“A passionate dude” is the way former Virginia great Shawn Moore describes fellow Cavalier football alumnus Malcolm Pittman, who died unexpectedly last week.

Moore’s understanding was that Pittman had tested positive for the new coronavirus, although a cause of death was not identified in a release by St. Albans School in Washington, D.C., where Pittman had coached a variety of sports.

Pittman, originally from Baltimore, was a four-year letterman at UVa from 1981-85, when he was primarily a special-teams performer and led the team in kickoff returns.

He coached a variety of sports at St. Albans, joining Moore on the football staff during one stretch, and had eagerly followed the progress of Charles Snowden, a St. Albans grad who has been a defensive stalwart at UVa.

“He took it upon himself to look after the African American students because there weren’t many of us,” Snowden said Wednesday. “When you needed a mentor, he was a mentor. When you needed a friend, he was a friend.

“One thing I’ll never forget about him is he was the first person to really believe in me when I made the transition from basketball to football.

“After I left St. Albans, he’d come down to the [UVa] spring game, alumni events and games during the seasons and always reach out and try to connect with me. I always appreciated that about him.”

One spot open

Trey Murphy III, a 6-foot-8 sophomore on the Rice men’s basketball team, has entered the transfer portal and has narrowed his list to four schools — Virginia, Villanova, Houston and Pittsburgh.

Murphy, who is from Cary, North Carolina, averaged 13.7 points and 5.5 rebounds this past season for Rice, where he had 75 3-point field goals to go with a power game that included 21 dunks and 16 blocked shots.

Murphy would be required to sit out the 2020-21 season as a transfer but the Cavs would have a spot for him in 2021-22 following the departure of Sam Hauser, a transfer from Marquette with one year of eligibility remaining with similar skills.

Connection

Headed to Syracuse is Alan Griffin, a transfer from Illinois, where he averaged 8.9 points and 4.5 rebounds this past season.

Griffin is the son of Toronto Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin, who has a daughter, Aubrey, at Connecticut, as well as a son, A.J., who has committed to Duke and is rehabbing a serious knee injury.

Also searching

Liberty University post player Brendan Newton, a 7-foot-2, 236-pound post player from Faith Christian in Roanoke, has entered the transfer portal, indicating that he is looking to make a move.

Newton played for a total of 31 minutes over eight games this year, averaging 2.5 points and 2.1 rebounds for a 30-4 Flames team. He played in 22 games as a redshirt freshman, averaging 3 minutes per appearance.

Tough decision

Michael Kraus, one of the leaders of Virginia’s 2019 NCAA championship lacrosse team, has let it be known that he will not return for an extra season of eligibility that was at his disposal as the result of the coronavirus.

Kraus had 12 goals and seven assists in six games before this season was cut short. It remains to be seen what happens with another UVa senior, Dox Aitken, who had planned to play football at Villanova in the fall.

Football

Hopewell High School running back TreVeyon Henderson, rated the No. 3 prospect in Virginia by Rivals.com, has made an verbal commitment to Ohio State.

Rivals has Lord Botetourt offensive tackle Colston Powers, who is committed to Appalachian State, as the No. 36 prospect on that list. Uncommitted Botetourt running back Hunter Rice is ranked 25th.

Not too early

Sports Illustrated, on its SI.com website, has the Virginia and Kansas men’s basketball teams projected to meet in the 2021 NCAA Tournament championship game.

Wizard of Westwood

Last week, Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu (women) and Dayton’s Obi Toppin (men) were named the winners of the Naismith player of the year awards. This week, the duo claimed another of the top college basketball awards — the John R. Wooden Award.

Doug Doughty is in his 44th year at the Roanoke Times, having produced an estimated 10,000 by-lines, a majority of them on University of Virginia athletics.

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