Monday, January 27, 2014

Paul Chryst adds second for '15 class

The Panthers have only offered four WPIAL players so far for the 2015 class, and they have already landed two of those four.  Last week Alex Paulina became the first commit for next season. Today Kittanning TE Nick Bowers becomes number two. The 6'4" 240 pound Bowers, like Paulina, is a very good pickup.  He's under the radar at the moment, but he already has the size to go with good speed and athleticism. He also catches everything that comes his way and makes many acrobatic catches.  Bowers played out at the wide receiver position this past season but he projects as a tight end for the Panthers.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Pittsburgh 83 Maryland 79

The Panthers were sloppy, and it clearly wasn't their best game of the season, but any time you win on the road, in conference, in front of over 17,000 fans, then it's a success.  Some other thoughts:

1.  Lamar Patterson is an excellent player.  I don't know how many other ways I can say it, but you have to think that if Pitt finishes in the top 10 this year that he has to be a legitimate national player of the year candidate. Tonight he started slow and still ended up with 28 points on 8-14 shooting from the field and 12-14 on the free throw line.  He also added 7 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals. Incredible.

2.  Talib Zanna also continues to play well with 16 points and 8 rebounds.  His FT shooting at the end of the game was once a gain a problem and he ended going 8-14 from the line.

3.  James Robinson is somebody who lets his emotions get the best of him and he did it again tonight.  He finished with 13 points, but he also had just 2 assists to his 2 turnovers, and he fouled out of the game. But after he did foul out you could see just how much the panthers need him out there.

4.  Cameron Wright was also a little sporadic, but that's what's been expected of him all year. Sometimes he looks great, and sometimes he's a little sloppy.  He finished with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal, but he also was 4-9 from the line, and had 4 turnovers and 4 steals.

5.  Michael Young once again played poorly.  He attempted just one shot and had 2 points. He did have 5 rebounds and a steal at least.

6.  As he's been doing from time to time, Jamel Artis picked up some of the production at power forward.  He had 8 points and 7 rebounds, all in the first half.  He was also 4-4 from the FT line.

7.  Pitt shot a healthy 51% from the field, but they also let Maryland shoot 48.1% from the field.

8.  Pitt started shooting great from the FT line but then it went downhill- fast.  For the night they attempted an incredible 47 free throws but only made 32, for an average of 68.1%.  Zanna and Wright missed 11 FTs between them.

9.  Pitt made just ONE of seven three pointers.

10.  The Panthers out rebounded the Terps 49-32.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pitt Football's 2014 Schedule Announced

August 30- Delaware

September 5- at Boston College (Friday)

September 13- at Florida International

September 20- Iowa

September 27- Akron

October 4- at Virginia

October 16- Virginia Tech (Thursday)

October 25- Georgia Tech

November 1- Duke

November 15- at North Carolina

November 22- Syracuse

November 29- at Miami

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Final Top 10 in PA for Class of 2014

1. Dravon Henry, Aliquippa HS (Aliquippa) CB- Athletic and quick cornerback. Decent cornerback size at 5'11" and 190 pounds.  Didn't wow with the big senior season that many expected but he still was very good.  Could be an All-American caliber corner in college if everything goes right.  Chose WEST VIRGINIA over Pittsburgh, Penn State, Alabama, Wisconsin, Florida State, Ohio State, Michigan, Miami, Nebraska, Virginia Tech, and Washington, among others.

2. Shai McKenzie, Washington HS (Washington) RB- Rock solid 5'11" and 215 pounds, and he also has very good speed. Runs tough through the tackles but he has a little wiggle and game breaking ability, too.  Blew his knee out early in the season but he is a workout warrior who should come back completely healthy. Chose VIRGINIA TECH over the likes of Pittsburgh, Penn State, West Virginia, Florida State, Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Georgia, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.

