Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The end of Pitt sports is not near

I know the Pitt fans are highly depressed right now, but let's look at the reality.  First the football program because that one really only lost one player.  Granted, Rushel Shell could have been a highly productive player for the program but it was far from the sure thing that people are acting like it is.  Shell was somewhat productive as a freshman, but he was also injury prone, got suspended just as his career started, and didn't take instruction.  I think the chances were just as good that he would have flamed out at Pitt.

On a larger note, this is one player out of 85 scholarship players.  And at a position that is not the end of the world if you lose somebody.  In the NFL, running backs rarely get picked in the first round anymore because they are considered interchangeable.  And the fans agree with that.  But for some reason when it happens to Pitt people go into hysterics.

Look, I'm not naive.  Shell could have run for 1,200 yards this season.  I don't deny that.  But in the last eleven years that Paul Chryst has run an offense, he had at least one running back gain 1,000 yards, including one year when he had two run for over 1,000.  There were eight different running backs in that span, and only one, Steven Jackson, was a first round pick.  And it's not just at Wisconsin either.  At Oregon State, Ken Simonton ran for over 1,000 yards under Chryst, and he was 5'7" and went undrafted.  Other nondescript players include Brian Calhoun, James White, and P.J. Hill, the latter a 2-star player that run for over 1,000 yards three times under Chryst.  Bottom line, running backs under Chryst almost always run for a lot of yards, whether it be Shell, Isaac Bennett, Malcolm Crockett, or James Conner.  Maybe none of the three will run for over 1,200 yards (though it's far from impossible, as history suggests), but together they can still get the job done in a Chryst offense.

As for the rest of the program, I expected Pitt to be around .500 again this year, with or without Shell, but if the 2014 recruiting class comes through, and that is very possible at this point, then the program's future actually looks very bright.  A possible offense that could include Chad Voytik or Travon Chapman at quarterback, Shai McKenzie at running back, Tyler Boyd at wide receiver, and Dorian Johnson, Adam Bisnowaty, Gabe Roberts, Mike Grimm, Alex Bookser, Jared Jones-Smith, J.P. Holtz, and  Scott Orndoff is potentially excellent.  And the Panthers either have those players already or have a legit shot at the rest.

This isn't pie in the sky dreaming. It's all very possible.  Now, if Pitt strikes out big time with these local stars, then it's going to be a problem.  But that's not the case.  If these players do join the program, people will forget about Shell very quickly.

As for basketball, the loss of Steven Adams, or any other of the players Jamie Dixon has lost, would not be devastating.  The problem is, all of them combined has the Panthers in a bind.  But the best thing about basketball is that the rosters are small, and any team can get good in a hurry.

I'm going to dismiss the rumors of any more players leaving because right now that's all it is.  For some reason there are some Pitt fans who love to be miserable so they will start, or repeat, any bad rumor that will make them feel better.  If any more leave then I will address that then, but for now it's all b.s.

Now, look at where Dixon can go for this season and beyond.  One potentially very big answer, in more ways than one, is 6'11" Nigerian juco center Joseph Uchebo.  A former top 100 player, and North Carolina State signee, Uchebo was also pursued by many other big problems, including John Calipari at Kentucky.  Unfortunately for him, he was not from the country and he got bad advice about what he needed to be eligible. If not for that, he would have had many major offers since he his considered a possible NBA player.

Uchebo was forced to go to Chipola JC in Florida, where Pitt often looks for players, and was a great success as a freshman with 12.3 ppg and 12.3 rpg while earning all-conference honors in one of the best junior college conferences in the country.  A knee injury, however, cost him the rest of his time at Chipola.  If he's now healthy, which he should be, he would be quite a nice get for Dixon. One college coach who saw him play told me, "He's very talented.  Definitely worth the risk".  He will visit Pitt in a few weeks.

Then there are players like Jon Severe and Jamel Artis, two players who would help the Panthers.  The competition for Severe is getting tougher and tougher, but the Panthers are a major player.  If Artis gets the grades, he's guaranteed to be a Panther.

But these aren't the only three players that will be available.  There are always others who at this time of year that become available. Sometimes it's because of a coaching change, sometimes a kid simply wants to change his commitment, or sometimes it's a kid who transfers, a fifth year senior with instant eligibility, or a prospect that gets reclassified.  Granted, there won't be a ton of highly talented players that meet any of those requirements, but any that do will have to consider Pitt to be a major option thanks to the ability to see time immediately.

Then let's not forget that Dixon has never had a losing record.  Like him or not, the man wins games- period.  Even if the worse case scenario happens, and Dixon has a losing record this season, it won't be for long.  He's simply too good of a coach.

