Monday, February 17, 2014

The Future of Pitt basketball

Some may consider a useless exercise to look a few years into the future of a college basketball team, but nothing can be further from the truth. Head coaches like Jamie Dixon look into the future so that he can know exactly what kind of player he will need well in advance. There are only a handful of really excellent prospects every year, and because there is such competition for them a coach has to wrap them before others can get their claws into them. Dixon did not do that in the past, but he has started doing that this season and the result is evident. Damon Wilson, a 2015 recruit, and 2016 recruits Maverick Rowan and Mustapha Heron, have already verbally committed to the Panthers. Wilson and Rowan are in the excellent 50-75 range as prospects, and Heron is in the rarified air of 10-20.

And there are three others that Dixon has also targeted. Those big timers are 2015 top 10 prospect Cheick Diallo, as well as 2016 recruits Kassoum Yakwe and Caleb Swanigan, both top 25 prospects.  The '16 prospects are players that Dixon targeted after their sophomore seasons. In fact, all but Heron in this list was at Pitt's opening season festivities. Pitt recruited them hard early, and the result is that they have a really good shot at all of those that have yet to commit.



2014-2015

Guards: 

James Robinson, Jr.
Cameron Wright, Sr.
Josh Newkirk, So.
Chris Jones, So.
Detrick Mostella, Fr. (?)
Kobe Eubanks, Fr. (?)

Both starters, Robinson at the point, and Wright at shooting guard, will be back, as will top reserves Newkirk at the point, and Jones at shooting guard.  There's no reason why all four won't be better. I don't think any of them will be stars next year, or maybe ever. Robinson and Wright play good defense and have a lot of guts and toughness, but they are limited offensively.  Newkirk is blazing fast, but he has to work on some parts of his game. He sometimes plays out of control and his free throw shooting is awful, but he should make a nice jump in production as a sophomore.  Jones can shoot and is a good athlete. A lot of fans just assumed he would eventually be pushed out but he's played well this year when given the chance. His future is bright if he stays around.

Then comes Mostella and Eubanks.  Both may have more raw alent than anybody on the current roster and could push any of the returnees. While the Panthers are trying to land both of them, I think it's safe to say that they won't get both. Hopefully, though, they will get at least one.  The 6'3" Mostella can flat out shoot from anywhere on the floor, but he can also drive, dunk on anybody, and has a good handle.  He's been a handful in his recruitment, to say the least, but if the Panthers can land him he will add much needed instant offense.

Eubanks is a teammate of incoming 2015 guard Damon Wilson, and 6'9" elite center target Cheick Diallo, another '15 prospect, as well as top '16 prospect Kassoum Yakwe.  At 6'5" he has great height, and like Mostella he is a big time scorer who could help immediately with his offense. Landing him could also help land Diallo and maybe even Yakwe.

Mostella is a little older and a little more advanced so he may be more likely to make an immediate impact, but Eubanks is coming on like gangbusters and is probably the more dependable option.


Forwards:

Durand Johnson, Jr.
Michael Young, So.
Jamel Artis, So.
Sheldon Jeter, So.
Ryan Luther, Fr.

Lamar Patterson is gone, which obviously hurts, but the good news, there will be four good young forwards here who could combine to do a very good job.  At small forward, 6'8" Vanderbilt transfer Sheldon Jeter is trying to make the switch from power forward to small forward, and if he does he could be quite a weapon. He has great height for the position, he's athletic, and he can score from anywhere on the floor, but he has to prove that he can defend at the position. He has to be considered the favorite to be the starter. Also in the mix is 6'6" Durand Johnson who was coming on nicely before an injury cost him the rest of the season. He can shoot threes in bunches, and he can drive which he should do more often. If he comes back healthy he will battle Jeter for the starting spot but since he already proved to be a good sixth man he may be better suited there.

