Over a month after announcing his intent to enter the transfer portal, Nike Sibande has found a new home to ply his craft in Pittsburgh.
The university made the signing of the former RedHawk shooting guard official in a press release on Saturday morning.
“Nike is an experienced, skilled and productive player who will fit in well with the culture we are building here at Pitt,” Pittsburgh head coach Jeff Capel said via press release. “He is an outstanding athlete who loves to compete and has a scorers’ mentality. We look forward to having him in the program and working with him as he continues to develop on and off the court.”
Sibande, a six-foot-four, 183 lbs. shooting guard from Indianapolis, Indiana, had been linked to a handful of high-major and power schools, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgetown, Xavier and Georgia throughout his recruitment, per 247Sports.
CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein reported Sibande would be “immediately eligible” in his initial report (now deleted) at 1:05 p.m. Eastern, but the press release made no official indication of if that was the case. Rothstein later issued a correction at 1:41 p.m. on Twitter.
Sibande was a key player for the RedHawks, starting in 94 of 97 games in his Miami career, averaging 15.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game in three seasons. In 2019, Sibande led the team in scoring (13.9 per game), rebounding (5.9 per game) and was second on the team in steals (26), with 54 assists. Sibande had a team-high six double-doubles in 2019, and led Miami to a stunning upset of Buffalo in the first round of the Mid-American Conference postseason tournament prior to its cancellation due to COVID-19.
Sibande burst onto the MAC basketball scene in 2017 as a true freshman, winning MAC Freshman of the Year, all-MAC Homorable Mention and All-MAC Freshman honors after a season which saw him start all 34 games, averaging 15.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game, while shooting at a 41.5 percent clip from the floor, including 35 percent from three-point range. Sibande continued to build on his legend in Oxford in 2018, winning all-MAC third-team honors as a sophomore, leading the team in points (16.1 per game) and free throws (110) and second on the team in rebounds (5.1 per game), while joining the 1,000 point club.
The decision is an intersting one for Sibande, who was not linked with Pittsburgh at any point in the recruiting process. Pitt doesn’t have a lot of depth at guard going into 2020, and Sibande has one year of eligibility left. Under normal circumstances, Sibande would have to sit out a year. But given the effect COVID-19 has had on the NCAA schedule, he could be eligible to play immediately via waiver, which could be the process the university pursues, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
There won’t be a shortage of options to replace his production in Miami, with seven guards listed on the 2020-21 roster for the RedHawks as of publication, including Dae Dae Grant, who was an emergent contributor in his freshman campaign.