Monday, March 25, 2013

Why Pitt has struggled and how to fix it

Another season, another disappointing early exit for Pitt fans.  Why does it keep happening?  Is it style? Talent? Both?  Let's first look at where the program is under Jamie Dixon, and then how they can get back on track, and maybe even better.

Last season was the first truly mediocre season of Dixon's tenure, and even a CBI championship couldn't save a moribund season.  The program did rally some this season.  I predicted in the preseason that the Panthers would be 26-7 and they ended up 24-9, yet somehow it still seemed to many that the Panthers didn't live up to expectations.

Dixon did a great job to get the Panthers to 24-9 with two freshman starters, neither of whom are stars yet.  And with a top scorer averaging only 11.5 ppg.  Included in those 24 wins was a 28 point win at Georgetown, a 15 point win at Villanova, a 10 point win against Syracuse, a 10 point win at Cincinnati, another 9 point win against Villanova, an even a 3 point loss at possible eventual national champion Louisville. That's some impressive coaching for a team with such obvious weaknesses. But now let's look at why in the last two seasons the team had such weaknesses.

The most obvious problem is that Dixon has missed in recruiting too often over the past few years.  Tray Woodall, Lamar Patterson, Talib Zanna, and J.J. Moore are solid talents, but Woodall has graduated without reaching stardom and the latter three are down to their last season to reach that level. While it's possible that could happen for any of them, there hasn't been any signs that will happen.

Beyond that, Trey Zeigler was a transfer that even Duke wanted, but after watching him during this season one has to wonder why.  He's also down to his last season and he's another one that probably isn't going to reach stardom in his senior season next year.  The same goes for Cameron Wright who will be a redshirt junior.  The jury is still out on redshirt Chris Jones and rising redshirt sophomore Durand Johnson, though the latter has shown signs of being an offensive sniper.

The only probable top end talent in the entire program is freshmen Steven Adams and James Robinson. Adams is far ahead of most 7'0" freshman and Robinson mostly played well as a rare starting freshman point guard in the Big East.  They are the future of the program and the main reason why there's hope.

While it's obviously great that Dixon landed two excellent prospects, their presence also sheds light on the recent misses.  Dante Taylor and Khem Birch were McDonald's All-Americans.  Neither lived up to what was expected of them.  Taylor peaked as a solid reserve, and Birch was a total mismatch for the program then transferred out midway through his freshman season.

Then there are the other transfers.  Dwight Miller, J.J. Richardson, Isaiah Epps, Malcolm Gilbert, and John Johnson also moved on in the past few years.  The most glaring observation one could take from that list is that none of them were projected to be big time players even if they stayed.  At best, Gilbert could eventually fit into the rotation, and Johnson probably would have been a career reserve.

Like Woodall, Epps was rated highly as a sophomore, but saw his stock drop like a rock before signing. Many other schools saw warning signs that pointed to both being not as good as was first hoped, and stopped recruiting them.  Pitt, on the other hand, stuck with them, hoping that they would reclaim their past glory.  They did not. Woodall became a good player, but nothing more, and Epps showed nothing.

Miller and Richardson were brought in late to max out the roster and to be designated rebounders. Both were obviously failed experiments.

But the most frustrating transfer may have been Gilbert.  Granted, he was probably never going to be a big star, but when he transferred Dixon stated that even before signing Gilbert, that he was always going to transfer so that he can play with his brother.  What?  What was the point of using a scholarship on him, and spending time in practice teaching him to play basketball, if you knew he was going to leave anyway?  Couldn't that scholarship have gone to, at the very least, a 7'0" project that was going to stay?  Or how about a 6'5" shooting guard who is a great athlete but is raw?  Or a great three point shooter who maybe is not that great of an athlete?  There are many more projects that make more sense.

That dovetails into one of Dixon's biggest problems, and that's that he too often takes players with limited upsides.  Woodall was a 5'11" shooting guard who wasn't a three point shooter when he was signed.  Exactly where did Dixon think he was going to go with him?  Woodall maxed out what he could do at Pitt, and he was far from a bad player, but when he's the best player on your team, you have to think it's a miracle Pitt won as much as they have.  Woodall is a good player to have on your team.  But Robinson is a strongly built 6'3" point guard with natural point guard skills.  He can easily improve his shooting and get in shape enough to be a very good college player.  Especially since he's considered a top 50 prospect when he came out. That's very different than a 5'11" shooting guard that you have to teach to play point guard and who isn't rated in the top 100.  And Woodall was taken very early in the recruiting cycle.  There was no reason to jump on him so soon.

But taking Woodall alone wasn't a problem. He turned out to be a good player and helped the team. But he was forced to start because Dixon then followed up with more suspect guards. In the next year, Dixon brought in no more point guards.  The following year he added Isaiah Epps.  So that's the point guards that Dixon was counting on?  Really?  The next year the program added John Johnson, yet another small shooting guard that Pitt tried to turn into a Big East point guard.

Maybe Pitt can't land a McDonald's All-American point guard, but come one, there's no reason why the Panthers couldn't land at least one top 100 point guard between Levance Fields in 2005 and Robinson in 2012. That's simply bad recruiting and bad evaluation.

The same situation exists at shooting guard.  Wright is a lengthy athlete, but he was not considered a good outside shooter when he signed. To his credit he has developed into a serviceable player.  And even though Ohio State, who he originally committed to, gave up on him because his stock dropped, the Panthers continued to pursue him.  See a trend developing?

But, like Woodall, Wright is good to have in the program.  But only in a group of more talented players.  Ashton Gibbs was one that did come through, and even though all he could do was shoot, at least he had one thing that he could do extremely well.  He became a total malcontent in his senior year, and that malaise seems to have lingered into this season's team, but overall the staff did good with his recruitment.  But, again, there wasn't enough talent in the rest of the guards to utilize him better.  Gibbs was even forced to play way out of position at point guard before Brad Wanamaker was forced to cover for him.  And as a two guard he was limited athletically to be an all around force.  That's okay if there are others to do what he could not, but when you are forced to have your small forward run the offense, you are lacking in quality guards. In a nutshell, Gibbs was a shooting guard playing point guard, but not really, and Wanamaker was built like a shooting guard, playing small forward, but with point guard possibilities.  That sums up Dixon at Pitt perfectly. Nobody perfect for any one spot but still winning a lot of games.

After Gibbs, Dixon added no new true shooting guards in 2009, Wright in 2010, none in 2011, and Chris Jones in 2012. Is it any wonder why Pitt can't score?

At the forward spot, there were some solid players like Nasir Robinson, Wanamaker, and Patterson but none were the elite athlete and scoring combination that the great programs need.  Like Jaron Brown before them, Dixon instead went with power forwards in small forward bodies. You can still win a lot of games like that but the teams who go far in the NCAA tournament have 6'6' athletes who are scoring 15 ppg. It's the equivalent of having a first baseman who hits 10 home runs. He could be a good player, but if you have a first baseman with 10 home runs and your opponent has a first baseman with 30 home runs, then eventually you're going to lose.  Ideally, your point guard distributes, your center and power forward defend and rebound, and your shooting guard and small forward scores.  And when you are playing power forwards at small forward and point guards at shooting guard, you aren't going to score at those positions.

Hopefully, Dixon has realized lately that he needs something different at the position and has added 6'6" athletic shooters in Moore and Durand Johnson, and 6'5" shooting guard Chris Jones.  Moore shows flashes but it looks very much like Dixon doesn't know how to handle him.  He is a great athlete but he rarely gets to show it. Johnson can shoot, and little else, but he's only a redshirt freshman.  The hope is that he can defend enough that Dixon will let him play more.

It's no secret that Dixon can flat out coach with what he has. Anybody who doesn't get that just isn't paying attention. In his ten years at Pitt he has beaten a lot of much more talented teams than what he was playing with. But it's also no secret that he doesn't have as much due to his own poor recruiting and player evaluation.

I know people don't like the system, but the system is not the biggest problem. Dixon's system is about rebounding, defense, and offensive efficiency.  Nobody can argue that that is a helluva system for any coach.  The problem is talent.

When Dixon had DeJuan Blair, Sam Young, and Levance Fields, he came very close to getting to the Final Four.  But there was very little else behind those three, though some eventually went on to being good players in future years. Other Dixon teams didn't have that kind of top end talent, but it shows just how excellent of a coach he is when he takes a team of Gibbs, Wanamaker, Gilbert Brown, and Gary McGhee to a No.1 seed.  The Blair, Young, and Fields team was also a No.1 seed and went further. Unless you are a rare Cinderella team, only highly talented teams get to the Final Four, and it's no wonder why the Pitt team with the most high end talent went the furthest in the tournament.

That's why Adams sticking around is so important.  As a junior he could be a force at the Blair level, while Robinson could be at the Fields level.  That leaves the Young spot, a wing who can score in bunches. It's the same bugaboo that has haunted Dixon for most of the decade. But as I explained previously he has nobody to blame but himself.

In the past few days, fans and media alike have been criticizing Dixon for his style of play, and how his players need to look more to offense and have more fun.  There's definitely something to that but one would have to be naive to think that Dixon is suddenly going to channel Andy Enfield.  The truth is, his team didn't have trouble scoring when he had Young on the wing, Blair carving out space in the paint, and Fields throwing perfect passes to both. No, the trouble is definitely recruiting. It's high level talent that gets you to Final Fours. It's coaching that gets you a lot of wins.