At the four, returning starter Young, and just as good Artis, are both back, and should make big strides.  Young has excellent shooting and rebounding potential but he struggled at times as a freshman due to a lack of confidence.  If he can battle those demons he could be a very good player, as soon his sophomore season. He better improve because Artis definitely will. At 6'7" Artis can shoot, rebound, and pass. Sometimes as a freshman he looked like a real man going for a rebound, and unlike Young he doesn't suffer from lack of confidence. If both make the big jump that sophomores usually do then the Panthers will be okay at the four next year.

Luther is a local product, who at 6'8" can shoot and play both forward positions. He may grow to 6'10" which will put him into a higher level of prospect, but unless he really surprises early I suspect that he'll redshirt.


Centers:

Derrick Randall, Sr.
Joseph Uchebo, Jr.
Shaq Doorson, Fr.
Justin Jamison, Jr. (?)
Tyrone Haughton, Jr. (?)

Randall, the transfer Rutgers, has only played about 10 minutes a game this season but he usually plays tough defense and can rebound. His offense is very limited though. He doesn't seem like starter material but may be forced to play more minutes than he ever has next year. Time will tell if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Uchebo had NBA potential before he had a serious injury before coming to Pitt and while he has surprised some by actually seeing some minutes this season, it's obvious that he's not at 100%. He's a wildcard because if he gets healthy he just may be a surprise next season. Of course there's also a chance that if Pitt signs another center he may not be back at all.

Doorson is huge but I've recently been sent tape of him and he has a long way to go.  And I mean long way. He rebounds well because he's big and aggressive, but he has zero offensive skills and he's not a shot blocker. He's a major prospect. So major that if he ever becomes a solid starter, Dixon should immediately be named national coach of the year.

These three major question marks are why the Panthers recently offered two junior college prospects, Jamison and Haughton. I've watched tape on both recently and Haughton is definitely a better player. Jamison is 6'9" and 260 pounds, and a former baseball player. In fact, he's 23 years old. He's a really good athlete and can rebound but he's not dominant. Haughton, however, has potential to help. He is a lengthy 6'9" and 210 pounds with arms that go down to his knees and a sleek athletic built. He would have to put on some weight, and he doesn't have much offensive ability at all, but he's a good rebounder and an exceptional shot blocker. It's that last skill that could help Pitt out next season. Both have two years of eligibility left and both are getting high major offers.

The ideal option may be a graduate transfer here, but if Pitt signs one of the jucos then they'll be over the limit. It will be interesting to see if Dixon has something up his sleeve, but since they just offered the two jucos instead of just recruiting them, I'm guessing that he doesn't.


Bottom line:

With Patterson gone nobody stands out as a star next year, but I'm guessing that the Panthers will roughly be at the same level.  Why? The there starters, and nine returnees in all, should all make improvement. That includes Johnson, whose offense will help. But it gets even better since Jeter could make a major offensive impact, and either Eubanks or Mostella could do the same. If Pitt finds a center, a big if, the Panthers could be even better, but that may take a miracle.



2015-16

Guards:

James Robinson, Sr.
Josh Newkirk, Jr.
Chris Jones, Jr.
Damon Wilson, Fr.
Detrick Mostella, So./Kobe Eubanks, So. (?)

Cameron Wright will be gone, but the offensive potential from this unit is much better than the program has had in quite some time. Robinson will still be running the point, and he still won't be a great offensive threat, but with more offensive players on the floor around him he will do what he does best which is run the offense. Newkirk, if he's still around, will now be a junior, and should be a legitimate plus player in reserve. The veteran duo may not be stars at this point, but there's nothing like a veteran Jamie Dixon point guard. Two veteran Jamie Dixon point guards is extremely beneficial.

At the two, Jones and probably Eubanks, should prove to be an enticing duo due to their 6'6" and 6'5" height, respectively, their topnotch athleticism, and very shooting skills. The very promising Wilson, who is also in the 6'5" or 6'6" range, will be eased in. He can play either guard spots.



Forwards:

Durand Johnson, Sr.
Michael Young, Jr.
Jamel Artis, Jr.
Sheldon Jeter, Jr.
Ryan Luther, RS Fr.