3. Alex Bookser, Mt. Lebanon HS (Mt. Lebanon) OT- Naturally big at 6'6" and 300 pounds. Moves extremely well for his size and projects as a left tackle.  Also could be an excellent defensive tackle prospect and he was actually better on defense in high school. Chose PITTSBURGH over Penn State, West Virginia, Ohio State, Florida State, Alabama, USC, Georgia, Michigan State, and Wisconsin, among others.

4.  Montae Nicholson, Gateway HS (Monroeville) S/WR- Good length at 6'2" and 200 pounds, plus he is athletic and fast.  While mostly thought of as a safety his lack of physical toughness makes him a better fit at receiver.  Chose MICHIGAN STATE over Pittsburgh, Penn State, West Virginia, Ohio State, Michigan, Florida State, Miami, Oregon, Stanford, and many others.

5. Chase Winovich, Thomas Jefferson HS (Jefferson Hills) LB-  The former safety is tall and lean at 6'4" and 215 pounds, and he needs to put on a lot more weight and muscle, but he can really run and has superb range.  Had a great senior season.  Chose MICHIGAN over Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Florida State, Ohio State, Michigan, State, Virginia Tech, and Missouri, plus others.

6.  K.J. Williams, Liberty HS (Bethlehem) WR- Good 6'2" 190 pound size. Also very fast and athletic.  Great leaper and topnotch hands. For some reason he didn't get the offers that match his high ranking among scouts. Chose SYRACUSE over Pittsburgh, Michigan, Wisconsin, UCLA, Missouri, and some others.

7.  Malik Hooker, New Castle HS (New Castle) S/WR- Former basketball star came out of nowhere early in the recruiting cycle due to his off the charts athleticism and excellent speed. Also an athletically built 6'2" and 185 pounds.  Chose OHIO STATE over Pittsburgh, Penn State, West Virginia, Michigan, Nebraska, Virginia Tech, among others.

8.  Michael Grimm, Bethel Park HS (Bethel Park) OT/OG- A humongous 6'6" 325 pound lineman that has off the charts strength. Naturally big and not fat. Doesn't have the feet to be a left tackle, but moves better than given credit for. In an offense that's right for him, he could be an all-star. Luckily for him he picked the perfect offense for him in PITTSBURGH.  Also received offers from the likes of West Virginia, Wisconsin, Virginia, Arizona, Rutgers, Vanderbilt, Boston College, and Baylor.

9.  Aaron Ruff, Imhotep Institute Charter HS (Philadelphia) OG- His 6'4" 280 pound size will probably limit him to guard, but he's very strong and plays nasty.  A little raw but has a high ceiling.  Decided to stay home to go to TEMPLE instead of taking bigger offers like Michigan State, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin, and Georgia Tech.

10.  Andrew Ford, Cedar Cliff HS (Camp Hill) QB- Threw a lot in high school and put up huge numbers. Was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in the state this year. At 6'3" and 195 pounds he is already solid and he'll gain more weight. Better than average arm. A lefty that is very accurate. Great mobility in the pocket and runs in the 4.6s.  Chose VIRGINIA TECH over Pittsburgh and Temple.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Paul Chryst lands one of the better WPIAL OL in the '15 Class

Pitt got an early jump on the 2015 class as Alex Paulina of Canon McMcMillan HS in Canonsburg, PA has given the Panthers his pledge. The 6'4" 290 pound Paulina is a good enough player that he was all-conference in Quad A, as a freshman, on a winless team. It takes a good player to made all-conference in Quad A to begin with, but under those circumstances, it's pretty incredible.  Paulina is strong and quick, and readers of this blog may notice that I've written about him for a few years now.  I think he can very good. Look for him to be a guard or a center for the Panthers.

Syracuse 59 Pittsburgh 54

There's no such thing as a good loss, but Pitt showed they can play with what is generally considered one of the two best teams in the country.  Some thoughts:

1.  Lamar Patterson struggled in the first half and then, holy moly.  Raining down threes like hellfire, Patterson ended up with 18 pounds, including 4-9 from three.  And three of those threes came in succession just when it looked like Pitt was going to get blown out.