Dixon lets it be known what he's looking for and the assistants go out to look for those players.  They then return to Dixon when they find somebody that fits the bill.  So these mismatched small forwards and guards lay at the feet of Dixon.  Worse yet, I don't think Dixon believes he can get some of the top recruits in the nation.  The truth is, he would lose out on many, but it doesn't seem like he even tries very hard at them.  I once asked a member of the Pitt staff about recruiting and he replied that one of the factors in deciding who Dixon will target is "who he thinks he can get".  To me, that is very telling. Shouldn't a nationally known, and highly successful program assume, at least initially, that they can get anybody?  Why so pessimistic?  Ralph Willard pulled top 25 guard Vonteego Cummings out of Georgia while Dixon is settling for former top 100 players who has seen their stock plummet.  Find a top 50 wing who can score and go hard after him. Hell, he could start from day one in the ACC next to a 7'0" lottery pick, and in front of some of the best fans in the country. You only need one of them to buy into that.  But you have to go hard at the kid.  Not all great recruiters recruit to just Kentucky and North Carolina. Great recruiters at lesser programs pull in the occasional gem, too. There's no reason why Pitt can't be one of them.  Dixon is not a good closer at all and it's his biggest weakness.

I was once talking to a well known, respected national basketball writer a few years back about whether or not Pitt will go after Herb Pope.  He told me "with kids like that you have to get your hands dirty sometimes and Jamie doesn't like to get his hands dirty. It's often a circus with the top kids and Jamie doesn't want to go there".  What I have to say to that is, Jamie better learn to go there. I'm not saying to do anything against the rules, I'm saying make strong connections and don't take no for an answer. Yeah, Pope was a train wreck, and so was Birch, who had all kinds of bad people trying to influence him. But you have to try with that kind of talent because those are the ones more often than not who will get you to the Elite 8 and beyond.  Charles Smith, Brian Shorter, and Adams were all top 10 prospects.  Jerome Lane, Chris Taft, and Blair were top 25.  Young was top 50.  I think you see the point.  If you want great college players, you need to recruit great prospects.  Seems obvious, but Dixon doesn't always do that.  Especially at guard where Robinson is the only guard in his entire tenure that is even on the cusp of being a top 50 prospect.

To sum it up, Dixon is a phenomenal coach.  What he's been able to accomplish with the talent he has on hand is sometimes amazing.  On the other hand, he's his own worst enemy.  I feel that he's so close with the administration at Pitt that nobody will tell him that he needs to make some changes. And after a ten year extension, I don't see them telling him how to run his program at this point.

Ideally, the administration should let Dixon know that if he needs an ace recruiter, they will give him the money to do it. I don't think Bill Barton has even signed anybody since he's been at Pitt, and previously he was the assistant at Marshall.  That's not good enough.

And then Dixon himself has to change.  He's no longer the boy wonder.  He's 47-years old now, and this is his last chance for greatness at Pitt. Nationally, and locally, he's now known as the guy who got a long extension for flopping in the tournament every year.  And with his constant pay raises, and the fact that it's now pretty much known that nobody else will be coming for him, the pressure is on like never before.  It's time to change his recruiting philosophy.  Time to recruit hard against the best programs out there, and start bringing in some wing talent.  He has the center and the point guard to help make people forget about his failures.  But only if he has learned from those failures.  The time is now for Dixon to be a complete coach because the university paid a lot of money for him to be one.




181 comments:

  1. you never seem to mention that dixon has failed to show any type of offensive knowledge in his tenure here. terrible offensive coach. thats not going to change.

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    1. He's not a terrible offensive coach. He has no offensive players. There's a difference. Sam Young had no problem lighting it up. Same with Ashton Gibbs.

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  2. Chris....great writeup! I've seen it asked before & MAYBE I've missed your response.

    Where is "slice"? Any chance of B.Rohrssen returning to the fold? What would it take to get him back?

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    1. He's a NYC recruiter and most of the NYC talent now goes away to prep schools to play. Plus, with Pitt no longer being in the Big East, they'll be heading in there even less now. And then you have Knight who already is well known in NJ, so he just goes into NYC too.

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  3. What doesn't make sense to me is how the light bulb never seems to go on for these guys. It's not rocket science. You laid out the past quite nicely. He can't recruit....or he won't "recruit". I don't know which is more accurate but it's obvious that we need scoring skill. I couldn't help but think while watching Temple/IU yesterday that we couldn't get somebody on the roster like Wyatt. He almost beat IU by himself. Why play A10 ball when you can play bigger & better? You tell me no one else wanted him? I hope Jamie does some self-evalutation and gets some new worthy assistants and brings in some more talented guys who he will play at their natural positions.

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  4. "Jamie doesn't like to get his hands dirty."

    That about says it all.

    List of CBB programs that don't have to get their hands dirty: Duke (maybe) [end of list]

    The Steelers have done well over the years b/c they have multiple eyes (and very good eyes) evaluating as much talent as possible.

    For a CBB program you have to:

    1) Have a good set of recruiters who can recognize talent
    2) Use the best quantitative analytics available
    3) Get out and sell, sell, sell -- with the sharpest elbows possible.

    It gets back to will. Do JD and Pitt have the will to recruit and the will to win?

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  5. What would it take to steal Book Richardson fom Zona?

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  6. I understand your larger point, but it is a lie to say Young was a Top 50 recruit, because he wasn't. Nor was Blair a Top 25 recruit, though he did shoot up the boards late. Conversely, Dante Taylor, Khem Birch, and Trey Zeigler were all rated higher than those two, yet combining each's best skills they still would be worse players.

    My point is you don't NEED top recruits to advance far, you need top players. Usually those also happen to be top recruits but not always. Hence, I agree primarily on the talent evaluation. If Dixon doesn't feel like he wants to get his hands dirty and recruit the top guys that must be paid, then by all means, go ahead. In fact, I would prefer that, since most of those guys cannot be counted on for more than a year or two in the program. But he has to do a better job of finding the guys in the 75-125 range that are criminally underrated and going out hard and getting them/developing them to be the next Fields/Young/Blair crop.

    I also don't understand why he can't recruit some more quickness/penetrating ability. Every mid-major and low-major has a guy or two that is undersized but extremely quick and can break down defenses. He should be reserving spots on the roster for guys like that, even if they don't meet his "big and physical" criteria. Perhaps the move to ACC will change that...Newkirk could be evidence that he has embraced a different approach there.

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    1. Young was a top 50 prospect. He wasn't listed in some recruiting rankings because he was a 5th year senior and they don't list them. In those that do rank them, he was in the 40s. Nobody covered Blair than me at the time and he was definitely a top 25 prospect.

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    2. He was listed in Rivals as #71 after his 5th year. This is documented in his profile on Pitt's website as well as through a simple Google search.

      He was unranked coming out of HS...I'm guessing this had to do with the fact people knew he was going to prep school. ESPN doesn't have that much historical data and Scout uses that strange rating system, but he was lower than Levance. Also, we signed him before he climbed that high...in September of 2004 (before his season started in earnest at Hargrave).

      And the highest number I could find for Blair was #39.

      The larger point remains that none of the three were McDonald's guys.

      Just keeping you honest ;)

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    3. Oh, I think I see the problem. The problem is, you think Rivals knows how to analyze players. I use actual coaches and well regarded scouts like HoopScoop. Sam Young was the National Prep School Player of the Year. Blair was considered a top 25-30 player by the end of the year. Trust me, this is what I do. I talk to college coaches daily. I know who the best players in the country are every year and I don't need websites like Rivals to do it.

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    4. Yes, he was National Prep POY, but again, we had recruited/signed him prior to that point. Same goes for Blair...if memory serves he had committed before his late skyrocket up the recruiting boards.

      I don't doubt that you have good sources, but clearly even sources as good as college coaches are often off base when it comes to evaluating these guys. From Dante Taylor to Pat Bostick, there are tons and tons of misses every year. In fact, you just spent much of an entire post questioning Dixon and his staff's judgment on this very topic. I agree with you--that's what needs to improve. What I don't agree with is becoming narrowly focused on getting top 25 guys year-to-year. I just don't think it is 100% necessary, or viable:

      a- They leave early and damage continuity.

      b- They don't always contribute in the short time they are in college.

      c- They don't always pan out.

      d- They are really hard to get (especially legally).

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    5. I'm not going to argue this because this really isn't even in question. The teams with the most NBA talent wins and the most NBA talent is in the top of every recruiting class. Of course getting top 25 talent isn't a guarantee of success, but it's a helluva better than not getting top 25 prospects. Dixon was just on TV as I wrote this and said that you win more with NBA talent. It's not rocket science.

      As for when Young and Blair was signed, I have no idea what your point is. Blair had many major offers when he committed to Pitt and Dixon still got him. Young skyrocketed after committed to Pitt. But both are examples of what I just wrote above. Sometimes, like Blair, you need to beat excellent programs for a kid, and sometimes, like Young, you have to be able to evaluate better.

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    6. I think you made an excellent point in the article, Chris. When Jamie has talent, he can go far. When he doesn't have much talent, he still gets pretty good results. But, he doesn't seem to try hard enough or doesn't have a good enough plan to land consistently strong recruiting classes. Whether Sam or Blair were Top 25 or Top 40 really doesn't matter, they both performed like studs - Blair immediately, and Sam after shaking his nagging health issues. Jamie and staff seem to have lost that knack for finding the gems lately. By that, I mean the guys who outperform their HS rankings. Some coaches find a couple of those guys every year. Lately, Jamie has not found many of them and it shows in the overall talent on the roster. Not counting the inbound recruits, Adams and Robinson (and maybe Durand) are above average talents. I don't think anyone else on the roster is proving to be much more than serviceable as a college player. There are middle of the pack A10 schools with more quickness and athletic ability than Pitt. They also will have more overall talent than Pitt once Adam leaves next year, unless the incoming recruits outperform projections. That should not be.