This is the exact same unit as the season before, all one year older, so this could be a very good collection of players. Like the year before, Johnson, Young, Artis, and Jeter will all play a lot. Luther will have to continue to fight for minutes.


Centers:

Joseph Uchebo, Sr..
Shaq Doorson, RS Fr.
Justin Jamison, Sr./Tyrone Haughton, Sr. (?)
Cheick Diallo, Fr. (?)

This position could be very weak again or it could get the player that turns the program into a possible top 10 team. Frankly, it's doubtful that Uchebo will still be around, and that Doorson will be able to help much. If a juco center was landed in the previous class then maybe they can be a solid starter here, but the best option is the 6'9" Diallo.  While skinny, and needing some work offensively, he's an excellent rebounder and shot blocker. We're talking a top 10 prospect here that would make an instant impact. Right now it seems like it could be a battle between Pitt and St. John's, but it's important to note that he's high school teammates with Wilson and Eubanks, so that could prove to be the deciding factor.


Bottom line:

Now we're talking a possible top 10 team, and if Diallo commits we could be talking a possible national championship contender. All teams are more successful with a large group of experienced players, but few coaches get more out of experienced players than Dixon.

Veteran point guard? Check? Veteran backup point guard? Check. Depth? Who can't play in this group?  In fact, it may be hard to find minutes for so many good players. Rebounding? Young, Artis, and if he commits, Diallo, will all be good rebounders at this point, and there will guards at 6'3", 6'5", 6'6", and 6'6". Shooting? Jones, probably Eubanks, Johnson, Young, Artis, Jeter, and even Luther if he can get on the floor could give Pitt their best offensive potential in a long time. Shot blocking? Diallo would be an immediate force in that department.


2016-17:

Guards:

Josh Newkirk, Sr.
Chris Jones, Sr.
Damon Wilson, So.
Detrick Mostella, Jr./Kobe Eubanks, Jr. (?)
Mustapha Heron, Fr.

After four years as the starter Robinson will be gone, but even though he would probably have had a good four year career, he may not be missed because of all of the ridiculous talent behind him.  If Newkirk is still around he would have a shot at starting, but Wilson is enticing as a possible 6'6" point guard, and Heron is an NBA caliber talent that will play a lot, if not start, at one of the guard spots.

If Jones is still around he could be pretty good by the time he's a senior, but if he's not then Eubanks, Wilson, and Heron would be involved at this spot, too. That's a lot of raw talent.


Forwards:

Michael Young, Sr.
Jamel Artis, Sr.
Sheldon Jeter, Sr.
Ryan Luther, So.
Maverick Rowan, Fr.
Kassoum Yakwe, Fr. (?)

I have no idea if Young, Artis, or Jeter will be stars, but at the very last all three should be very good, and having three very good seniors at your forward spots is huge. By this time Luther may be able to move into the rotation, though the 6'6" Rowan can flat out shoot and he could definitely be in the mix. Yakwe is yet another teammate of Diallo, Wilson, and Eubanks, and like them he is an elite recruit. If the Panthers can land him, and they are recruiting him hard right now, he may not play a lot as a freshman, but the combo forward could be starting at the three or the four as a sophomore.


Centers:

Shaq Doorson, So.
Cheick Diallo, So. (?)
Caleb Swanigan, Fr. (?)

Something tells that the Panthers may add another big man here sometime in the next two years because Doorson still probably won't add much, and the Panthers don't want to be caught in a bind by having to play him before he's ready.  If Diallo becomes a Panther, and comes back for his sophomore year, then we are probably talking All-American potential by this point.  If he leaves, the 6'8" 270 pound Swanigan may be the heir apparent. For the Panthers, it would be ideal if Diallo was in the program, and there was a general feeling about whether he would be back for his sophomore season because the Panthers would hate to lose the excellent Swanigan. Swanigan likes Pitt, and Barry Rohrssen, a lot, but he will be highly coveted by the big boys. He will not be coming to Pitt if there's any chance that Diallo will still be around. But if Pitt fails to land Diallo, or if it looks like he will be leaving after his freshman season, then Pitt will have a real chance for the top 25 prospect. But players of this caliber usually commit early so Pitt may be out of the running if Diallo commits. Then if Diallo leaves after his freshman season, Pitt is suddenly without a big time center.