2.  Talib Zanna had another double double, this time going for 12 points and 11 rebounds.

3.  Cameron Wright showed great bounce and hustle for the entire game but he also was a little out of control at times. He had a team high 3 turnovers.  But he did add 9 points and 6 rebounds.

4.  James Robinson started fast but then slowed down. Eventually he was outplayed by Tyler Ennis. For the game he had 6 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal, and just one turnover.

5.  Mike Young continues to struggle offensively in the paint. He's a physically strong player but he's lacking in confidence so much that he's playing weak. He had 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 turnovers.

6.  The Pitt bench was weak with just 1 point on 1-6 shooting.

7.  Pitt shot just 38.3% from the field and uncharacteristically 13-24 from the FT line.  Syracuse shot 51.2% from the field.

8.  Pitt out rebounded the Orange 35-24.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Pittsburgh 81 Georgia Tech 74

Another impressive road win for Pitt. The Panthers looked a little sluggish at times, especially Lamar Patterson, but a road win against a Georgia Tech team that played very hard is a great thing to see. Some thoughts:

1. With Patterson struggling, Talib Zanna and James Robinson picked up the slack and played great.  Zanna had 22 points, including 8-10 from the field, and 9 rebounds. He's also putting to rest any talk that he disappears when the games get tougher as he's now averaging 16.5 ppg and 9.8 rpg in the ACC.

2.  Robinson showed some offense with 16 points on 5-7 shooting from the field, and 5-6 from the line. He also added 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, and just one turnover. That's how you step up.

3.  Patterson struggled a lot at times and finished with 12 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals.  But  he shot just 4-13 from the field and an incredible 7 turnovers.

4.  Cameron Wright started slowly but came up with 14 points and 4 assists.

5.  Michael Young continues to look lost a lot of the times, and he only scored 6 points, but he had 7 rebounds, mostly of the manly variety.

6.  The Panthers shot an impressive 56.9% from the floor and out rebounded Georgia Tech 37-19.

7.  The Pitt bench did not add much with 11 points and 4 rebounds.



Sunday, January 12, 2014

Durand Johnson out for the year

Durand Johnson has a torn ACL and a meniscus injury that will sideline him for the rest of the year.  The 6'6" redshirt sophomore was averaging 8.8 ppg and 3.0 rpg while playing nearly 20 minutes a game. This is obviously a big blow for Pitt and freshmen Mike Young, Jamel Artis, and Josh Newkirk will have to pick up the slack, as well as redshirt freshman Chris Jones.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Pittsburgh 80 Wake Forest 65

Another day, another dominating win over the lower half of the ACC. Pitt now moves to 3-0 in the conference and 15-1 overall.  Next up is Georgia Tech, in Atlanta, on January 14th.


Some thoughts:

1. It's safe to say that those who expect Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna to underachieve again is going to be disappointed.  Once again Patterson was the best player on the floor as he had 27 points, on 10-17 shooting form the field, as well as 4-7 from three, and 3-3 from the line.  As usual he padded the stats in other ways, too, with 5 rebounds, 6 assists, a steal, and a block.

Zanna was just as impressive with 16 points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 2 assists.

2.  Durand Johnson was excellent coming off the bench with 11 points, including 8-9 from the line.  He's been phenomenal at the line all season.

3.  Disappointing many I'm sure James Robinson played well again with excellent defense to go with 8 points, including 4-4 from the line, plus 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. Once again he had no turnovers.

4.  Cameron Wright was also excellent on defense and he came away with 8 points, 3 assists, a steal, and a block.

5.  Michael Young was quiet and only played 14 points.  That may be something to monitor in the future. He only had 4 points, a rebound, an assist, and a steal.

6.  Josh Newkirk had no points and was 0-4 from the field, but he also had 4 assists. He was out of control at one point and Dixon called a timeout and yelled at him.