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    7. In all fairness what is being left out here is that JD doesn't have assistants with connections to talent hotbeds that he used to have. All of the talent that Pitt pulled out of NYC came through Rohrssen and Orlando Antigua, whose younger brother that was a manager for Pitt BB back in the 90's ended up becoming a private school coach in NYC. Trust me, it's no mistake that Calipari has Antigua on his staff, he's become a top recruiter, all Calipari does is close which isn't that tough at Kentucky but wasn't as easy in Memphis.

      JD can tell his assistants what he's looking for every year, but they have to be the talent evaluators that find these kids, develop the relationship and basically make closing for JD a formality. If you can recall, when Pat Skerry left Pitt for a head coaching job, Khem Birch was ready to pull the plug on his commitment then. JD kept him at Pitt, which he probably ended up regretting, but that reinforces how the process works. These kids aren't going to Pitt to play for JD, they go because of the relationship they have with the assistant. Pitt's assistants aren't much right now, which explains the lack of talent.

      Mike W.

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    8. As my son was on Central Cath in the summer league with Schenley, I saw Blair play a ton, and I didn't trust his knees. Orlando Antigua, who I watched some games with, had no doubt that Blair would be a star. And I thought I knew basketball, yet I didn't quite see it. So, the comments regarding player evaluation are dead on. Finding the bruisers like Lett & Chevy & Blair & Tate, the all-around contributors like Jaron Brown, and, heck, we all know we need shooters. I think even Jamie Dixon knows that now. Finally, Ben Howland developed momentum for this program by bringing in quality kids. If you all remember, he cut two starters from Willard's squad in his first year to begin his effort to clean up and re-build the program with not only quality players, but quality kids. There's a nucleus at Pitt as the writer suggests - but we need help fast. If the O runs through Adams, then he has to have shooters to kick to.

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    9. The roster all falls on Jamie, and he gets paid handsomely for it - even moreso now, apparently. We can't lay mediocre recruiting at the feet of the assistants as though the HC is an innocent bystander. Jamie is the guy who hires them. If they can't spot and recruit talent to Pitt, then they need to be replaced by guys who can do that. And, if Jamie doesn't see their shortcomings, then he must not be able to spot and recruit talent, either. If that is the case, they need more than new assistants.

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  7. People seem to forget that the two one seed teams that lost in the tournament did not lose because of scoring. Pitt almost shot 50% from the field and lost in that game against Nova and Sam Young had 28 points. Against Butler they scored 40 points in the second half and Gilbert Brown had 24. Having a go-to guy was the main issue this year. When Woodall is your go-to guy, you are not a good team.

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    1. Woodall was the 6th man for Hurley's St. Anthony national championship team.

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  8. In order to recruit better... Pitt needs to be attractive.
    The Dixon system is not attractive... therefore, Dixon can't land recruits.
    It's a vicious cycle.
    If Dixon loosens up the reigns... lets them play... he will get the players.

    Dixon also needs to hire some ACE recruiters... AAU background.. from the HOOP Group... Rice and Toole both got their starts at the Hoop Group. Hoop Group is connected to every AAU program from DC to MA... and then some.
    Howland got the 2nd highest recruiting class in the nation last year because he hired a West Coast AAU guy that has ties all over the country!!
    That is where recruiting is... AAU programs.
    Also, players coming from Prep/Catholic/private schools... you don't see them coming out of Public high schools anymore.

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    1. I know Pitt fans like to say that players don't want to come to Pitt because of their style, and it's just not true. Most teams play more like Pitt than Florida Gulf Coast. No program is more boring than Georgetown. The last I looked they had a possible player of the year. Almost every great program plays like Pitt. They just look better doing it because they have better players.

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    2. You are exactly right, Joe D. Dixon's approach to coaching and recruiting seems to be straight out of the Bob Knight 1980's playbook. Well, sorry, Jamie but that doesn't cut it any more. The best recruits won't consider Pitt because Pitt plays ugly basketball in which you will never see the court unless you meet some standard on defense that only the coach seems to understand. They watch Pitt's plodding offense that slowly moves the ball back and forth for the first 25 seconds of every possession. They see the continued lack of a fast break game. In short, they see noting that they are used to and enjoy from their AAU experience. But, when they look to other schools, they see exactly the brand of basketball that appeals to them, which is everything Jamie hates. But, the players get to decide where they will play, not Jamie. He is losing out because young kids find his style slow and boring. Unless and until he stops being so stubbornly attached to his old school ways, Pitt will never make Elite 8 runs in the future.

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  9. Chris,

    What are the honest chances that Barton is "let go" or told to get on with his life's work soon? Does Jamie even recognize this guy has done nothing so far? One would think the evidence is right in his face.

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  10. Bowling Green PantherMarch 25, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    One of the best write-ups on the strengths and weaknesses of this program that I have seen. Personally, I'm hoping the last 2-3 classes are a sign of the future.

    Wright & D Johnson.
    Robinnson, Adams and C. Jones
    Newkirk, Young & ....

    Those classes there seem to have more quickness, athelticism and offensive talent than the previous 2 or 3. Thos classes killed us. Dixon seems to have realized his mistake in not getting more ball handlers. Now we have a big hole at at the 4 & 5. Just 3 players at those 2 positions (not including Moore).

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    1. It's a lot easier to sell Pitt to better players when these kids know they're going to be playing in the ACC and not a watered down on life support Big East. If you've noticed, the bad recruiting classes and losses of top assistants started happening when it appeared that Pitt was in a league that was about to implode. Since they announced they were going to the ACC, Pitt has landed Adams (although that was all JD in NZ), Robinson out of Dematha (Pitt could never get kids from there), Young (5 star) and Newkirk (NC, never could get kids there either).

      The program hasn't been a tough sell, but they used to have to go after kids from the inner city, they do not have to do that now and I think you'll see better talent coming in.

      Mike W.

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    2. Jamie found Adams before the ACC decision, I believe. If not, I stand corrected and you make a good point.

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    3. Adams didn't even know what the Big East or the ACC was.

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  11. Chris - a well reasoned and meticulously thought out and researched explanaiton of the state of Pitt Basketball.

    Sometimes though, when a situation drags out as long as Pitt's has (not playing well in the NCAA's and BET) a coach may subconciously not want to recruit top players because if he does, and then he fails, there is no net under him. When he wins, he's a hero/great coach to have won with mediocre talent!

    Not saying that Jamie is one of those but the situation has gone on for far to long for it to be a mere accident. I see this all the time evaluating sales reps and managers.

    I have just been as angry and upset as any other Pitt Alum and Fan over this years WSU loss and the reaction of Pitt to give a 10 year extension. If I am correct on my assumption and Jamie is one of those kinds of non-risk takers, Pitt has just massively rewarded him for his approach and said to him...keep doing the same.

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  12. Chris, who is out there that you would bring in now as assistant coaches that are good recruiters? That Pitt has a legitimate chance at

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  13. Count me among the minority I guess because I'm happy with a coach who doesn't want to get his "hands dirty." Let the train wrecks go elsewhere. It is still COLLEGE basketball.

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    1. It's not getting his hands dirty as in doing anything immoral. I'm talking about having to play the game with power hungry AAU coaches and obnoxious family members.

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    2. Exactly, Chris. Not getting his hands dirty equates to not performing a huge portion of his job in a way that he knows will provide the best results. I don't know how many of us get to say to our bosses, "I realize that personal contact stuff is key to our business, boss, but I just don't like kissing up to people. You're just going to have to live with my shortcomings in that area because I'm not changing." I know I don't have that luxury. Jamie apparently does.

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    3. That's not entirely true. JD had to deal with the Khem Birch posse BS after Skerry left, and would have had to do it anyway. He will do that, but he doesn't seem to really have patience with that and I don't blame him.

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    4. But is it is a CORE requirement of the job, whether any of us like it or not. In order to be a top closer or recruiter, or whatever you want to call it, you have to be very good at connecting with these kids. And, unfortunately, today that means more than just developing a rapport with the kid himself. It means managing the family & AAU aspect. Like it or not, that is a big component of why he gets gigantic paychecks and he knows it. No one should say it is ok for him to not have patience with it. He is the final say on any scholarship offer, even if the key contact was the asst. coach. Khem Birch not being a fit for Pitt is Jamie's fault. He ok'd it. Mistakes happen, and I'm not saying that doesn't happen from time to time. I'm just saying it is his responsibility, and I think he would be the first to agree.

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  14. Dokes, great assessment on the state of Pitt baketball. I heard some discussions on the radio today that JD appears to have a game plan in place and rarely adjusts as the game progresses. Another comment was his apparent lack of communication with the players as game unfolds. Watch other coaches as the player comes off the court they are communicating all the way to the bench. JD doesn't do that.

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  15. Dixon will make the forward recruit a center and ruin him like he did Taylor and is doing to Moore. Chris you really hit the nail when you said Dixon does not know what to do with athletes

    ReplyDelete
  16. Dixon will make the forward recruit a center and ruin him like he did Taylor and is doing to Moore. Chris you really hit the nail when you said Dixon does not know what to do with athletes

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  17. I think Jamie Dixon wants his program to be like Michigan State, which is a great program to aim for. Tough-nosed, physical, etc. To be honest, I don't think Jamie is that far below Tom Izzo as a coach overall. The main different is the players they both have. Michigan State gets impact players and puts a lot of them into the NBA. Pitt doesn't.

    Bottom line with the recruiting question with Dixon to me is this: 3 NBA players in 10 years. One of those was 10 yards away from campus and one was a seven footer.

