WILL GRAVES,AP Sports Writer
PITTSBURGH (AP) — It’s one and done for Pittsburgh center Steven Adams and guard Trey Zeigler.
Adams, the 7-foot freshman from New Zealand, said Tuesday he plans to sign with an agent and enter the NBA Draft. Zeigler, a 6-5 junior, announced earlier in the day he was transferring after spending just one season in the program.
The departures could make the Panthers’ move to the ACC a bumpy one. Pitt will join the conference this summer and Adams and Zeigler figured to be key parts of the process after helping the Panthers to a 24-9 record.
Instead both are heading out the door.
“In discussing options with my family and coach (Jamie) Dixon, I feel that it is in my best interest to declare for the NBA Draft,” Adams said in a statement.
Adams started 32 games for Pitt and averaged 7.1 and 6.3 rebounds per game. The 19-year-old led the Panthers with 65 blocks and made 57 percent of his shots while being named to the Big East All-Rookie Team.
Considered a project when he signed, Adams improved as the season went on. He had 13 points and 11 rebounds in Pitt’s 73-55 loss to Wichita State in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Adams said after the defeat he planned to come back but had a change of heart in the last week.
Dixon, who used his deep ties to New Zealand — where he played professionally in the late-1980s — to bring Adams to Pittsburgh said he “fully supports” Adams’ decision.
The announcement came barely a week after Dixon signed a new 10-year contract to remain at Pitt and just hours after Zeigler indicated he would seek a transfer rather than play his senior season at Pitt.
Zeigler averaged 4.4 points and 2.0 rebounds in 31 games for the Panthers this year after coming over from Central Michigan. Zeigler received a waiver from the NCAA to play right away at Pitt after his father, Ernie Zeigler, was fired as Central Michigan coach last spring.
Zeigler started during his freshman and sophomore years with the Mustangs but saw his playing time and production dip significantly with the Panthers. He did score a season-high 18 points in a 93-55 victory over DePaul and helped lead Pitt to an upset of Syracuse on Feb. 2. Zeigler was expected to compete for the starting shooting guard spot next year.
The decisions capped a tumultuous 24 hours for the Pitt athletic department. Women’s basketball coach Agnus Berenato was fired late Monday night and freshman running back Rushel Shell — who ran for 641 yards last season — told coach Paul Chryst he is transferring.
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