7.  Welcome to the party, Joseph Uchebo. The big man had 2 very impressive points and 2 rebounds.  I know some thought he didn't move well but I disagree. Especially on his rebound and put back, he looked very good.  You have to remember that he's 6'10" and 260 pounds so he's never going to fly up and down the court.  I was actually very encouraged about how well he moved and I'm hoping he could be a factor next season.

8.  Patterson, Johnson, and Robinson were a combined 15-16 from the line.

9.  Wake Forest shot only 39.2% from the field while Pitt shot a very good 49.1%.

10.  Pitt out rebounded Wake Forest 38-28.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Is Jamie Dixon building a power?

A look at the underclassmen and incoming recruits for the Pitt Panthers basketball team:

James Robinson, So.-  Solidly built 6'3" 200 pound point guard.  One of the best assist to turnover ratios in the country in both of his seasons.  Last year he had a 2.8 assist to turnover ratio and 3.5 apg.  Thus far this season he has a 5.0 assist to turnover ratio and is averaging 3.9 apg.  As a scorer Robinson is not much of a threat but he's clearly improved since his freshman season, and there's no reason to believe that he won't continue to do so.  As a freshman Robinson averaged 6.1 ppg, while this season he currently is at 7.6 ppg.  He's also improved his FG% (36.8% to 41.9%), three point FG% (31.3% to 32.0%), and FT% (79.2% to 88.1%). As a rebounder he is solid for his position and could be even better thanks to his solid build. Defensively, he's only gotten about 1.0 spg in his career so far but he is one of the team's best defenders thanks to his brains, positioning, and body. Former top 75 prospect.

Bottom line-  It's safe to say that he'll be a four year starter for the Panthers.  He's not flashy and he will never put up big numbers but he's smart, steady, and solid.


Durand Johnson, RS So.- The 6'6" redshirt sophomore likes to shoot from the outside a lot when he's in the game and that may be part of his problem.  There's no doubt that Johnson can get hot from three and when he does he should ride it. But he's shooting 30.5% from three this season and he's been cold for quite awhile.  In fact, he has been 5-27 from three in his last seven games.  Johnson is not exceptional at rebounding, passing, or defense, so if he's not shooting it's a problem.  And when he does shoot poorly like he's doing now he should take it to the basket more. he doesn't do that often enough but when he does it usually ends up in a basket or a foul.  The fact that he's made 86.4% of his FTs this season is even more reason to take it to the basket more.

Bottom line-  He's basically a designated shooter and if he doesn't shoot well enough he may find himself being passed over by some of the younger guns that are entering the program.


Joseph Uchebo, RS So.- The 6'10" 260 pound center has NBA ability but he also has an injury that may ruin his career.  Coming out of high school Uchebo was in high demand and committed to NC State. But coming from Nigeria his transcripts did not translate and he ended up at Chipola JC in Florida. When healthy Uchebo has a great wingspan, good hands, above average athleticism, good passing slills, some decent low post offensive skills, very good shot blocking, and excellent rebounding.  Like I said, he has NBA potential.  But he's now lost a year and a half due to a micro fracture in his knee, a serious injury that may prevent him from ever playing at a high level again. Former top 100 prospect.

Bottom line- He has been cleared to play, and even that is a bit of a victory, but he has yet to see the court. If he heals completely he could be the inside presence that the Panthers desperately need. At the very least it would be great if he can add some quality minutes at his career.  ALl of that is still up inthe air though.


Sheldon Jeter, RS So.-  The 6'8" 225 pound Jeter, a Beaver Falls, PA native, was not offered by Pitt when he came out of high school even though he was a consensus top 100 prospect.  Eventually Jeter chose Vanderbilt over the likes of Wisconsin and Kansas State.  Jeter did well in his freshman season starting 7 games and playing in all 33 games.  He averaged 5.5 ppg and 3.4 rpg.  He also shot an impressive 47.1% from the field and 39.1% from three.  It's shooting, and more specifically scoring, is Jeter's forte.  He's a very good three point shooter but unlike a lot of very good three point shooters he also can drive (he had some thunderous dunks at Vandy) and has a very good mid-range game.  His long arms and athleticism also makes him a very good rebounder.  Spent time in Florida this year with former Robert Morris coach Matt Furjanic to improve his ball handling and defense. Former top 100 prospect.