    Recruiting talent has always been an issue with Dixon. You have brought up some good points Chris. My question is why he can't ever seem to find that true "diamond in the rough" that wasn't highly ranked but turns into a true star. Perhaps you can say Gray was that, but he was seven foot. Maybe Wannamaker. Who else? Am I missing someone?

    If Pitt is going to improve, I think Dixon must focus on quickness and shooting. Those are the two qualities this program is missing most IMO. Even the athletic players we have (Moore, Wright) can't really break a defense down. Until he gets and hits on a few of these type of players, I think we will keep bumping our head into the ceiling we are at right now.

    Mac

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Problem is that all 3 NBA players from Pitt are career backups.

      Delete
  18. The coach he tries to follow is the same coach that Howland tries to follow and that's Rick Majerus. Howland and Majerus both went to the championship game. But both were loaded with NBA players when they did.

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  19. Just a fabulous piece on Dixon Chris......complete and right on the money.

    On your comment about Dixon not being a closer, I used to be in direct sales and I've said often times that Dixon couldn't sell ice water in the Sahara Desert. He mumbles when he talks....he doesn't make eye contact and during his press conferences he stares down at the table....even after wins. He's introverted, and people like that hate direct sales where you have to go for the close.

    Now Dave Wannstedt is a guy I would hire in a minute if I was running a sales office. He's articulate and exciting because he was excited about the product he was selling....Pitt University.

    So Dixon needs to hire an assistant who knows players and Pitt's needs, hopefully has a pipeline to a good area and can sell the program and the University. Dixon will never be a good recruiter....he isn't cut out for it....that I wish he would stop trying to pound a square peg into a round hole playing guys out of position. He for some reason thinks this is one of his strong suits.

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    Replies
    1. Did you watch Dixon in the studio this past weekend? He definitely can communicate with the best of them. Dixon was an actor in his youth and his comfort in the studio and in front of the camera was evident. Most of his press conferences are quite good I think.

      Delete
    2. I think it is oversimplification to say Dixon is introverted. He interacts with these kids several hours a day, every day for most of the year. He brings in a few new ones every year and develops a rapport with them. He may not be John Calipari in that regard, and he obviously is not a great closer. But, saying he is introverted is a bit of a stretch.

      Delete
    3. DoNotPassGo, DoNotCollect the NaismithMarch 26, 2013 at 10:15 PM

      Seth Davis was looking at JD on the set and said " I wish coaches would let player's play and have fun" like they do at FGCU. It was actually awkward for a minute if you watch closely. JD was looking like "what did he just say"? Is he mockin me? Priceless, but actually true.

      You have to go up tempo across the board and have fun. Buckle down on defense in the 1/2 court, but run and full court press until you possess the ball.

      Delete
    4. Seth Davis is a weasel. He's a typical network guy who sucks up to the power coaches, and plays tough guy with cheap shots at the other coaches when he thinks he can get away with it.

      Delete
  20. Dixon is not going to change. He has the job security and the money to tune out criticism. Sorry, I've tuned out a greater share of Pitt basketball now because Dixon's pattern is set. Local writers ran to praise the extension, but, overall, it looks pretty inane. You say there's pressure on him. Sorry, Chris, there is no pressure whatsoever.

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  21. Chris,

    This was an excellent piece on the program. I love the comprehensive review of the positives and negatives facing the program and the changes that Dixon needs to make. My question is that do you think Dixon sees the issues and is willing to change? Most writers talk about how Dixon is notoriously stubborn. My biggest fear is that Dixon has the ability to take the program to the next level, but doesn't because he refuses to change. I really don't see him going after those top guys and getting his hands dirts with Duke, UNC, Kansas, Cuse, etc.

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  22. Chris, do you think he will make changes on his staff this year? Have you heard any rumors to that?

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  23. Great article.

    Dixon caught some bad luck with some local players. If Pope wasn't a head case he would have been playing with Blair and Young on the 2008-09 frontcourt. Zeke Marshall would have been redshirted and been an asset to Dixon’s program. Blair's high school teammate, Kennedy, went to St. John's also would have helped, but wanted out of Pittsburgh then wanted to go to Pitt but there wasn't a seat left at the table.

    Barton will stick around one more season. He'll show his worth in the 2014 class. Some good players hail from Barton's area - New England. If Bill swings and misses then he definitely needs to go. Sandle and Knight are going nowhere. Heck, Pitt can't even catch a break with Sandle. An example is Sandle is good friends with someone who has a kid who is a lights out. Nope, not even that kind of situation has come up.

    I’m pretty excited about Young and Newkirk and hope two JuCos can be added to the two spot and as a backup to Steve. The 2014 class will be huge for the program. Likely five scholarships to give and those players will be meshing with Robinson, D. Johnson, Newkirk, Cam Wright, C. Jones and the two possible players Dixon adds in 2013.

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  24. What big men are we looking at to finish this recruiting class?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No JuCo names have really emerged publically. I think when the staff inks that guy it will be news to everyone.

      Delete
    2. I have a friend who is a Marquette grad. He says they have 3 or 4 incoming 4-star stud recruits, plus a JUCO All American transfer on the way. Maybe he's exaggerating, maybe not. But, can anyone tell me how Marquette should consistently get better athletes than Pitt? At a minimum, the 2 schools should be on equal footing. Pitt's recruiting over the last 10 years reflects a Top 40 program, but their overall results say Top 20 program. If they recruit better, they can contend for ACC Championships most years. I have no faith that they will do that.

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    3. Under Buzz Williams, Marquette has made a living off JUCO kids and typically do not get a lot of highly ranked high school kids. Your friend is giving you a load of BS.

      Delete
  25. Anyone can tell Jamie is as stubborn as they come. This doesn't mean he isn't a good coach or a good guy. He is both. It just means he will never be considered a great coach and that Pitt will remain in the good program that it is.

    This can be seen in any press conference or interview that he does. When questioned about his team's postseason struggles he always has throw a qualifier in there. It's usually something about how Pitt has been very good in the Big East for a long time, the records they've set, etc. It's maddening. The guys on 93.7 even noticed it and pointed it out yesterday.

    I am afraid that the ACC will not be as kind as the Big East has been, unless Pitt can find the scorers that Chris refers to in his write-up.

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  26. The 2 remaining scholarships for next year should have been secured long ago, if the goal was to get Top 50-75 talent. Now, they have to get extremely lucky on a guy everyone missed on. There may be a few gems left, but no one that will be able to spell Adams immediately. Those big guys are long gone.

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  27. For the 'Fire Dixon' crowd:

    Watch how everything plays out in Minnesota.

    Don't think it will be pretty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What about the "why extend him for 5 extra years when there was no pressing need to do so" crowd? He wasn't going anywhere. He pretty much said as much. He played Pitt perfectly. Got everything he wanted. Now, he can't be fired. He is basically immune to criticism. Do you think they got any commitment from him that he would make changes - hire better assistants, stress more offensive and less defense, maybe run fast breaks occasionally, find someone who can stroke 3's in the context of an offense, develop a plan to secure more athletic recruits? I don't think they got anything. They operated out of fear. Minnesota is willing to take their chances that they can improve upon Tubby. Maybe they will, maybe they won't. But, they sure as hell were not threatening the top of the Big Ten consistently headed toward the future. That wasn't good enough for them, and they are willing to take a chance for something better. Pitt should have at least pushed Jamie a bit out of his comfort zone.

      Delete
    2. Dixon did not get extended 10 years or even 5 years -- that's a fake contract. He got a raise and a press release with alterations in the cost of any buyout. As for the rest, you don't know what was discussed behind closed doors.

      Although an inside source told me his contract gets voided unless he runs at least one fast-break per game.

      Here is how Minnesota will play out: 1) They will contact a bunch of A-list coaches. 2) Those A-list coaches will hang up the phone and laugh hysterically, but use MN's interest to get raises -- after all who wants to go to a place that fired a NC HC who cleaned up a weak, scandal-ridden program. (the AP listed Shaka Smart, Buzz Williams and Jay Wright as "targets" -- that's better comedy than anything on The Daily Show) 3) MN hires a mid-najor coach.

      They might get lucky, but for every Larranaga there are at least 10 Ralph Willards out there.

      It's easy to complain about Dixon, but what's behind door #2 is likely to be a lot worse.

      Delete
    3. First of all, I did not say I know what was said to Jamie. I asked if anyone thought he agreed to make changes, because if he didn't he does not have to going forward. Whether you think so or not, he just gained a whole lot of power at Pitt and it is at least worth questioning whether their recent performance earned him more power. I said I doubt he agreed to any changes, simply because it appears the minute he mentioned the possibility of leaving for USC, they sprung into action and extended his contract and (we assume) gave him more money. Pederson seems to have acted like a jilted HS cheerleader afraid that the star QB was going to start dating a cheerleader from the school at the next town over.

      As for changing coaches at MN, I agree that they could come out worse. All I am saying is they are pretty sure at this stage Tubby was not going to take them to a Final 4, and they are testing the waters. You are right that they won't get a big name up and coming "can't miss" coach at MN. But, maybe they think they can find the next Brad Stevens or Shaka Smart. It is a risky strategy by the Gophers, but at least they are not accepting mediocrity. They could be set back by this, but they are taking their shot. Pitt chose the status quo, and I'm not even saying that was a bad decision. I'm simply saying anyone should recognize Jamie needs to adjust some things, and his bosses (or, his friends as he calls them) should have required that before rewarding him with more security and more $$. We don't know whether they did or not.