Bottom line:

While it's three years down this road this group also has the potential to be one of the best teams in the country. In fact, this will be the first time that Pitt could potentially have the exact mix they need to win it all. Five seniors, including the three top forwards, would alone make Pitt a possible top 10 team. But this will be the first time that they may match it with the kind of elite young talent that can make a major impact right away. Diallo, if he's there, and Heron, are big time talents that would match amazingly well with Pitt's five seniors. The current team has three top 100 players and no top 50 players. This '16-'17 team could have 6 or 7 top 100 players, including two top 15 prospects.

For the first time, projecting Pitt's future success is not a pipe dream. There are always people who will complain that every year somebody is saying to just wait for the future at Pitt, but this is very different. In the past it involved players generally ranked in the 100-150 range that were projected to get better. But now it's a completely different animal.  Now we are talking about the kind of elite talent that Pitt hasn't had since the best days of Paul Evans. But unlike those teams, these teams will match it with great depth. Experience and elite talent. A fan can't ask much more for that, except maybe for a Final Four, and for the first time in the Ben Howland/Jamie Dixon era, Pitt may actually have the talent to do it.









33 comments:

  1. The incoming players always look great on paper.
    However, unless Dixon tweeks the style of play (pass, pass, pass) it won't really matter who comes to Pitt. Pitt is actually very lucky ACC is having a down year this year otherwise the season would be much worse.
    That said, Pitt has still exceeded my expectations this year.
    Pitt played well against UNC, however, got killed on the inside. Couldn't rebound nor defend inside the paint. Zanna had a terrible game. So much for all that practice on rebounding and defense.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dixon's style is pass, pass, pass because he has players now that can't score, score, score. When he did have some players with offensive skills like Young, Blair, Gibbs, etc., then they did score more. But if Pitt played like everybody else with these players it would be a lot of missed shots and a lot more losses.

      Delete
    2. Great point. That is what makes Dixon such an excellent coach. He sets up his team according to their strength like any great coach. The problem is most Pitt fans think they know more than Dixon.

      Delete
    3. Buc I am shocked that you make such a statement in that last sentence. Everybody knows that any arm chair coach with their vast experience of varisty basketball, oh I mean JV basketball, sorry I mean never have really played on actual basketball team is far more qualified and know more than Jamie Dixon. Just look at the people that bash him on twitter, you know some great athletic directors are looking at these people are just creating the contracts now for them.

      Delete
    4. I know, for one, that I know much more than Coach. But seriously, there is one piece of advice I would pass on ... that he drums into his player that when they are on the left hand side of the basket and about to layin a shot, they do it with their left hand.

      There has been so many shots blocked because they presnet the ball right to the blocker ... it happened 4 times on Saturday.

      Delete
  2. right now, what are the odds that Wilson, heron, rowan end up somewhere other than pitt? I also read that diallo and eubanks are very close to committing to pitt.. will they end up here if they do commit?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1% on Wilson, Heron, and Rowan? And if Diallo and Eubanks committed why wouldn't they end up at Pitt?

      Delete
    2. I don't know, why would any of the tons of recruits that switch schools change their minds?

      Delete
    3. It happens rarely in basketball and usually it's the school that doesn't want the kid anymore. These kids all have a strong connection to Pitt and I see no realistic reason why they would change their mind. The only way is maybe even Rohrssen leaves, which I don't think he will, or if they sign somebody just as good at their position before they get there, which I don't see happening either.

      Delete
  3. So Chris, still think Pitt's a lock for NCAA tournament??