Bottom line-  Don't underestimate Jeter. When he transferred he was pursued by the likes of Ohio State and Georgetown. The fact that he was a tweener is why Pitt passed on him the first time but the Panthers are hoping that a year in the SEC and a few months with Furjanic will help his defense and ball handling enough for him to move permanently to SF. That's where the staff wants him and where he's penciled in to start next year. Now he has to prove he can play the position because if he does he has the offensive potential to possibly reach 15 ppg in the future.


Chris Jones, RS Fr.- After a redshirt season the 6'6" Jones has not played much this season but when he has he has shown that he has talent.  He's averaging 6.0 minutes a game this year and is averaging 2.8 ppg. He also has proved to be a good shooter in his limited time making 50% (10-20) of his shots from the field (10-20), and 100% (11-11) from the free throw line. The skill to get to the line 11 times in such a limited time is promising.  Also a good passer.

Bottom line-  Is he one of those players, like a Cameron Wright, that people write off before turning into a very good starter, or will he get passed over by the more heralded prospects coming into the program?


Mike Young, Fr.-  The starter at power forward all season, pretty impressive for a true freshman.  The 6'8" 245 pound Young still gets overpowered at times when in the paint, but that's more about a lack of confidence than size and strength. Averaging 6.5 ppg and 5.1 rpg, as well as shooting 40.6% from the field and 30% from three.  At the line he is shooting an incredible 85.7%.  Former top 100 prospect.

Bottom line- Should be a four starter and will only get better. Look for him to eventually average at least 12 ppg and 8 rpg. He can shoot threes and free throws, pass, run, and rebound, and he should start coming into his own next season.


Josh Newkirk, Fr.- The 6'1" PG has looked good at times but he clearly has a lot of improvement that needs to take place.  In 14.6 minutes a game, he's averaging 3.8 ppg, 1.6 apg, and 42.6% from the field. But he's shooting only 31.6% from three and 12.5% (1-8) from the line.

Bottom line- Lightening quick and he has the potential to be very good on both the offensive and defensive side in the future, but he better be because he has major competition as Robinson's heir apparent.


Jamel Artis, Fr.- The 6'7" forward is the team's most pleasant surprise this season. Averaging 15.5 minutes a game, Artis started slow but now gives great minutes in every game. For the season he's averaging 5.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg, while shooting a superb 52.1% from the field. He has also showed a nice touch from three shooting 42.9% (3-7), and 78.3% from the line.

Bottom line- Young is slated to be a four year starter but it won't be by default because Artis is capable of wrestling the job away from him. He may also be able to take the job away from Jeter if he can not handle the three.


Detrick Mostella, 2014- Will he ever make to Pitt? Who knows? I was told for months that he probably won't enroll at Pitt this year and that looks like it will be the case. But Pitt would still love to land him next year and he was placed at Notre Dame Prep so that he would remain with Pitt. Will Mostella still want to come to Pitt knowing they are going to be loaded at his position in the future? Again, time will tell. But the 6'3" Mostella can flat out shoot and he would be a great addition to the Panthers. He really is not adapt at anything but shooting, a lot like Durand Johnson, but he's a better shooter than Johnson. In fact, when he gets on a streak, which he often does, he is unstoppable. Top 75 prospect.

Bottom line- You can never have enough elite shooters and if they can still get him next year the Panthers will take him, but this will be an unknown for awhile yet.


Ryan Luther, 2014- The local product is a versatile 6'8" combo forward that can do a little bit of everything. Has range out to three, is a very good passer, and he can rebound.  Interesting prospect.