      Delete
  28. Chris:

    At one point, you started to compare the potential of Adams and
    Robinson to Blair and Fields. And it looked like you were going to favorably compare the potential of Mike Young to Sam. But then you did a 180 and instead said that's the bugaboo that has plagued Jamie all along. Could you explain this a little more?

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  29. Chris: thanks again for some great writing about Pitt basketball under Coach Dixon. This time next November we will be very excited about Pitt basketball and the Duke, North Carolina and Miami teams coming to the Pete. I think some of the posters are really imposters and would like to see the demise of Pitt basketball and Jamie. The facts are that Pitt has a great coach, great facilites, passionate fans and some pretty good talent. If some of the people were in other parts of the land the coaches at Gonzaga, Butler, VCU,etc would be gone since they haven't won the golden ring either. Sure they haven't gotten futher than Pitt but like Coach Howland they don;t have the ring. Let's relax and quite sniping so much!! H2P

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  30. I take major issue with your, "Dixon can flat out coach" statement and other remarks lauding Dixon's coaching ability. You omit that Dixon has taken 11 teams to the NCAAs since his arrival 12 years ago and has never defeated a higher ranked opponent, and, with a couple exceptions, lost to lower seed teams every time. Observers note that Dixon has limited Xs & Os capabilities and is a mess with in-game adjustments. No opposing coach is afraid of Pitt's offense and most have observed that Pitt only brings a predicable hard defense, grind out style that works well in the Big East, but will be very exposed in the ACC. Like the Mike Gottfried "lifetime contract" Pitt reportedly is still paying its former football coach, Pitt will regret the 10 year deal given to Dixon to avoid him flirting with Pac 12 jobs.

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  31. First off, very impressive and well articulated article. I never considered some of the points you are making in your article.

    I will try to touch on some things that haven't already been said.

    Like most other schools, when you recruit better, you are a better basketball team, and will go further. I am mostly upset and what seems like complacency when it comes to Dixon, and some very frustrating trends that have been going on for years on the court.

    They have to get out and try to score. You can't win games in the 50s all year, and struggle to score as badly as these past few Pitt teams have. Which teams lose every year every in the tournament - Pitt, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Wisconsin - the same teams that try to 'slow the game down' and use 30 seconds on the shot clock and win games 58-55. Problem is you can't do that in March.

    And for Dixon to come out and say himself Well you don't get byes to the sweet 16. So he believes he has done a good job in March? He has been to 3 sweet 16s in 10 years, often as the much higher seed. I clearly realize how good a coach Dixon is, and I am not upset he is staying, but he needs to be held more accountable.

    I'm sick of hearing about how bad things were under Willard, guess what, I don't care. We are talking about 15 years ago - we actually have a legit program now, and at some point Dixon needs to be judged on tournament performance and not 20+ regular season wins each season.

    Also, we absolutely need better guard play. Guard play runs March, and we rarely have a good shooter, and certainly have absolutely no one who can penetrate or beat anyone of the dribble. Look at the teams left in the tournament, and you see guards who can beat defenses off the dribble and create for their big men, or create an open outside shot.

    I could go on, this is long now, guess I just needed to vent a little bit.

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  32. Like everyone else I want to see better NBA talent here, but I just finished reading mike decourcey's article where he said earlier departures to the NBA helped do ucla in. it is a slippery slope balancing the elite talent with the everyday workman...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True. Even Coach K said his program was set back about a decade ago when they had several top tier NBA-type talents who all left early. That was around the time of guys like J. Williams. Anyway, his point was that he was going to avoid recruiting multiple "one and dones" at once. Sounds like a good problem to have. But, if you are Coach K, you can just go out and get a bunch of recruits that are close to that ability, but not looking for the NBA payoff immediately. Blair & Young are the kind of talents Pitt wants. Sam stayed for the duration, and still got an NBA shot. DeJuan left after 2 years, but that was out of a fear that his knee issues could bite him if he waited. Adams will stay at least 2 years. As long as you only have 1 or 2 of those guys at any one time, it seems worth it to me. Pitt can only hope to be in the position of having a couple of guys leaving early for the NBA. UCONN and Syracuse seem to have managed it pretty well over the years.

      Delete
  33. 1. Until Moore learns a pull-up jumper - he will continue to struggle offensively.
    2. Wannamaker a similar athlete to Patterson?!? Are you f'n kidding me?
    3. Perpetual disappointment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Moore like everyone else on this teams needs to be more consistent. A pull-up jumper in his game would certainly help but he even struggled with his shooting this year when he was set and wide open.

      I see a similarity between Wannamaker and Patterson in that both have playmaking skills .. the difference is that Wanny was a point 2 and Patterson a point 3. However, like Moore, Patterson needs consistency ... in fact, IMO he was the biggest disappointment this year (maybe my expecttaionswere just too high.)

      Delete
  34. Shell leaving Pitt. Being a Pitt fan means being let down on a consistent basis.

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  35. On the football side, what is up with Shell? Is he gone?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If he has a child (or children) to take care of, wouldn't it stand to reason he would want to get to the pros as quickly as possible? Won't he now have to sit out a year as a result of his transfer? Seems like an odd decision for a father to make.

      Also, I heard that it was because he didn't like the stricter disciplinary rules Chryst is putting in place. If that is the case, good luck in the rest of your college and pro career Rushel. Coaches love players who are opposed to discipline - NOT!

      Delete
  36. Chris - please comment on rumors Shell is looking to transfer. If you are a true insider you'd know.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Shell transferring?? Twitter talking about it. Could be rumor however. PG writer says he was excused from practice yesterday (non-injury related). As a Pitt fan, I am leaning toward this being true because, well, because it's Pitt.

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  38. My posts are usually only on basketball, my first love (with all apologies to my wife of 21 years), and i dont like to post during the work day, but I just heard about this shell siutation and i feel like i have to make a comment.

    As far as I am concerned, collegiate coaches are worth every dime that they are paid, because they have to continually balance these kind of personnel headaches.

    Can you imagine poor coach Chryst getting up today and ready to tackle the day with football activities, and then all of a sudden he has to drop everything to deal with some 18 year old prima donna who has their feelings hurt for some reason and is thinking of running away from it all.

    This kind of immature behavior is exhausting to me as a fan, i can only imagine how it is to coaches who have to deal directly with it...

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    Replies
    1. I agree that it would be frustrating dealing with this stuff on a daily basis. But, it comes with the territory of having the responsibility of managing close to 100, 18-22 year olds. The younger ones, like Shell, are not adults yet. By definition, that means a certain pct. of them will act rashly and immaturely. They won't always see the big picture, and will let their egos drive their actions more than they will in a few years. Someone mentioned that this is a curious decision, if true, on the part of Shell as it means he has to sit out a year, thus delaying his shot at the pros by a year. That is a good point. Maybe he just needs a mature voice to help snap him back to reality and avoid a big mistake. We can only hope so.

      Delete
  39. Regarding rumors of Shell transferring...

    Even with Shell, Pitt was going to see a major drop off at the running back position with the loss of Graham.

    Questionable whether Shell would ever be able to carry the load. Lacks quickness and speed. And doesn’t seem to have the durability or the mentality to resort to being a true power runner.

    However, hope the rumors aren’t true. This Pitt team needs him considering what’s in line behind him.

    PittofDreams

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  40. Man up Shell!! Seriously, Man up!! This kid has major issues and I don't even what the heck is going on being out of town in all. Man up and take responsibility.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Regarding Shell...
    Can I say... told you so...
    Marcus Dupree...
    He didn't put the work in at Hopewell... did whatever he wanted... used the "hurt" excuse to get out of practice.
    Now that Chryst says... no practice.... no playtime...
    lol
    Where are all those naysayers of what I told you to expect from Shell. This clearly opens the doors to McKenzie who I think is a far better back than Shell.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joe D, you weren't 100% right. You also thought Shell was not a top prospect talent-wise and even kept harping that he never attended summer camps to compete against the other blue chippers.

      Fact is that apparently, he is still in popular demand by people whose business it is to evaluate talent ... and not this Western PA psuedo phonomenon that you continually made him out to be a year ago.

      Delete
  42. btw... doubt Shell is going to ASU... Shell's mother slammed Graham when he all up and left...
    She was never keen on Pitt...

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    Replies
    1. She did slam Graham. But, I recall she was also at least part of the driving force behind him staying local. Maybe it was a mother reminding her child of his responsibilities to his children.

      Delete
    2. No she wasn't....
      She wanted him to go to Alabama.... even said so after his announcement which had media, etc. She was interviewed as such.
      I think the game against ole miss told him he is not SEC material.... so perhaps Pac12.

      Delete
    3. Seems like he doesn't want to practice hard. Good for Chryst if he stands up to Shell for that. Rushel will eventually learn the error of his ways, but it might not be in time to get his career on track.

      Delete
  43. If the reports about Shell are true, and he's transferring because he's an immature jerk who won't get in line with Coach Chryst's discipline, I say good riddance.

    While I don't want to lose Shell, if he doesn't like it if someone isn't constantly kissing his ass, and can't handle discipline, then get out.

    This kid needs to grow up, and realize he's not at Hopewell anymore where I'm sure he was coddled and constantly told how great he was. If he's "man" enough to have two kids out of wedlock, then he needs to be man enough to shut up, work hard and prove that he should be the starting running back.

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    Replies
    1. Agree, totally. You either want to play for Pitt and Chryst - or you don't. Be a man and make your mind up already! At some point, you have to take responsibility for your life ... and, in the case of Shell, for the 2 other young lives you have created.

      Delete
  44. Hi Chris, keep up the good work with the blog.