Many fans love to be depressed for some reason, and a lot of the media are feeding off that hysteria, but the truth is, neither Pitt's football program or basketball program are going to be awful.  Dixon is too good and Chryst is too good.  Even a slight dip this year will be remedied quickly in the coming years.


105 comments:

  1. Regarding football..
    losing Shell does not give them the "thunder and lightening" combo of Shell/Bennett.. so it will be interesting to see what develops over the summer. I don't see Pitt getting any worse or better with his loss.
    Regarding Basketball...
    well... you said with so many openings... they can get better in a hurry... but on the flipside they can also get worse. It's not like Dixon had a few recruits in his pocket like Calipari expecting kids to move on. So, the issue is what "bodies" will Dixon land and how productive will they be. Dixon program is not built on losing 6 of 13 scholarship players in 1 year.

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  2. Those are all big 'IFs.' If Dixon were to get all of those guys than things might not be so bleak. I think Pitt fans get frustrated because they just read on this blog 2 weeks ago how JD isn't a closer and doesn't want to deal with entourages and all that. I don't think any fan is putting Pitt down for losing Adams I think they are upset they get nothing out of him in his one year here. And again, we all just read how JD never got a back-up knowing that Adams could very well leave.

    As far as Shell goes I think most are upset we lost a 4-star local kid. I don't know the story with Shell but for him to leave the perfect situation for him as a player isn't on Pitt. It's on Shell.

    Add in all this happened on or about the same day adds into the frustration.

    dUbb

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    1. I was talking about Dixon not being a closer on 5 star players. He doesn't need 5 star players to win the amount of games he wins every year, as he's proven. As for the "ifs", I only mentioned three players. There are others out there. I can guarantee you that Dixon will add at least two good prospects this year.

      And let's not forget that people wanted the roster drastically changed. Well, here's your chance. It's an opportunity for Dixon to purge out the weakest players, which except for Adams, was the case. And Adams was only going to be there for one more year at the most anyway.

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    2. JD had a back-up. His name was Malcolm Gilbert, and he appeared to be a perfect back-up until Adams was gone. At that point, he was supposed to start for a couple of years. But, he left in a very strange move.

      I hope you are right about at least 2 good prospects coming this year, Chris. That could get them back on solid footing quickly. The center from the FL JUCO that was originally going to NCSU sounds like a great "get." Those things, though, seem too good to be true. They just never seem to materialize for this coach. Also, the hope that he is going to change the roster dramatically sounds enticing, but I'll believe it when I see it.

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  3. Dokes,
    Didn't you say you were never going to mention Shell's name again..
    and to call you on it.. lol

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    1. I meant on twitter. I'm kind of forced to on here because you can't talk Pitt football without mentioning it. At least until Bennett has his first few 100 yard games.

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  4. Doke, there you go again, using analysis, logic, reason & facts to support an opinion. What you should be doing is SCREAMING FROM EMOTIONAL DISTRESS like a typical Pitt fan. Please try to improve next time, will ya?

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  5. You are lying to yourself if you don't think it will be 2 more seasons until Pitt basketball is relevant again. After 2013-14, a lot of guys graduate and the team will be young again. Its a long road back to contending for a final 4. I see it as at least 4 years away. That extension was unwarranted.

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    1. I'm not a Pitt fan. I admit, I mostly come here for some local news, recruiting updates and (recently) a bit of schadenfreude. But I do not get the animosity towards Dixon. The guy just wins and wins and wins. Coach K didn't win his first title for 16 years (11 at Duke). Dean Smith waited 21 years. John Wooden 19 years (16 at UCLA). Jim Boeheim 27 years. John Calipari has only one title in 21 years as a college coach. You see my point.

      Ok, so Dixon doesn't go as deep in the tournament as those guys have historically (or as early in their tenures), but coaches learn. Coaches can get better and you do not want to see this guy coaching somewhere else, because - and this is critical - who are you going to get to replace him? The guy from Bobby Mo who couldn't even get his team into the NCAA tourney? Pitt got lucky when Howland left and Dixon was able to expand on Howland's foundation, but you may not get so lucky again.

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    2. Coaches learn and improve if they're willing to change and learn from their mistakes and even sometimes admit they are wrong.

      I see very little indication that Dixon will do any of the above though right now. I agree though, Pitt will probably never be able to do any better than Dixon.

      Our only hope is that he'll be willing some day to change where he needs to change and to improve in areas he needs to improve....and maybe some day with a veteran team in a good bracket he'll reach a Final Four.