Bottom line-  The most interesting thing about Luther is that it's believed that he could grow to 6'10", which all of a sudden makes him very interesting.  A 6'10" combo forward that can do a little bit of everything is a very good weapon so don't underestimate him because he's from the WPIAL.


Shaquille Doorson, 2014- Very tough and strong at a legitimate 6'11" and 265 pounds.  Playing at the prestigious Canarias Basketball Academy though he's from The Netherlands.  Very raw offensively but good defensively and athletic.  His real forte is rebounding where he uses his toughness and nastiness to be a force.

Bottom line- He will have a long way to go to learn how to play offense but as long as he can rebound as well as he should be able to, he will see time on the court. But if Uchebo is healthy next year, Doorson may redshirt.


Damon Wilson, 2015- A long 6'5" PG that may get even taller. Playing at a high level high school program and has been through the wars already. Very good passer who is excellent at directing the offense. Excellent defender and will rebound very well for the position due to his height. Good offensive player who is getting better and better. Quickly rising prospect who is already top 100. If he develops his offensive game a lot he could be ranked even higher.

Bottom line- As of now he may be the heir apparent at PG, but if he keeps growing he may end up moving to SG. But make no mistake about it, he is coming to Pitt so that he can be a PG. Basically a taller, more athletic James Robinson with more offensive skills at the same stage.


Mustapha Heron, 2016- This is the biggie. Heron will be the most well rounded and most talented guard that ever entered the program. A top 15, and maybe future top 10, prospect, the 6'4" Heron has no real weaknesses despite only being a sophomore in high school. At 6'4" he can play either guard spot, can score anywhere on the floor including threes and the free throw line, and can also pass, defend, and rebound at a high degree.

Bottom line- A potential superstar and he has the mature mental makeup to reach the level that he's destined for. He will start immediately, probably at the two. And he could grow a few inches yet.


Maverick Rowan, 2016- Local phenom is already 18 years old and will graduate high school when he is 20, unless he leaves a year early which is possible since Rowan purposely repeated a grade when he was younger. Skinny and has to improve his defense, but he's already 6'6' or 6'7" and can flat out shoot. Top 50 prospect potential.

Bottom line- May keep growing, which would make it interesting if he ends up being a 6'9" sharpshooting small forward. Should start as a small forward early on in his career and as the potential to be a big time college player.



Other possibilities:


Cheick Diallo, 2015- Top 10 power forward who, at 6'9", would play center at Pitt. That may hurt their chances, but he's a teammate of Wilson and the Panthers have been in hot pursuit for at least a year. He came to Pitt's Midnight (kinda) Madness but the Panthers will be a long shot because of the competition.

Caleb Swanigan, 2016- Giant 6'8" 275 pound center from Indiana. He also came to Pitt's Midnight Madness.  Top 50 prospect that's, shall we say, beefy, but he moves well despite his massive girth and has great touch around the rim.  A below the rim player who just carves out space and dares anybody to come into the paint. After Heron committed he tweeted that "everybody loves Slice" so it's safe to say that Pitt has a good chance to land him despite his highly impressive offer list.

Kassoum Yakwe, 2016-  Top 50 small forward, the 6'7" athlete is teammates with Wilson and Diallo, and he was also at Pitt for Midnight Madness.  Raw but crazy athletic. Huge upside. Has many impressive offers already including Pitt.

Have the Panthers hired a new Strength and Conditioning coach?

According to coachingsearch.com, the Panthers will hire Ross Kolodziej as their new strength and conditioning coach? The 35-year old Kolodziej played at Wisconsin (naturally), and was a defensive tackle in the NFL for seven years.  He's never been a strength and conditioning coach (again, naturally).

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Panthers land WR

The Pitt football recruiting this year has been hit or miss, but the Panthers had a good sized hit tonight as 6'3" WR Adonis Jennings of Timber Creek HS in Sicklerville, NJ committed to the Panthers.  Jennings originally committed to Rutgers but de-committed two months ago.