    Can you explain about Pitt knowing that Gilbert was going to transfer? If so then why take him in the first place?

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  45. Let's be honest, if one or both (now Rippy being reported to leave as well) leave, the chances of them being impact/star players at other schools goes down significantly.
    And while I don't know these kids at all, this definitely seems like a maturity/work ethic issue.
    All there is to say about this is you want to play or you don’t. If you want to play, you play by the rules and like everyone else who is part of the team and striving to be the best teammate and player they can be. If you don’t like that you have to work and practice and abide by the rules, then transfer. It’s simple. We don’t need or want bad apples. Hopefully this is all overblown garbage ….or these guys realize what is best for them. If they really think they should leave and go somewhere else cause it won’t be as hard, then that’s up to them and I say “good luck on your journey and btw don’t think about coming back here cause we ain’t takin you back”.

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  46. I recognize Shell isn't the be all and end all of Pitt football, but he was arguably our highest rated recruit in the last 3-4 years and certainly has / had potential to be an NFL caliber back (regardless of what others say about his speed). I honestly feel like Pitt fball and hoops just can't catch a break. Always something going wrong or drama.

    I just don't understand what Shell is thinking. Everything I am hearing is that he wants to leave because Chryst / other coaches are on him about his work ethic / academics and he doesn't like some of his teammates, which makes no sense. You will have to work wherever you go (especially high level D1) if you want to play, and there are always going to be people you don't get along with (if that is the case) on an 85+ person team. He is currently slated to start for the next 2-3 years in an offense that highlights the running back and where he will get 20+ carries a game in the ACC. Transferring means he has to sit out a year, then battle it out for a starting job wherever he ends up, and stay in school presumably for another 2 seasons after re-gaining eligibility. Makes ZERO sense.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it does make sense.
      Shell doesn't have any work ethic... doesn't like to put the work in... I said it many times.
      At Hopewell... he never lifted weights or did any type of conditioning. He didn't want to practice so he said he had a muscle pull.
      Now that worked for football... but not the other sports at Hopewell.
      He was kicked off the basketball team twice... by 2 different head coaches.
      He was kicked off the track team...
      He was kicked off the baseball team..

      Marcus Dupree...

      Delete
  47. Chris, isn't it true if Shell transfers and sits out a year can he immediately then go To the NFL? I'm sure that's all Shell is concerned with $.......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, you have to be out of college for three years. Even if Shell sits out, he will have to play another year.

      Delete
    2. Even if he could get to the pros by sitting out a season, which he can't, could he really think an NFL team is going to give him much of a shot based on 140 carries with a mediocre avg/carry in one year of college? On the other hand, he may want to sit a year, then play a year at the next school and bolt to the NFL with, presumably, less wear and tear on his body than a Montee Ball has from a Chryst RB workload. That definitely seems like a risky plan, if true. No coach at this point thinks he's so good that, after sitting out this year, he will walk into a big-time program and immediately walk on water. He is going to have to earn playing time somewhere else. This transfer seems like a not so thought out move if he does it.

      Delete
  48. JoeD, just think how good he would be if he had the work ethic? Do you think they would put up with this in the pros?

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  49. Oh geez, I looks like JoeD may have hit the nail on the head re Shell. JoeD has been saying for some time that Shell lacked the work ethic. I personally have no idea if he does or does not, all I do is read the blogs like many others. I hope he stays, works hard and becomes an amazing RB for Pitt. he certainly has the talent. HTP!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know he didn't have any work ethic in HS.
      I was hoping he would change...
      but I doubted he would change due to his ego as well as his mother!!
      obviously he didn't change...

      Don't be surprised if Davis twins follow Shell.

      Delete
  50. Joe,

    You are right, I confirmed, he is just lazy trying to get by on his talent but he will see that isn't enough.

    Midwestbias86

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  51. He isn't close to an NFL caliber running back. He could sit out on the moon for two years and not have the speed to be on any roster. He with hard work could be a decent college RB at best. He needs much more quickness, knowledge and experience and reworking his body before he can be a good college back.

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  52. As much as it pains me to say this:
    Joe D is da man...for now.

    Hail to Pitt.

    Hail to Chryst for not putting up with his nonsense, for letting one player slide means letting them all slide

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    Replies
    1. If only Joe D, for once, could be right about something that helps Pitt. He only seems to use his magical powers on things that hurt the program.

      Delete
  53. Terrell Jackson (DT) Redshirt Frosh to transfer.
    That's a surprise to me.
    Pitt is over the 85 scholarship limit by 5... so I suppose he was asked to leave.

    ReplyDelete
  54. So Jackson is transferring...officially. Not good. I thought he was supposed to be a good player. I remember he was a fan favorite by doing the hat trick from under the table on signing day. Thought he was a good talent and from what I remember people thought he could see the field this year. What's with these guys?

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  55. Is it likely that Shell kept in contact with Fraud? The ASU blogs are blowing up welcoming Shell to ASU. This is hard to take.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's no way in hell that Pitt would release him to Arizona State.

      Delete
  56. I don't know if Pitt has a leg to stand on if Shell decides to challenge Pitt's block of ASU. I don't think bad relations between the Universities or Coach will be enough. If Shell really want to go there, he'll get there. If Shell asks for that move, it may be in Pitt's best interest from a PR move to just grant it and move on.

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    Replies
    1. Agreed. Would they really want to be seen as punishing a kid to get back at a jerk coach?

      Delete
    2. No school would let a player go back to the coach who formally recruited him for the school he's leaving. None.

      Delete
    3. I agree with you Dokish. I don't think Pitt would want that to happen but I also don't know if the NCAA would let that be a reason to block the kid. Being on the future schedule or in the same recruiting area makes some sense. Not sure if spite would hold up in an appeal.

      Delete
    4. The NCAA has no say in it. And it has nothing to do with spite. If Shell wants to go to ASU it means he was talking to Pitt's previous coach behind their back and therefore Pitt has every right to block it. Nobody would blame Pitt for it. In fact, they would not respect Pitt if they didn't block it.

      Delete
  57. Can they all out block a transfer to ASU, and prevent him from EVER suiting up there? Seems odd, if they could.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of course they can. And I'd be shocked if they didn't.

      Delete

  58. My guess is that Chryst is not sweating this as much as some would think. While many believed Shell was the next coming of Tony Dorsett, the reality is that was never the case.

    The best Shell could have/can hope to achieve is to become a back along the lines of Maurice Clarett. Close in height, weight and speed or lack thereof.

    Chryst has coached a lot of backs, good ones. He knows what he has or doesn't have in Shel both physically and mentally.

    While Bennett and Crockett look to be the next up and solid contributors. Look for James Connor to make an impact in the fall. Unlike Shell, he looks like someone who would relish the role of being a true power back.

    However, the problem for Pitt will be lack of speed out of the backfield which would have been the case even with Shell.

    Still think we will see Chryst using Boyd out of the backfield on occasion in order to inject some speed into the equation. While having the build of a wide receiver, a pretty thin one at that... Boyd runs like a back.

    Bottom line... all is not lost. Far from it.

    PittofDreams

    ReplyDelete
  59. If Shell wants to go ASU but is blocked, he would have pay his tuition next year (a la Luke Getsy at Akron) and then can accept a schollie. I'm wondering if it is Arizona, and not ASU, that is making a push since the RB coach, Calvin McGee, was RB/OC at Pitt when Shell comitted.

    ReplyDelete
  60. I would be shocked if Shell went to ASU....
    Graham would relish it...
    but it would backfire... reason being... payback.
    Shell's mom even put down Graham for leaving...
    so... Shell would sit the bench for years.

    ReplyDelete

  61. The latest on Shell... a welcome from ASU's current runningback.

    ********

    Damarious Randall @TheRealDRandall

    S/O to @RushelShell for becoming a #sundevil #fearthefork y'all go follow him show em some love ...

    ********

    PittofDreams

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shell hasn't even transferred yet and even if he did, you can't transfer that fast. I have no idea what that kid is smoking at ASU.

      Delete

  62. Correction... Randall is ASU's cornerback. That would make more sense. Doubt if the runningbacks would be too thrilled about it.

    PittofDreams

    ReplyDelete
  63. I've been in town this week..
    word is... Shell and his mom want Chryst and Pitt to kiss there proverbial a$$... just like Hopewell did.
    He is taking time away from football..
    Translation...
    He doesn't want to practice or do workouts... so he gets timeoff!!! are you kidding me... betcha he is back with the team at the end of spring or announces he will transfer at that time.

    I suspect WVU is where he would go... Arizona would be 2nd. I don't see ASU at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joe - while you are in town, go over to Kraetchmar's and get some baked goods - whatever they have for Easter - perhaps paczki....and make the rounds to the palookas homes in Leb and Bethel Park... I will pitch in!

      Delete
    2. There are at least 2 Quips I'll deliver to... lol
      Nice...

      Delete
    3. And throw in a pecan pie or two...

      Delete
  64. Taking time away from football? Why, so he can check out what school he wants to transfer to? It'd be interesting to know the full details of what's going on here, because it seems odd that someone would need time away from football.

    Coach Chryst needs to be careful so as not to appear to be pandering to Shell. Shell needs to be a man about this and decide what he's going to do. He has unnecessarily complicated his life with 2 kids. Now he seems about to complicate it even more.

    All he needs to do is decide if he can live under Coach Chryst's ways, which don't seem all that complicated. Every coach is going to expect him to work hard and practice, so what does he expect to gain from transferring?