    ReplyDelete
  4. I’m thrilled with the success this program has obtained and maintained. But I have questioned the style of play, the talent and the scheduling. I think they are all intertwined and could be a chicken and egg discussion. Do they play slow because of the roster or is their roster an indication of their style of play? Meaning the top level kids do not want to play in that style. With the caliber of the players mentioned above, the elite 8 team that got up and down the floor and the fact that Dixon is a really good coach, I'm inclined to believe it's the players that determine the style.

    I also think Dixon has scheduled in the past based on his talent and experience. He wants to get wins for the resume but also for their confidence. But I do think high level non conference games are important to building programs (except for Syracuse I suppose). Do you think he will up the ante so to speak with the talent he has coming in? The exempt tournaments are a must and next year they are in a better one (Maui) but I’d also love some home and homes against top notch programs. I realize some/most of these aren’t likely but G’Town, Nova, even St. Johns for recruiting purposes or Kentucky, Florida, etc for national exposure.

    ReplyDelete
  5. im just saying that these kids need to sign and they need to pan out. im not saying they wont. im thrilled with the future of this team. im just disappointed with this current team. they are 20-6, yes and they don't have a bad or even questionable loss, but theyre best win is Stanford and that's disappointing. they only have 1 pure scorer, Durand Johnson, and hes out for the year. they also lack players that can finish games against better competition.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not their best team. Not every team can be a Sweet 16 team. As I pointed out on twitter the other day, Boeheim went 37-31 in the Big East over a four year period that lasted until 2009. That wasn't that long ago. Pitt fans are under the assumption that programs like Syracuse, UConn, Duke, UNC, etc., are always excellent but they're not. They have some down years sometimes. You can't always win 30 games.

      Delete
    2. I like the projections for the 2015-16 team. Only losses (assuming no early defections/transfers/etc) are Wright and Randall. Today's freshman will be juniors and I can't wait to see them develop. Throw in a few of the recruits you mentioned and the sky is the limit. Hail to Pitt !

      Delete
    3. I posted this on another blog recently. I completely agree with you on expectations and results ... note detail on Boeheim.

      =====================
      I like JD and think that he provides excellent stability for the program. Hopefully he will stay for a long time. Yes, I’d like to see better performance in the tournament and a national championship (or two!). However, winning it all is not easy. Look at programs like UK with potentially 5, one-and-done stars as starters. Don’t see them cutting down the nets every year. Why not ?

      To date, our lack of deep success during March Madness probably can be blamed on a combination of coaching mistakes, player mistakes and lesser talent. I’d like to think that the coaching side will only continue to improve with experience and time … same for any player issues.

      Success is not overnight …
      Look at Jim Boeheim at Syracuse .. coaching for 38 years …. 1 national title (2003) and four final fours … his first final four was in 1986-7, his 11th year …. his next was 1995-96, 9 years later … 7 years later (2003) he won it all … 10 years later (last year) he was back in the final four. Interestingly, in between these 10 year spans, seasons were littered with NIT appearances and 1st-2nd round knockouts.

      Correctly or incorrectly, I’d say that Boeheim did all this with better talent than us year in and year out. Easier, perhaps, but still not a slam dunk for even the mighty Orangemen.

      The recent move to the ACC will only help us recruit and I think we will be knocking on the door soon enough.

      Hail to Pitt!