      I don't see him ever winning a NC though.

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    3. I agree with what you are saying, Jackagain. I, too, hope Jamie will change his ways but I doubt it. He is having just enough success, and he now has just enough job security, that if he is as risk-averse as he seems he does not need to change.

      But, who is to say they couldn't do better than Jamie? How did Butler end up with Brad Stevens, and VCU with Shaka Smart? Was Syracuse some national power when Boeheim took over, or UCONN when Calhoun arrived? Great coaches can spring up anywhere. I think, however, Jamie has the ability and smarts to be that elite coach we want. But, he really does need to agree to make some changes and try to take his style at least into the 21st Century.

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  6. I'm definitely more upset to see Adams go than to see Shell go. I had grand visions of watching Adams torture ACC teams next year after putting in the work and time to get better this off season. It's a shame we won't get to see that come to fruition.

    For shell, I honestly just feel bad for him. It can't be easy to be a new father of twins, but want to be a college kid and hang with your friends too....that being said, i don't see how transferring is going to be good for a kid who may not have the very best work ethic already. Plus, at some point in his life he's gonna regret walking out on spending time with his daughters. I find his decision making poor, and I feel bad for him.

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  7. Doke, The blog is great! What do you mean by Coach Dixon always knew Gilbert would transfer?

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    1. Dixon was quoted in the Trib after Gilbert left that he knew Gilbert always wanted to go and play with his brother eventually. He said it himself.

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    2. Coach Dixon: Making dreams come true for kids ... at other schools!

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    3. Wow, just wow.

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    4. He said he new it was a possibility

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    5. If he knew it was a possibility, and since it turned out to be true, I have to assume he knew it was a strong possibility. Now, with Adams leaving, it has put him in a position of having no centers on his roster. Obviously, it was a mistake to take Gilbert in the first place. You don't pin all your hopes at center on 2 kids that are a good bet to leave very early in their careers.

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  8. I am a bit surprised that adams is leaving but not shocked. I am actually looking forward to next bball season and see how JD does. What makes him a great coach is what he does with the little he has. He will have a chance to prove that he is truely a great coach next year.

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    1. But, wouldn't it be nice, just once, to see him succeed with above average talent? Bill Self, Rick Pitino, Thad Matta, etc. seem to be doing quite well with that tactic year after year.

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  9. This is a great article. I'm a wide eyed optimist so I appreciate being brought back down to earth a few times but also like to rise about the sky is falling talk. Dixon will figure it out. Even if Adams and Shell stay I bet we barely even mention Ziegler. He has a small run in the middle of the season including probably his best game against Nova on the road but he was a limited slasher who couldn't shoot the 3 and couldn't make free throws. It also worried me from the start that he not only got a DUI but was in Dixon's dog house for not playing tough D. We were already going to need one of Patterson/Zanna/Moore to do the Gilbert Brown and become a reliable starter next year (yes I'm aware of the flip flop good/bad games of the Gilbert Brown era). It's all going to start with James Robinson anyway. If he takes the typical Dixon leap from Frosh to Soph, it will drastically change the team anyway as he was almost never counted on as a scorer. If Durand Johnson can figure out SOME defense then he can compliment Robinson on a nice drive and kick combo.

    As for Shell, let him leave. You don't let a malcontent get his way bc it sets a bad example. I know Madden was hinting at drug issues but if you read the espn the magazine article on him a few years ago you knew he was immature bc him and his girl broke up on a weekly basis. Is he a big loss? Yes, especially if he was the reason Clement decommitted but Dion Lewis, Brandon Miree(sp), LSH. All were good, not elite college running backs and with Chryst at the helm it won't matter bc as you said teams don't even draft RBs in the first round unless you're a total stud. They'll get by, run for 1,000 yards, get production out of the TEs and lean on their second day WR in street. The future is still bright.

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  10. Just because something happened at Wisconsin, it doesn't mean the same is going to happen here. Especially given the fact that PC was an assistant there, it wasn't his program.

    Some of the Whisky guys who were coaching on the staff just a few years ago

    Barry A......AD.....check

    Brett B......check

    Bob Bostad.....check

    Paul C......check

    Joe Rudolph.....check

    Charlie Partridge......check

    Chris Ashe....check

    Dave Doeran...check

    Devaugh Alexander....check

    Thomas Hammock.....check

    Dave Huxtable......check

    Now, how do those guys compare to the guys we got now. The answer, they don't.

    The defensive hires of PC is going to cost him down the road, some really bad choices.

