back and who's coming in. I had a real comfort level with that."pittbball
Ray Fittipaldo: email@example.com and Twitter @rayfitt First Published April 8, 2012 12:00 AM