PITTSBURGH -- In addition to talented freshman Parker Stewart, seven other Pittsburgh players have asked for -- and are expected to receive -- their release on Friday to explore transfer options, multiple sources close to the basketball program told ESPN.
Sources told ESPN that senior Ryan Luther, sophomore Kene Chukwuka and four more freshmen -- Marcus Carr, Khameron Davis, Terrell Brown and Shamiel Stevenson -- asked for permission to contact other schools on Friday afternoon. Luther will have to apply for and is expected to receive another year of eligibility.
Junior Malik Ellison, who sat out this past season after transferring from St. John's, also asked for his release. His situation, however, is somewhat uncertain because he didn't play last season after transferring.
Stewart told ESPN his primary reason for leaving was the firing of Kevin Stallings.
"We had a tough year, but most of the team was freshmen and we felt like we'd have a chance to improve next year," Stewart told ESPN. "We liked Coach Stallings. He was a great guy as a person and he treated us well."
Stallings was fired after two years and a 24-41 overall record. Pittsburgh, which has yet to hire a replacement for Stallings, was 0-18 in the ACC this past season.
The players met with executive associate athletic director Chris Hoppe on Wednesday, sources told ESPN. Athletic director Heather Lyke reached out to all of the players shortly after Stallings' dismissal, but was not in attendance for the meeting. One source said Lyke has been working to schedule individual meetings with all the players.
Pittsburgh has a standard policy in place of not allowing an undergraduate transfer to go to ACC schools or a program on next season's schedule, and one source told ESPN that those restrictions will be included in the each player's release.
The three returning players who have not asked for their release, according to sources, are junior Jared Wilson-Frame, the team's leading scorer; and reserve freshmen Samson George and Peace Ilegomah, who combined to play just 185 minutes this past season.