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    1. Which is exactly why it's important to point out that he was also successful at Oregon State. Or did you just ignore that part?

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    2. The fans, the media and those close to the Badger program considered Chryst the brains of the Wisconsin program. That's why they wanted him back so badly when BB left to go to Arkansas. I know this goes against your Rant, but let's be fair. As Chris pointed out, he was successful at Oregon State too. I am much more comfortable with a recommendation from Barry Alvarez than a Steve Pederson hire any day of the week.

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    3. I never said he wasn't a good assistant. He was, at both schools. It still doesn't mean what happened at Wisconsin is going to happen here. That is my premise.

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    4. When you do it over a long period of time, at two very different places, and places that normally didn't have great offenses, then the jury is in. People can criticize some of Chryst's skills but turning out top offenses, especially great run offenses, is something he has proven that he will always be able to do.

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    5. 21,

      Every great coach starts out as a successful assistant coach. Chryst has been a great assistant for a long time. He's still learning about the other aspects of being a head coach as he goes. Frankly I feel he has made some strides as the season went on. As far as recruiting is concerned, he's off to a much better start with the 2014 class than the 2013 one. I love the way he has handled the players since he's been at Pitt. Give him a break and let's see what he does. He shows promise.

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    6. I'm completely confident that his offenses will be very strong, beginning with a big improvement this year. But, he is not just in charge of the offense now. He is in charge of the whole darn shooting match. Like every assistant turned HC, he needs to prove he can not only coach but manage all aspects of this program. I am cautiously optimistic he can be successful at that.

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  11. I'm not upset at all that Shell is leaving. However I do like to root or cheer for the home town kids!!! I believe like others have mentioned that this will work out just fine for Pitt. At this moment I believe Shell needed Pitt a lot more than Pitt needed Shell. Not to take any thing away from his abilities but its just what Chryst does.

    The Post had an awesome article on Andrew McCutchen. His father left a football scholarship behind to come back and raise his son into an awesome humanbeing. His father did the right thing. In the end it paid off big time!! Shell had all of that right here at Pitt!! His children and his football!! Best of both words.

    There has to be something else to this story. We will find out soon enough. There is more out there, has to be!! Good luck to him and his daughters, and I mean that!!

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  12. Anybody banking on Shell to be a program changer is delusional. He could be a good college back if he did the things needed to do so. Conditioning, class room, playbook assignments and gaining experience by actually practicing and then playing. Now I am not privy to how he was doing on those fronts, but my guess is not much. He will be someone else's reclaimation project.

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    1. Wherever he ends up will be "The Last Chance Saloon" for him - at least, as far as D-1 is concerned. No more do overs for Rushel.

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  13. Doke,

    You think Shell leaving with have any impact on future recruiting in the area? If I were friends or knew Shell and were considering Pitt you better believe I'd be calling him to see why he left. I'd want to know if Chryst or any other coach is difficult to deal with.

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    1. It will have no impact at all. Any kid that wouldn't go to Pitt because they are intimidated by Paul Chryst of all people is not somebody Pitt woud want anyway.

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    2. Agreed. Any kid with half a brain would know Shell brought this on himself. And kids with high character are more likely to appreciate that Coach Chryst expects a top effort from everyone on the team.

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    3. I think shell has more of an influence on local top recruits than we think. Many really look up to him. These are 19 year old kids who listen to their peers especially one like R'S....

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    4. I talk to these kids all the time. They couldn't care less about Shell. They have their own lives. Most of the ones coming up don't even know him personally.

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    5. Anonymous..
      that's funny... Shell has influence of local recruits.
      How many players decided to leave Pitt today to follow Shell? He ain't no Pied Piper.
      Shell isn't even respected by players at Hopewell anymore. Clearly the Quippa kids could careless about him.

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    6. Any recruit that respects or looks up to Shell would look like a fool the minute they mentioned that out loud to anyone.

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    7. The local prospects I know, and I know a number of them, have very little respect for Shell as a person. The effect of his leaving may be more positive for Pitt than most people think. Most of these "elite" kids work very hard and want to be associated with kids who have similar work ethics. Shell never had that type of reputation.