Jennings will be one of the many contenders to start opposite Tyler Boyd next season. While he needs to gain size and is a little raw, he has good length and very good speed.  His hands have been inconsistent in the past but he's been improving in that area. Has grown a lot and improved quite a bit in the last year.

Other offers included Rutgers, Clemson, Arkansas, Virginia Tech, Arizona, Iowa, and Vanderbilt, among many others.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Pittsburgh 74 NC State 62

While it didn't look like it was going to be this way at first, Pitt's first game in the ACC will forever go down as a huge success. Some thoughts:

1.  The veterans, especially seniors Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna, did not start well. but they finished great, especially Patterson who is looking more and more like an All-American candidate.

2.  Patterson finished with 22 points, including 8-16 from the field, 2-6 from three, and 4-6 from the line.  He also added 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals.

3.  Zanna chipped in with 15 points, 9 rebounds (including 6 offensive), 2 steals, and a block.

4.  Mike Young started slowly and was being outplayed by Jamel Artis but he came to life just as the rest of the team did. He had 13 points, including 4-4 from the line. He's now shooting 85.7% from the line this year.

5.  Cameron Wright was just 4-12 from the field but chipped in with 9 points and excellent defense in the second half, including 3 steals.

6.  James Robinson struggled offensively but was excellent defensively and had two big buckets bear the end of the game.  He had 4 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and no turnovers.

7.  Artis and Josh Newkirk kept Pitt in the game early before the veterans took over.  Artis had 6 points and a rebound in 17 minutes while Newkirk had 5 points, a rebound, and an assist in 14 minutes.

8. The Panthers hot horribly at the beginning of the game but through transition offense in the second half they eventually shot 48.1% from the field.

9.  The Panthers played great defense in the second half and for the game NC State shot only 39.3% from the field.

10.  The Panthers were out rebounded 35-29 in the game.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Jamie Dixon lands Top 16 SG for 2016

Jamie Dixon's hot hand continues as he landed one of the top 15 prospects in the 2006 class, 6'5" Mustapha Heron will play at Sacred Heart HS in Waterbury, CT this year. Heron can play PG, SG, or SF.  As for his game despite his young age he has no big weaknesses. He's already built like a college senior, he can shoot, play excellent defense, and has a high IQ.

I know that Pitt fans get skeptical with such early commits because of Terrelle Pryor, but that was a completely different situation. Pryor developed into an even better football player after committing ti the Panthers in basketball so it was not out of the blue that he would choose football instead.  Heron's father is close with Barry Rohrssen, and like the case with Maverick Rowan, I see no reason why they would change their mind.

I stated for months that Dixon and his staff have really got aggressive in the recruitment of big time prospects and now you are seeing the result.  A future perimeter of Heron, Rowan, Josh Newkirk, and Damon Wilson is a group that even Duke would love.  And Detrick Mostella may be in that group, too.  Pretty amazing for a coach that many left for dead last year.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Bill O'Brien leaving Penn State may affect Pitt

On Penn State's 247 Sports site one of their writers asked current Penn State commits their feelings about Bill O'Brien leaving to take the Houston Texans job.  Three of those that committed were kids that Pitt offered and wanted very much.  OT/DE Noah Beh from Scranton said that he was mad and wanted to wait to see what happens.  CB Troy Vincent said he wanted to take other visits but the staff didn't want him to. He feels betrayed because he listened to them. Vincent would probably be a long shot for the Panthers but you never know.  Safety Marcus Allen, who is Curtis Martin's godson, said O'Brien flat out lied to him and that a ton of schools have already reached out to him.  Pitt would obviously be one, and they have a big opening at safety after missing out on Montae Nicholson. 

I don't know if any of these kids will de-commit, or if they will go to Pitt if they did, but I'm sure that Pitt has or will contact at least these three and maybe more.