    If this guy lacks the discipline, maturity, judgment and wisdom to deal with his life, maybe he needs a stint in the military rather than being a D-1 player.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The 2 kids is an excuse.
      He never liked putting in the work before the kids.
      I actually thought the kids would be a motivator not an excuse.
      Baby momma has a support system in Hopewell so there are NOT any issues.
      Dorsett had a kid his freshman year at Pitt... and didn't have nearly the support system in place. (Anthony Jr.)

      Delete
    2. I guess we really don't know the whole story - at least I don't. So I will try to give the young man the benefit of the doubt until everything comes out. But, it doesn't look as though he will come out of this looking very good as things stand now.

      Delete
  65. Only 1 thing I will ask of Chryst if Shell remains...
    Don't give Shell the #1 jersey...

    ReplyDelete
  66. There are certain coaches who can attract and recruit elite kids. Certainly the status of the program is considered but the coaches personality ultimately seals the deal. I recall a top coach once saying that you don't treat all kids the same. I think this is going to be a problem for PC. Treating all kids the same attracts only averge talent. Top talent requires a different approach. Chris, in your vast experience, I' m sure you've seen coaches reactions to different players. I'm not sure how this will all play out on PCs success.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know if this is the coach you were thinking of, but Jimmy Johnson has famously said that each player must be treated differently. He said, "Why would I treat Michael Irvin and Troy Aikman the same way as some back-up WR or QB - or words to that effect." I'm not saying he was right, only that it was his philosophy to have different rules for different players, and it seemed to be based on their importance to the team. I guess he figured superstars deserved a little more latitude than scrubs. I think he knew a thing or two about building winning teams.

      Delete
  67. Back to hoops....ESPN is running a story about the BE changing their name and ESPN.com obtained a "Big East Work Plan" email that was distributed Wednesday to the 10 schools that will make up the new Big East: Georgetown, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John's, Villanova, Marquette, DePaul, Butler, Xavier and Creighton. The email details that the league needs the old Big East to have a new name before the May 2 NCAA board of directors meeting so the new Big East can be recognized as a full NCAA member with all rights afforded it, including automatic bids to NCAA championships.

    "Should the physical style of play continue to be allowed in the Big East? That is contrary to the direction of the rest of the country and the tournament, and can hurt teams in nonconference play and the NCAAs," the email read.

    http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/9108000/old-big-east-new-name-2

    Looks like Pitt may soon be a dinosaur if they don't change their physical style too......practices will never be the same....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know ... I have noticed a lot of physical play in the tourney, most notably by Wich St which certainly out-physicalled Pitt. Also thought Marquette was more physical than the U.

      It will be interesting to see how the game is called tonight between Duke and Mich St (Dixon inferred on TBS last weekend that Pitt's style of play is modeled after Izzo's style.)

      Delete
    2. There is no question that Pitt seemed to be the first to take "physical play" up a few notches in the Big East. I thought Howland did it as a way to compete with teams that had much more talent than Pitt when he took over. Jamie seemed to embrace that philosophy as well, even though he had access to more talented recruits. The whole Big East adopted that philosophy over the last 5-7 years. It would appear that the new Big East would like to leave that style behind. The question is, will the ACC accept Jamie's style next season? Louisville and Cuse, with more talent than Pitt, can probably adapt away from the physical-first style more easily than Pitt or ND. I, personally, have felt that this style has not benefited Pitt in the NCAA Tourney under Dixon. They seem to always be treated by the refs like a bunch of bullies that need to be controlled at the start of every game. Maybe this did not occur so much this year, as Wich. St. just thumped Pitt.

      Delete
  68. Chris, I've read recently that Walt Harris has been visiting practice on a pretty regular basis. Is this unusual for an ex -coach to top by like this? I thought he was coaching as n assistant t CalU? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A lot of coaches check out how other coaches hold their practices. Since Pitt is the closest big program to him, it's the logical choice for him to attend.

      Delete
  69. By giving Shell "time-off" it indicates two things to me:

    1 - Chryst is catering to a star which is never a good idea.

    2 - He has no choice.

    This will not end well no matter what happens. I'm sorry but Paul Chryst has made a ton of mistakes as a first year coach.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jimmy Johnson said you don't treat every player the same. Shell has twins that he's at least indicated an interest in. That's admirable and responsible. He has a lot more pressure on him than most undergrads. I wouldn't judge too harshly.

      Delete
    2. LOL.... aapm74
      Just an excuse to get out of practice.
      It's not like he goes home every weekend or that babymomma goes to visit at Pitt every weekend... it's only 40min away.
      Shell is chasing other tail at Pitt.

      Delete
    3. Several people have commented that Shell deserves to be treated differently, and that it's admirable that he's trying to look after his children.

      Shell has not earned the right to be treated differently. He's been at Pitt one year, and that year was most notable by his being suspended for the first game. His stats were pedestrian: 641 yds on 141 attempts and 4 TDs. The other pride of Hopewell, Mr. Dorsett, had 1,586 yards his freshman year.

      Maybe after he's been at Pitt a few years, has worked hard and has performed well on the field, should he possibly expect to be cut some slack. However, he's done nothing to expect any slack.

      Tomlin treats the veterans differently than the younger guys because they've proven themselves on the field. The only field Shell has proven himself is on the HS field.

      He also doesn't deserve credit for taking care of his family. That's what you're supposed to do. Also, if the rumors about him wanting to go West are true, that seems like he's running away from the problem instead of taking care of the situation.

      I get the sense this kid's very immature, and is trying to manipulate this situation. He has a lot of growing up to do, and needs to learn a lot of life lessons. The last thing he (and Pitt) need is for him to coddled like he was in HS. Chryst should tell him to get his ass back in practice or we'll be moving on without you.

      Delete
    4. Saying it is "admirable" to be interested in his kids is a joke, right? He has to be more than "interested" legally, if not morally. I have not read or heard anything that said he was trying to be anything but a good father.

      Delete
  70. Watching Syracuse with the smack down against Indiana after Marquette beat Miami. After winessing games like this I am convinced Dixon well get it eventually...
    I watch acc and big th games and think"no way we are in that league of play..." Then I watch games like this and I think "oh yes we are..."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pitt is a national championship caliber program. I think that is very well understood by the basketball community. It's why there is simply a formula Dixon has to crack to put everything in place to win one.

      Delete
    2. Pitt has a national championship caliber program. Something not lost on college basketball insiders. It's why it's more puzzling than indicative of the early tournament exits. Pitt underachieves as a program, not necessarily talent-wise in the NCAA's. The chips will fall Pitt's way someday.

      Delete
    3. Pitt has a Sweet 16 caliber program.....'Cuse won last night with long athletic players who can score.

      Pitt over achieves with the stiffs that Dixon recruits which is a fact to most CBB experts, not the other way around.

      Delete
    4. A big part of the equation has always been right there in front of us, and many posters have touched on it. Jamie is a good coach, but Pitt never has a "go to" guy that takes a game over vs. a top notch opponent at the end. Every team in the Elite 8 had at least one of those guys - or, at least to a larger degree than Pitt had. No one on Pitt can take his man off the dribble at will. No one can get his shot off at will. No one gets to the Final 4 and seals the deal without at least one player capable of imposing his will offensively on the other team.

      Delete
  71. A couple other quick thoughts on that syracuse indiana game.
    The syracuse team played 8 players with the following minutes:

    38, 33, 38, 38,31, 9, 9, 4

    Can we please stop with this ten man rotation nonsense?

    We need to get the best five on the court for the majority of the minutes.

    Also,i noticed that last night and during the season, that Jim Boheim is always calm, cool, and collect on the bench. I cannot help but believe that same calmness from the coach rubs off on the players and helps them relax. Conversely, Jamie Dixon always looks tense and constipated in these games...

    SO overall i think the key to winning in the tournament is to build your roster around 2 or 3 NBA guys, then play your best five or six the majority of the minutes, and try to relax by the coach and players.

    I mean afterall, it is just a game, right? right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree completely, but Pitt doesn't have five best guys....maybe Adams is one, and after that they're all about the same.

      Delete
    2. Have you also noticed that Dixon usually kicks Boheim's ass?

      Delete
    3. Wisconsin always beats Indiana too.....doesn't mean they are better. Some teams just have other teams number.

      Anyway...enjoy 'Cuse in the Elite 8 today...

      Delete
    4. Jamie should be fielding calls this week about how to crack the Syracuse zone.

      Delete
  72. Running backs are a dime a dozen. Pitt's RB's averaged about 4.5 ypc last year behind a less than stellar OL. There are very few Barry Sanders, Adrien Peterson's out there. Pitt will be fine at RB this year if Shell leaves. I would be more worried if Biz or Dorian decided to leave.

    ReplyDelete

  73. Bennett and Crockett have both shown great attitudes in the wake of Shell's absence.

    Bennett is an absolute class act and has been since he arrived on campus.

    To contrast, it would be interesting to know how the team really feels about Shell especially now with what's transpiring.

    PittofDreams

    ReplyDelete
  74. This cody zeller fella for indiana is being projected as a lottery pick this year in the NBA draft. It might be just me, but he did not show me a whole lot more than steven adams did in two games against syracuse this year. here were zellers numbers from last night:

    Min FGM FGA FTM FTA TP Total Rebounds
    37 3 - 11 4 - 6 10 10


    And here are adams numbers from this year against syracuse:

    Game at the Pets
    Min FGM - FGA FTM - FTA TP Total rebounds
    22 4 - 7 0 - 0 8 7


    BIG east Tourament
    Min FGM - FGA FTM - FTA TP Total rebounds
    31 2 - 7 2 - 4 6 7

    Zeller is also a sophomore and adams a freshman.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Doke
    Just read retweet from Antonio graves saying how he now realizes Jamie Dixon system turns his players into systematic robots.