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  14. Thanks for the reality check and the opposite view from the "if it weren't for bad news there'd be no news at all" crowd, which I sometimes find myself in.
    Practically, Adams didn't have a choice. I don't think he's ready for the NBA at all, but he's more than ready to cash million dollar paychecks as we all wish we could.
    Ziegler was a "Hail Mary" pass, hoping that a mid-major accomplished player could translate those talents to the big time. Hail Mary passes seldom are successful.
    Shell is just a terribly sad situation, on both the Pitt and his personal front. Its better to have a 5-star talent on the team, BUT ONLY if they buy into the coach's program. If not, the team is probably not losing much because they wouldn't have gotten much from him anyway. On a personal level, the kid is absoulutely wrong for running away from the responsibility that he has to his family and his twin daughters. Being a Dad is tough, but he is one because of his own immature actions so "buck up" and do the right thing.
    I'm hopeful that Bennett will improve upon his freshman year production with the help of PC's system and a much improved O-line, and Crockett will show why he was considered a good get when he was being recruited. I think one or both of them can be more than capable, and that doesn't even consider the RB from Wisky who PC obviously thought highly of or he wouldn't have brought him onto the team.
    Finally, I'll take my chances that Dixon will find a way to field a team that will represent Pitt well in the ACC season, even if he continues to be pig-headed about building the team in a way that doesn't translate into the post-season. Finding the right mix of unselfish, defensive/rebounding minded, offensively talented players is a really tough thing to find, but when he get them (Blair / Wannamaker / Young / Fields / Brown etc) he's proven to be effective.

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  15. after seeing what happened with rice it gives u a better understanding of how a quality guy like dixon is. i do think dixon needs to be more of a guy that is on the sidelines during the game when it comes to recruiting. dixon is a stand up guy that does not like to get players by throwing stabs at other programs, but make no mistake about it, other programs bash the hex out of dixon--his style, nba players, etc tec. dixon needs to be more aggresive on that end and is my only issue with him. besides that I WOULD RATHER LOSE WITH DIXON IN THE NCAA THAN WIN WITH ANOTHER COACH,----doesn't it almost feel like it has to be with Dixon--they helped get us to big time basketball let him stay for the prize and lets have our own coack k.

    i want hear dick groat on the radio as i watch us get to the final four say--billy it does not get any better than this.

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    1. Rice is an extreme exception. Dixon is a very nice guy. Sometimes he is too nice. The saying is "nice guys finish last". It is still possible for him to be a good player and tenacious recruiter. If he is going to get this program he better learn how to be one. He will not get the players he needs if he sits there and lets other coaches stomp all over his program in front of recruits.
      And the quote about losing with Dixon is the problem with the program and the Dixon apologists. It is getting to be Paterno like worship of Dixon from certain segments of this fan base it is crazy! I want Pitt to win whether it be with Dixon or anyone else.

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    2. The reason for Jamie not consistently getting the top recruits is not because he is afraid to go toe to toe with other programs in recruiting. If he feared those schools, his coaching style would not be based on toughness and physically pounding the big boys. I don't see him apologizing for winning and asking for autographs after beating Calhoun, Wright and Boeheim. I think his personality is tenacious and tough, and Pitt's playing style reflects that. The problem is he values that type of player so much that he prefers them to the athletic, offensive-minded players that lead teams to the Final 4. Pitt needs at least a few of those players on its roster. Since they don't, year after year, Pitt is overmatched from a talent standpoint in the postseason, where Jamie doesn't have time to concoct a plan to counteract the other team's advantages. He has played the Big East teams so many times that he is able to scheme to overcome the deficiencies more often than not during the conference season.

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    3. I really do not get the emphasis on Dixon being a recruiter, because head coaches are not out pounding the pavement looking for players, assistants are. Players develop relationships with the assistant, not the head coach, and that is what really drives their decision process. This is where Pitt has been lacking, and you can see the results in the classes that have been brought in the last few years.

      Mike W.

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    4. The head coach has a bigger say in the recruiting than any assistant, and it's not close. Dixon tells his assistants what he's looking for, the assistants find possible matches, and Dixon then makes the decision. After that, the assistants do the long term schmoozing but it's the head coach who has to close.

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    5. The head coach has to close every single deal, and it is his responsibility to do that. People that give Jamie a pass for this as though it doesn't matter just don't get it. The kids might develop the initial relationship with the assistant, but they know the HC is the one who determines playing time. And, when was the last time you heard a guy get drafted for the NBA and thank the assistant coach without mentioning the HC?

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  16. One & done is not all that is cracked up to be. I would rather have a 4 yr commitment guy

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    1. Sure, but I believe the idea was Adams was a "2 and done" guy who would be dominant in year 2 and lead Pitt to the Final 4. The plan didn't work.

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  17. Rushel Shell has achieved in his short, ill fated career; the distinguished negative Pittsburgh award: JAGOFF

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  18. From a reliable source:
    Shell was facing a year-long suspension. His options were sit for a year in Pittsburgh or do it elsewhere.

