Pittsburgh players, recruit ask to explore transfer options

SVP on why Pitt is a cautionary tale (2:39)

Scott Van Pelt's 1 Big Thing digs deep into the recent firing of Pittsburgh's head coach Kevin Stallings, after the once proud program goes winless in the ACC. (2:39)

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.

Pittsburgh fired coach Kevin Stallings on March 8, after he had gone 24-41 in his two seasons at the school.

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 another year of eligibility and is expected to receive it.

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.

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.

In addition, Pittsburgh's lone remaining recruit, four-star guard Bryce Golden, told ESPN he's also requested his release from Pittsburgh.

Stewart told ESPN his primary reason for leaving was the firing of 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."

Pittsburgh, which has yet to hire a replacement for Stallings, was 0-18 in the ACC this past season.

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.

ESPN's Jeff Borzello contributed to this report.