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Former Pittsburgh guard Au’Diese Toney announces transfer to Arkansas

by Richard Davenport | April 1, 2021 at 1:52 p.m.
Pittsburgh guard Au'diese Toney (5) dribbles during an NCAA college basketball game against Virginia, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021, in Charlottesville, Va. (Erin Edgerton/The Daily Progress via AP, Pool)

Former Pittsburgh guard Au’Diese Toney has publicly announced plans to transfer to Arkansas.

Toney, 6-6, 210 pounds, left the Pittsburgh program on Feb. 25 to enter the NCAA transfer portal after reaching a mutual decision with Panthers coach Jeff Capel. He was averaging 14.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game before his departure.

He reportedly had interest from Texas A&M, Missouri, Georgia, Tennessee, Arizona, Providence, Vanderbilt, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Iowa State and other programs.

Coach Eric Musselman and his staff's resume along with this season’s Elite Eight run won Toney over.

“They’ve done a really good job with transfers and player development and they have an atmosphere of winning and I want to be a part of that,” Toney said.

Musselman was thrilled about the addition of Toney to the program during his Zoom meeting with the media shortly after Toney’s announcement.

“He’s going to be an incredible piece for us moving forward. I would consider him a positionless player,” Musselman said. “Those guys are so, so valuable. I’m ecstatic.

“He can knock down the three, he’s a great transition player. I think he’s a great fit for us, and I think this is a great fit for him as a player as well.”

Toney started 25 of 31 games as a sophomore and averaged 9.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists while shooting 46.1% from the field, 32.8% percent from three-point range and 65.5% at the free throw line.

As a freshman, Toney averaged 7.5 points and 5.6 rebounds and started 28 of 32 games. He shot 36% from the field, 24.6% from three and 66.3% at the line.

Musselman’s success with transfers Caleb and Cody Martin at Nevada along with Justin Smith, Jalen Tate and JD Notae at Arkansas, helped with his decision.

“He did a really good job with the Martin twins when they came from NC State to Nevada,” Toney said. “They progressed a lot. He brought out a lot potential they didn't know they had. Same way with the transfers that came in this year. They made a tremendous jump development-wise and that’s why they were such a good team.”

Toney said he knew he was coming to Fayetteville about a week ago.

“I just kept watching games,” Toney said. “That just felt like home. Thats the place I want to be. The system perfectly fits with the style of play I like to play.”

Musselman’s energy and love for the game has impressed Toney.

“I love everything about Coach Muss,” he said. "He brings so much joy and excitement to he game. That’s what it's all about."

Toney honors his late grandmother, Harriet Cotton, who passed away from cancer in June of last year, by displaying her picture on his Twitter account.

“She was a very important and big part of my life,” Toney said. “She was like my second mother. She was a very hard-working woman. I was the oldest of the grandkids. If you saw her, you saw me. I was always with her 24/7. She basically raised me. I was coming to surprise her the week that she passed, but she passed away before I could get to her.”

Toney is the first transfer to join the Razorbacks this spring. Arkansas is actively recruiting several other transfers. Junior guard Desi Sills announced on Wednesday he is entering the transfer portal.

Musselman added transfers Abayomi Iyiola, Connor Vanover and JD Notae, along with graduate transfers Jimmy Whitt and Jeantal Cylla before his first season in Fayetteville. He also signed Tate, Smith and Vance Jackson in 2020.

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