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    1. That's a pretty harsh penalty, wonder what he did?

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    2. Don't know... but Madden is touting "hypotheticals" that some football player failed a 3rd drug test and decided to transfer instead of face suspension.
      Madden also touting.... Shell x-teammates are "singing" about Shell!!

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    3. JoeD, I heard Madden the last few days and he is really on Shell big time. Said shell's mother is threatening to sue him for slander. I heard the interview with Cam Saddler. He said Chryst is very fair and very business like. He said its like culture shock for some f the players who are now being held accountable for school, practice, etc. Chryst really does sound like the right person at the right time. I sure hope it works!

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    4. Madden is a baffoon. If he ends up being right this time, it is because of the "blind squirrel finding an acorn" theory.

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  19. Chris,
    Do you think Elijah Carter of Rutgers may look for a transfer out I thought Pitt recruited him late in that season; I also remember him torching us two years in a row I believe.

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  20. The entire front court of Wichita St. was built w/ JUCO's. Those JUCO's man-handled Adams/Taylor/Moore/Zanna. I'd take Early and Hall over those 4 any day.

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    1. Ding, ding, ding! Post of the day. There is gold in them thar hills. You just have to know where to mine for it. The 6'10" kid at the FL JUCO who originally signed with NCSU and played HS with Newkirk sounds like priority #1. Mid-majors have improved their teams like this for years.

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  21. Doke: You are overly optimistic about Dixon's program, but you prove that the program topped out in 2009. With holes all over the roster and the ACC looming, Pitt could repeat 2011-12. You called it a successful season (as you called all of Dixon's seasons) but that squad won 5 league games and only made 20 wins because of its rent-a-win exhibition schedule and the CBI. C'mon, Dixon is not going forward.

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    1. Sounds like you have an agenda. I definitely do not call all of Dixon's season a success. I have been very hard on Dixon at times and didn't even bother to watch that ridiculous CBI garbage. But the truth is, Pitt returns more production then they lose next year and there are at least three VERY good prospects coming in next season. I know some Pitt fans get miserable with all these 20+ win seasons but I hate to break to you. This program is far from dead. That's just the way it is. I think some people out there need reality checks.

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    2. I also get a hoot whenever someone utters the phrase "..the ACC looming...", as if Pitt has been playing in a mid-major hoops conference all this time.

      There are 2 current ACC programs to worry about: Duke and North Carolina. That's it.

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    3. Well, I believe the "ACC looming" refers to the ACC + the Best of the Big East, which is what it will be. Pitt is not going alone. Two of the top 4 teams in the country this year are also coming along (L'Ville with a one year wait), as is ND.

      I think Chris's commentary was on the money and rationally optimistic. Jamie is not perfect, but let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. He usually wins 25 (and sometimes 30), but he isn't perfect. The current roster now needs help fast. Fortunately, 2 studs may already be coming this fall, and some immediate transfer help may plug a hole or 2 as well. All is not doom and gloom. This does not mean that they won't struggle next year, only that it is not a foregone conclusion. Jamie's history suggests he will compete quite well in the new conference.

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  22. Does anyone know about the redshirt freshman Chris Jones I think his name is.. what kind of player is he shooter slasher or slow unathletic dribble the ball off his foot type.

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  23. He's a shooter, a slasher, and athletic.

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    1. From what I saw last summer at Greentree... he is ok. skinny.
      However, last year, there were 2 kids Dixon turned his nose to... Watson from LP who ended up going to Temple 6'10" C and Jeter from BF who ended up going to Vanderbilt 6'7" SF.
      Now I'm not one to say bring in wpial kids but it seems Dixon doesn't want any wpial kids!! These 2 could probably start for Pitt next year.

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    2. And he never, ever dribbles the ball of his foot.

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    3. Maybe Jamie has been talking to the Steelers. They never seem to draft or sign anyone of consequence from Pitt or Pittsburgh. But, then they litter their coaching staff and front office with ex-Yinzers.

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  24. Very good article Chris. Reasonable, level-headed, and thoughtful analysis.

    Losing Shell may hurt a bit in the short-term, but I think in the long run, Chryst and Pitt will be better off. Players who aren't willing to toe the line and whose behavior conflicts with the discipline Chryst is trying to instill, are better off out of the program, even a potential star like Shell.

    And that's really all he was at this point, a potential star. Maybe after he'd established himself at Pitt for a couple years he could've been cut some slack, but right now, he didn't deserve any. All Chryst was trying to do was to get Shell to maximize his potential. It's too bad Shell is too immature to realize that. It's Shell's loss.

