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Arizona reaches out to Pitt transfer Au’Diese Toney

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Pittsburgh v Duke Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats are one of about two dozen schools who have reached out to Pitt transfer Au’Diese Toney, according to ESPN’s Jeff Borzello.

The junior’s departure from Pitt was announced last Thursday and described as a “mutual” decision by Pitt coach Jeff Capel. The 6-foot-6 guard/forward was averaging 14.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists on .464/.340/.667 shooting before leaving the Panthers.

Here’s what our friends over at Cardiac Hill had to say about Toney’s departure:

The news of Toney’s departure, like (Xavier) Johnson’s, was unexpected. However, in Johnson’s case, there was pre-existing public tension between the player and coach, as Capel had benched Johnson over technical foul troubles and vented about the issue in a press conference. With Toney, there were no such issues.

The 6’6”, 210-pound guard-forward was averaging 14.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game this season and was one of Pitt’s top three contributors, along with Johnson and Justin Champagnie. He had also come a long way in his three seasons at Pitt, as he had improved his point and assist averages annually and was having his best season in terms of rebounding and three-point shooting.

However, Toney had also dealt with injury issues periodically, and at the time of his departure, he was recovering from a concussion that he suffered in a car accident. That injury sidelined him for Pitt’s 79-72 loss to Florida State on Saturday, and it was the second game he missed due to injury. The other was Pitt’s 64-54 loss to Louisville on Dec. 22, which he missed as a result of a right ankle injury suffered during a team practice.

Toney is originally from Huntsville, Alabama and was ranked just outside of 247Sports’ Top 100 coming out of high school.

Arizona head coach Sean Miller, a Pitt grad, has said the Wildcats are likely to target a forward/frontcourt player if they add any more pieces to their 2021 recruiting class, which currently consists of four-star guards Shane Nowell, Shane Dezonie and K.J. Simpson. How many they add depends on how many scholarships open up.

Frontcourt depth becomes even more of a need after Ira Lee announced he will not be returning for the 2021-22 season, though Arizona still has Christian Koloko, Azuolas Tubelis, Jordan Brown, Daniel Batcho and Tibet Görener on the roster (for now, anyway).

Toney doesn’t really fit the bill since he’s more of a wing than a big man. However, a need could arise there too if Bennedict Mathurin and/or Terrell Brown don’t return next season.

The Wildcats have also been connected to Robert Morris transfer A.J. Bramah, who is more of a traditional power forward.