      Delete
  6. Doke,

    Why did it take Dixon so long to realize he had to be aggressive in recruiting these guys? He is in his 11th year as a coach at Pitt. One would think he would have realized at some point in his first decade at Pitt that he had to get after these kids early, before the elite programs came calling.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I don't mean this to sound overly negative, I really am a pitt fan, but I don't see how you can project all these recruits to be this good. Diallo sounds very similar to Khem Birch, same size, same skill set (good defense, developing offense), even the same ranking (bottom half of top 10). Birch wasn't exactly a star from day 1, and even for his new team, he's very good defensively but not exactly setting the world on fire. Same with Adams, a guy who you at first thought pitt was better off without this year. Damon Wilson is ranked in that same 50-75 range as James Robinson, and I don't know what's so exciting about his height, Robinson is 6'4", it sure doesn't seem to help his scoring. Kobe Eubanks isn't in the top 100 on any site I've seen (I've checked rivals, scout, espn, and 247 trying to figure out why you're so high on this guy). Again, I like pitt, I am excited about what these recruits COULD do, but it's a little out there to project them all to be stars when recent players even at Pitt the last couple years have had similar pedigree and not come close.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't project even one player in there to be a star. In fact I said I didn't know if Young, Artis, or Jeter will ever be stars, or that if Robinson will never be a scorer. I said Diallo, if he ends up at Pitt, wouldn't score a lot as a freshman, or that Luther or Doorson will even be a factor for the first few years. I didn't say any of the non-committed players would definitely commit. I even said players like Jones and Newkirk could conceivably leave early if things weren't going their way or they felt they were losing their jobs to younger players.

      As for Wilson's height, he's going to be 6'6" and Robinson is 6'3" so that's a big difference. If you did follow Eubanks like you said you should know that he's considered the best unsigned player out there and one of the best three point shooters in the country. And Diallo is considered a better prospect that Birch, and even if he isn't all I said about Diallo in his first season was that he would make an instant impact, and just like Birch would have, he will because of his shot blocking and rebounding.

      Delete
    2. That's fair. I guess I exaggerated your comments some. That said, it's really really hard to project these recruits that far into the future. I could see a guy like Diallo being great IF he stays more than one year. But a lot of times, unless a one and done is like Carmelo Anthony or Anthony Davis, those guys end up hurting more than they help. They come in for one year, play ok but not great, then just leave you with a hole at the position (see: Steven Adams). Really hoping some of these guards can play, because it seems recently that in trying to get more talented and athletic players, Dixon has managed to get guys who are no better on offense than the old pitt players but just worse on defense. For all my negativity on Eubanks, I'm still hoping they get him haha, because it would be nice to see someone who can shoot. Also, I realize that even if it's really hard to project these guys accurately, it's still fun to do. Nice article overall.

      Delete
    3. Most of the projections aren't even the recruits, it's the players already on the roster. It's really not a leap to say that every player currently on the roster will get better, especially the five players that will be sophomores next season. And it's not a leap to say that two top 15 prospects will make an impact as freshmen. These are pretty safe assumptions and these are the assumptions I made. Now if I said that Luther is going to be an All-American in his second year then that's being way too optimistic. But my basic analysis is that in a few years Pitt could combine good veterans with a few elite prospects who are ready to help right away, and if that's the case then that should create an excellent team. History has shown us that this is the case time and time again.

      Delete
  8. I would predict w/ Young 6'8" Artis 6'7" and Jeter 6'7", that Young plays at least half-time at center next year. He bulks up… he would be perfect in the role.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Young would transfer if he were told to play center. That's not his game.

      Delete
    2. I don't know if he will transfer, but he certainly isn't a center. In fact, he's probably closer to a three then a five. I don't know what's going to happen at five but Dixon is up against here.

      Delete
  9. one thing about pitt next year.. they will be a long and fairy athletic team. the starting lineup of robinson, wright, jeter, young, randall goes 6'3", 6'5", 6'8", 6'8", 6'8". 2 of the first guys off the bench in Johnson and artis go 6'6" and 6'7". they should be great defensively and rebounding-wise again but the problem they almost always have will be there again.. will they be able to score? if they get eubanks or mostella then I think they have a better chance as I expect Durand, jeter, and newkirk to all produce.

    I don't necessarily expect jeter to be a star, but he is a long 6'8" athletic 3 who can shoot. he needs to have a big impact this in 2014

    ReplyDelete
  10. Pitt basketball is alive and well. This current team is probably the second or third worst-team in the Dixon era, and the overall concern is seeding in the NCAA tournament. That in itself suggests excellence. The list of recruits and players above certifies it.