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  25. btw... more and more chatter that Shell was going to be suspended again. Not just Madden btw... but folks in Quippa/Hopewell. Reason or duration of suspension is not clear.
    When so many people are saying that.... where there is smoke there is fire.

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  26. I believe in Chryst.

    PittofDreams

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  27. Keep an eye on 6'8" forward Josh Davis. Former NC State player transferred to Tulane and ended this season with 17 points and 10 rebounds a game. He left Tulane to become a graduate transfer and with Pitt having some openings, and in the ACC where he's from, I can see Pitt being interested and I can see him being interested back. .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A True one and done.. lol
      If he is eyeing the NBA... then he will want to go to a place that he will be a starter and get 30minutes.

      Delete
    2. Chris how did he perform at NC St. After the Ziegler experience, can't help but wonder about how performance at Tulane will translate in big time conferences with better talent (especially defensively) and bigger stages.

      Delete
    3. He was only there as a freshman but he played every game and started two. In those games he averaged 8 points and 4 rebounds.

      This season he had 27 points against Georgia Tech, 19 points and 13 rebounds against Nebraska, 18 points and 12 rebounds against Alabama, 13 points and 12 rebounds against Memphis in one game and 21 points and 15 rebounds on the other.

      In other words, the kid is good.

      Delete
    4. Does he just have one year left?

      Delete
  28. Nice piece, Chris.

    I don't know if its human nature or just the nature of Pitt fans, but it seems that folks really want to talk a lot more about what's wrong than what's right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really! I anxiously await Joe D's next post about what the checkout lady at the Hopewell Target said about all the problems with the Shell family. After that, I can't wait to read about all the supposed deadbeats in Steve Adams' family lying in wait to pounce on him and steal his NBA money so they squander it on food and clothes.

      Delete
  29. Question Dokes...
    Aside from Blair, has Dixon ever landed any other Wpial player during his tenure at Pitt whether as HC or AC? I can't think of any.
    Why not??
    I can't say all the players he has been bringing in are superior to some wpial players that went elsewhere.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Blair didn't want Pope on the team, Kennedy's family wanted him out of the city, Pryor chose football, DeAndre Kane had eligibility issues, and they tried to get Marshall but he was "a different kind of cat" as one coach told me. So there was always something keeping them from the better kids in the area.

      Delete
    2. I should be more specific and say that somebody at Pitt at the time told me that Blair didn't want Pope on the team. He was too much trouble. I can't say I know that for sure, but it's obvious that Dixon wasn't sold on brining him in.

      Delete
    3. Pope was a head case...
      interesting is that Blair and Pope were teammates on JOTS AAU.
      But Jeter, Watson, Thorpe, Wilson, players out of Kiski prep, the list is long. Those are names off the top of my head.

      Delete
    4. Those ones weren't considered in Pitt's class.

      Delete
    5. Oh.. I think some were...
      can't tell me what Dixon is bringing in is better.. ie. Jeter got lots of playing time as a frosh at Vandy and did well.

      Is it possible Dixon has a bad taste in his mouth with wpial recruits? Years back, JOTS was the only game in town regarding elite AAU basketball. Dixon and the JOTS fella didn't like each other. The Jots guy steered players away from Pitt and Dixon.
      If I recall, Pope committed to Pitt in 10th grade... then decommitted.. Dixon went after Blair instead. Same with Pryor albeit Pryor went football.
      Jots is no longer around though...

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    6. There's nothing Dixon would love more than to be able to recruit locally. But he just didn't feel like Jeter was a good fit.

      Delete
    7. If Dixon doesn't believe some of these players are not a good fit... then that confirms the label that he can't recruit or doesn't recognize talent or only looks for defenders not offense... ridiculous.

      Delete
    8. Relax. Pitt's fortunes are not going to rise or fall with Sheldon Jeter.

      Delete
    9. Dixon picked Chris Jones instead of Jeter last spring.
      I guess we will be comparing them as time goes on. Dixon also gave scholarship to Zeiglar.
      Jones RS this year...
      Zieglar was 1 and done... ave 15min and 4.4ppg. Assist to turnover ratio was horrific, 49% FT and 44% FG and never shot a 3 all year... and he was a SG.
      Jeter was a 6man at Vandy as a Frosh.. 18min and 5.5ppg.

      So, I'm harping on Dixon recruiting... and now the transferring of recruits.
      So far, Jeter is a better pick than Jones or Zieglar!!

      Delete
    10. If Dixon chose to take Jeter over a former top 50 prospect who had 1,000 points in his first two years people would think he was insane.