    Instead of bashing his former coach I think mr graves should be sending a thank you card everyday to his former coach for giving a marginal division one player an opportunity for a free education...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are valid criticisms. It is hardly "bashing" a former coach.

      Delete
    2. Valid criticisms from players that actually accomplished something. Graves was a marginal player on his best days, which were few and far between. He should keep his mouth shut when it comes to criticizing his former coach.

      Delete
  76. Pitt and Chryst are in a NO WIN situation regarding Shell.
    1. Shell got his wish... he got out of practice. Something he doesn't like to do.
    2. Shell pulling what he did in Hopewell... do as he wishes.
    How to solve the problem?
    1. Do not give him the #1 jersey number.
    2. Do not give him transfer. Let him go on his own... ala Flacco. Albeit he may get a full ride based upon financial needs. Don't get me started about his mom.
    3. And when or if he shows back up... have him EARN playing time. I like the attitude of Bennett and Crocket. Don't have him start a game and perhaps don't give him playing time until 4th game or so. Tell him he has to beat out Bennett and Crockett and to show me!

    Chryst cannot let Shell rule the roost as he will be a cancer for the rest of the team. How Chryst handles this not only will affect the team this year... but affect recruiting of top recruits.

    However, I want top recruits who put the work in... ala Holtz, Voytik, Bisnowtowy, etc Shell is not in that group... never was.

    ReplyDelete
  77. The number thing is petty.

    Like mother, like son. Serious character issues; in fact too many to see where there is even a shred of optimism.

    I wish I could hear the opinion of Mike Ditka and Mark May. Brutal honesty from REAL men. The time has passed from which to grow up. Please leave so as this Pitt team can evolve without distraction. Boring, but no I in team.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Gorman today in the Trib wrote nice piece about the balance that PC must show in the wake of the Shell situation. Gorman alluded to the fact that it ain't high school anymore. I don't agree with PCs decision to excuse Shell from spring practice. That is showing preferential treatment in itself. Only time will tell but we need Shell and he needs us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We/Pitt doesn't need Shell's attitude or his entitlement issues.

      Delete
  79. Bowling Green PantherMarch 30, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    I don't have any problem with how Chryst has handled this so far.
    Players gets mad and wants to transfer. Ask him to take his time and think about it.

    What Chryst does next is the key.

    Taking the number away is petty. You already gave it to him, taking it away at this point just makes the coach look immature.

    If he returns, he has to earn his playing time/spot.

    If he returns, he returns full tilt or he's gone. You're absolutely right you don't need that attitude. You gave him a chance, if he blows it the Coach comes out looking good. The player doesn't.

    And I agree, if he leaves, no other ACC team, nor PSU, WVU, Arizona or ASU.

    Very similar (but not exact) to Bostick.


    Chryst's only other option was to tell him to hit the bricks when this first surfaced and I don't think that's a precedent you want to start for any player.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hard Work Beats Talent...
      when
      Talent Does NOT Work Hard...

      that describes the situation.

      Delete
  80. Final 4's:

    Greg Marshall -1
    Jamie Dixon - 0

    ReplyDelete
  81. Dixon's style play is going to the final four. So it can happen. It is not as boring afterall when you win.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you saying Witchita St runs a Pitt style offense? What I saw yesterday were guards constantly attacking. I didn't see the need to pass the ball around the perimeter 8 times before they forced up a shot. WSU was not "robots" yesterday.

      So if they do run a Pitt offense they didn't yesterday. The coach adjusted and attacked and dictated the outcome

      dubb

      Delete
    2. Pitt's offense reminds me of the movie "Hoosiers." I can see Jamie on the sidelines counting passes. If a player shoots before the desired number (usually, at least 6) he gets a seat next to Shooter on the bench.

      Delete
  82. Not sure how Shell's tantrum is even remotely similar to Bostick's short departure. Pat Bostick had anxiety issues (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) and had stopped taking his medication. Bostick, upon returning to the team, was a team player; he never complained; and was (and remains) a class act.

    In contrast, Shell was suspended his first game (a wonderful harbinger) and now contemplates a transfer for reasons I surmise as being totally self-centered.

    Bostick was dreadfully over-rated, but would take him over the Shell's of this world any day.

    ReplyDelete
  83. Bowling Green PantherMarch 31, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    Very similar (but not exact) to the way DW dealt with Bostick. Player has (different) issues; coach allows him to leave team to deal with them.

    Bostick comes back and is a class act, working hard, team player.

    Shell? (If he doesn't want to come back as a class act, working hard, team player, Good bye.)

    I'll take good attitude over talent and bad attitude any day.

    ReplyDelete
  84. Wow... Louisville guards don't get tired...
    they have speed and endurance!!
    Just take it to the hoop everytime... shoot or pass off.
    Now them are some guards...
    Louisville putting a whooping on Duke...

    ReplyDelete
  85. I look at Louisville and then I look at Pitt...and then I laugh when people tell me Dixon can make a final 4 and win it all.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Some people here and on other sites are completely delusional. Pitt is so far from running with the FF teams. Yes, they seemingly hav the Cuse's number the last several years. So what? They have more athletes and better scores and more agressive big men. If Pitt has it all figured out and can't beat them at their own game then why does Pitt always watch the Elite 8 and FF and Syracuse actually goes to them ocassionally?

    Look at Michigan and Louisville. Pitt players aren't in the same stratosphere as those teams athletically. Wichita State is very athletic, too. Oh, I know, we almost beat Louisville and Michigan. Both had injured players and Pitt still lost! Where is the column for moral victories?

    Dixon's style can win, theoretically. But you have to have horses and you have to let them run. These good teams have two Blair's and two Sam Youngs. Pitt gets one of each a decade. That's the problem. Get the players and Dixon can coach them to win in his style. But recruiting is sorely missing the last 5 years. If Dixon can't do it himself he needs to get ACs that can. It's killing Pitt right now.

    And a PSA* When someone is speaking they "imply" something. The person listening "infers" a thought from it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Uh, Pitt lost by what, 3 points to Louisville? And they led Michigan for most of that game also.
      Sounds like Pitt was more than able to "run" with those teams.

      Pay attention and look up the facts.

      DePaul runs and presses. How's that working for them?

      Delete
    2. Really? Look past all the evidence of athleticism, outside shooting and ability to beat your man off the dribble being displayed by every Final 4 team - in fact, by most teams after the round of 32 - and focus on one of the worst teams in the country perennially? That's your evidence that running and pressing even a little bit would not be a good thing for Pitt? You really must be joking.

      Pitt hung with those teams, but lost to L'Ville, lost to WSU, lost to MI, and lost the last time they played Syracuse. So, when those teams were gearing up for and making their post-season runs, they all beat Pitt. But, you're right, the relevant point is DePaul tries to run and press but doesn't do it well.

      Delete
    3. HE said Pitt couldn't keep up with those teams.
      He was wrong.
      Pitt beat Syracuse. And was in position to win against Louisville and Michigan.
      Doesn't sound like Pitt was unable to run with those teams.

      And yes, my other point was when people think running and pressing and more offensive tempo is the magic cure-all for Pitt, they obviously don't what they are talking about.

      Delete
  87. You are spot on Lee. Unfortunately we are destine to several more years of occasional wins against top teams and one or maybe two victories in the tournament. The administration has repeatedly made the season the barometer of coaching and not the tournament. JD recently commented that he likes his assistants so I don't see that changing in the near future. I for one believe that the new contract was a little premature. Evaluate the coaching after the first year in the ACC. JD wasn't going anywhere especially not to USC.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I clearly don't know why an extension was given to Dixon.
      If he left, I would hope Pitt can land a top coach..
      However, Stevens and Smart declined UCLA... Alford signed 10yr deal with New Mexico so he wasn't going to come to Pitt.
      Then who??
      So, I can see why Pitt kept Dixon... they figured they can't do better.

      Delete
    2. Jamie is a good coach who has not proven he can get to the Final 4. The only reason to extend him so far out into the future, in my opinion, is after you have had a long conversation with him in which he laid out his plans to tweak his offensive & defensive systems, tweak how he recruits, etc. to the point where his bosses are satisfied with his answers. Jamie is obviously a very good coach, but until someone forces him to address his shortcomings, he may never again progress beyond Pitt's level of the past few years. What are the odds old Steve asked him for any of those things? Hope is not a strategy for success.

      Delete
  88. Announcement

    Effective immediately, Joe D will take over editorial content of Cardiac Hill blog. Therefore, he will not be posting on Pantersprey in the future.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. April Fools

      Delete
    2. They fired me...
      I wrote an article on the comparisons of Marcus Dupree, Rushel Shell, and Tony Dorsett.
      They didn't like it!!

      Delete
    3. Why should they be any different than anyone else?

      Delete
  89. To Joe D:

    Pitt recruit Jester Weah ran the 55-meter dash in 6.38 seconds, good for second all-time in Wisconsin state history.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is effing fast....
      and no fluke because his profile shows in the 6.40 to 6.44 range this indoor season for several 55m races.
      Ranked #21 in the country.
      Weah didn't run track since sophmore year where he did outdoor and was 11.2 in 100m (I believe)... which is fast for a sophmore. He is probably now about 10.8 I would think.

      Delete
  90. Joe you know your track what is that comparable in the 40?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Track time which is FAT are different than combine 40 time and hand time. FAT means the gun is connected to the computer and the rule of thumb is 0.25 sec difference from hand time.

      I think that may be a legit 4.30 in 40yd at a combine. Hard to calculate from a 55m track time.

      Delete