    For those that need to hear it, you need to stop belly-aching because Seth Davis & Co. have called THIS particular Pitt team out. Pitt's lost some tough games this year, with at team that isn't excellent to a man, anywhere. The schedule may seem weak at points, in part, because Pitt isn't the weakling on other schedules.

    And to help set the record straigth, we've been to 11 NCAA tournaments in the last 12 years, and have lost to a Final Four team 6 times (more than half for those who can't do the math). The "typical early exit myth" is just that, a myth. Pitt has lost to good teams, more often than not, in the final moments when the games could have gone either way. And yet, the program hasn't faded. It's as popular with recruits as ever.

    When Pitt hits it right again (can't discount 2009 no matter what), I think it will resemble the 2002 Maryland team, which was built much like outlined above. There will be no Carmelo Anthony or Derrick Rose to "deliver" the program. But there will be a solid, great team, with some NBA talent.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Chris, you would take Eubanks over Mostella because of the 3 other players that have the potential to come with him? I thought Mostella was a solid verbal. Cant we get both. Competition is always good for the team. Why is he a handful - to cocky?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, I wouldn't take Eubanks over Mostella just because who he may bring with him, though that doesn't hurt. I think Mostella is a little better at the moment because he has a better handle, whereas Eubanks is pretty much just a three pointer shooter at this point. He's not as well rounded and is more of a quick offense specialist right now. But Mostella has had grade issues for years and I'm just not sure how long Pitt could keep him. If he is successful at all, he may jump to the NBA, and if he's not he just may not show up someday. Eubanks on the other hand could be a four player.

      And I do think Pitt is trying to get Eubanks so that they can give up on Mostella, for the very reasons I just mentioned. And I would be surprised if Pitt didn't land him. Once they do, I don't know why Mostella would want to sign, too, and if he did then Pitt is suddenly full. And they really should try to find a center somewhere, somehow.

      Delete
  12. Dokish, I like your analysis here. Thank you. I usually don't follow hoops three years out so I appreciate the insight. It would be terrific if Pitt could land a few of those players soon as was suggested by you and others.

    With respect to everyone's complaints about Pitt not advancing in the tournament, the answer is easy. Pitt, because of its talent, is required to play full tilt all the time in order to win in the regular season. Come tournament time, Pitt cannot go to another level. That is just a lack of talent and depth. The best players can turn it up a notch in the post season. We don't have those types of players.

    That said, coaching plays a bigger role at tournament time. It would be awesome for Pitt to come out and full court press a few teams right away. It provides something new to prepare for which may take some of the advantage away against Pitt that they otherwise enjoy. It also gives your team confidence and lets them have fun.

    Pitt is soft offensively and that is why you see so many misses on the 3-5 footers. They need to go to the rack strong and take an arm with em. After a strong dunk or two, the challengers will go away. It's sports psychology.

    How many weeks until spring ball?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Can you please talk a bit more about Uchebo? It has to be somewhat positive that he's getting minutes, even if it's just to keep Zanna and Randall from fouling out of the game. What's best case scenario for him? What do you realistically expect from him? Can he start and compete in the ACC next year if all goes well medically?

    ReplyDelete
  14. longsufferingpittfanFebruary 18, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    Chris,

    If Doorson is really such a long-term project as you seem to believe, why was he offered? With the situation they have at center, wouldn't Pitt have been better trying to find somone who can help sooner rather than later?

    ReplyDelete
  15. If shaq is such a project, why did they take him?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was wondering that myself, why waste the scholarship?

      Delete
  16. Chris, Wonderful analysis. I really think this team can come together for the 2015/2016 season if we get a scorer & a BIG (rebounder, shot blocker). We have the supporting cast. Also,Beside his nice shot, I like that Chris Jones is willing to drive to the hoop unlike J J Moore. Lincoln Park played a team they held scoreless in the 1st quarter & to 27 in the game. How is this helping Rowan develop into an ACC player & how can you evaluate him? I sure hope we can land a couple of these quality recruits that you mention. Thanks again for the info.

    ReplyDelete