      Delete
    11. Jeter would not have played 18 min & averaged 5.5 pts as a true freshman in Jamie's system. And Zeigler would have contributed more somewhere else where the system/coach didn't demand so much of a player's total energy be poured into defense.

      Delete
  30. Has anyone heard anything concrete yet about the rumors surrounding JJ Moore transferring?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That one wouldn't surprise me...
      He wants to play the #3... not the 4...
      I'd rather see Patterson move on... and JJ and Johnson man the 3.

      Delete
    2. No, but I would say it would be the best thing for him and it wouldn't hurt Pitt's chance of success next season. The reasons for both are the same. He is playing out of position, which does neither Moore nor Pitt any good.

      But, it sure looks bad when you show so much confidence in a coach by ponying up more money and long term security, and the team continues to implode around him - as a Moore defection + Adams + Zeigler + Birch + Bond + J Johnson + Gilbert (and I feel like I left someone else out) would seem to indicate. Pitt sure is spending a lot of money buying new uniforms for all the players that are coming and going. Everyone keeps saying more transfers are the new reality. But, this is a bit much. I know he has run some of them off because they couldn't cut it, but that points to a weakness in recruiting. Chalk it up to whatever you want, but this is getting to be a royal mess.

      If the result is that Jamie takes a deeper look at some of his decisions, tactics, etc. and makes necessary adjustments it will have been worth it. If he digs his heels in and becomes even more inflexible, and focuses even more on intangible qualities over physical talent, then things will not get better.

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  31. Looks like this area is fast becoming the Bermuda Triangle of college sports. Pitt’s luck is well…need I say more….WVU sports is in the toilet, and we all know about PSU…..and now this too:

    Top Penn State recruit won’t join team in fall

    http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sports/psu/top-penn-state-recruit-wont-join-team-in-fall-682125/

    ReplyDelete
  32. Excellent read right here. My fellow Pitt fans LOVE to eat their own. Why was Nwanko redshirted? I understand he might have had some d1 offers coming out of high school? Any truth to that? Wishful thinking that a walk-on could give any productive minutes in the front court?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You never know. Brian Brush was sometimes the most productive player on the floor for Pitt.

      Delete
    2. Nwanko (sp)... he is on full academic scholarship...
      he could have gotten athletic scholarship elsewhere but chose Pitt for academics... it was a free ride either way.

      Delete
  33. I have heard from a very reliable source that the reason why Mr. Shell has transferred, was related to conditioning. Seems that PC wanted him to lift weights, and Mr. Shell just wasn't into that. I don't think that lack of character/work ethic will transcend any differently in the Pac 12.

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  34. Chris please comment on if other Pitt hoops players are looking to transfer.

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  35. Here is a thought. We all know that Pitt football is close to if not over the number of scholarships allowed to give out. We also know that Shell had a bad work ethic and that didnt sit will with PC. Does anyone think the coaches may have road him because they really wanted him gone IOT help their recruiting chances with Shai McKenzie? The coaching staff seems to love this kid and it would help being able to tell him that he would be walking into a starting position next year. Just a thought

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe that's far fetched. One) big transfers always look bad. Two) Shai is a great high school running back no doubt, but the entire recruiting Nation knows of him. He's no secret. I would say at this point they have a good of a chance as any to land him but really what are those chances? Way too much to bank on for all that to happen. In my opinion.

      Delete
    2. No..
      In my opinion... the reason Pitt coaches like McKenzie... he puts the work in!! And in my opinion, he is a better all around RB than Shell. He has the size, speed, and strength... and of course, he runs track. ;)
      I don't know of any coach that wants players who doesn't put the work in to improve.
      Hard work beats talent...
      when...
      Talent doesn't work hard!!

      Delete
  36. Goodman BB Transfer list... 1st Edition.

    http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/blog/eye-on-college-basketball/22007798/transfer-list-first-edition

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  37. McKenzie... REALLY GOOD Running back. No Brian Davis. But REALLY REALLY GOOD.

    However, GREATNESS is ahead for him should HE decide to play on the other side of the ball.

    PittofDreams

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't imagine him playing defense but perhaps you know more than I do. He reminds me of Essex Law. Law was probably the greatest running back I have ever seen in high school. Flat out speed in track and with his 6'2 and 220 size in high school he was a force. Shai is identical except without the hieghtdth.

      Delete
    2. Identical to Essex Law, but hopefully better.

      Delete
  38. Was not Jaylen Bond someone that Pitt looked at and decided on Khem Birch? Looks he is transferring from Texas.

    ReplyDelete