Friday, April 17, 2015

NOW is the time to ignore the previously written headline

I've resisted the talk of Pitt basketball being in trouble because, to be honest, it was too early to make that decision. Some Pitt fans have a way of being pessimistic and thinking that everything is awful when it really isn't. And to be fair, Pitt basketball is never going to be awful as long as Jamie Dixon is the head coach. And I don't see Pitt getting rid of him anytime soon. I also think Dixon will win his fair share of games. But the time has come to finally say that Dixon may have seen his best days- at least on a consistent basis. The stars will probably align a few seasons, and he may have some impressive years. But that's probably the best that can be asked for at this time.

The player that broke the camel's back is Mustapha Heron, who committed to Pitt last year, and who could have brought the Panthers right back to prominence. Unfortunately, today Heron has opened up his recruitment and if history is any guide, he won't be back. At one time Dixon had commitments from Heron and Maverick Rowan, and was leading for Cheick Diallo. Will all three added to the roster, the 2016 class could have been a Final Four contender, and maybe even a favorite to go that far. Now the Panthers could likely struggle to make the final 25 in upcoming seasons, and beyond.

It took a perfect storm to get here. The move to the ACC did not help at all, but Dixon can only use that excuse so much. The problem mostly lays with him. His staff is weak, and the rest of the college basketball world knows it. One text from a college coach in the last few days read, "He must address the staff situation ASAP!!". Another coach texted to me about Dixon, "He has no lead assistant coach". Today, after Heron's de-committment was announced, a third coach texted me, "Oh my the roof is caving in at Pitt".

Dixon is not an awful recruiter, as many detractors claim, but he's certainly not a great one either. So the fact that he does not have one ace recruiter on his staff is inexcusable.  Smoke Williamson is a good guy, and could be an excellent recruiter for some schools, but he's a bad fit for Pitt. Pitt is not going to get elite players out of Michigan. It's just not going to happen. And that's where Williamson's ties are. Brandon Knight is a good recruiter, but he's not the ace that the Panthers need. Bill Barton adds little on the recruiting trail.

It's gotten so bad for the Panthers that they're desperately trying to find starting players anywhere they can find them. Yes, some big name programs are going after players like Mike Thorne or Ike Nwamu, but they are looking at them as complimentary players. On Pitt, however, these two would be among their best players. Then there is any so-called "fast riser" they come across, which incidentally is another name for a player that wasn't good enough to sign before, but is good enough to sign now that you're desperate. The fact that Pitt is even trying to sign Marcus LoVett is all you need to know about how desperate things have gotten. And it's a trend that's been going on for a few years. Dixon's centers last year were Joseph Uchebo, Derrick Randall, and Tyrone Haughton. All great kids but all desperation moves by Dixon because none of them were very good.

I will end this like I started it. Dixon will still win games, but probably not as much as he used to win.  He could always leave himself, but I don't see him getting fired in the next few years. However, with a new AD coming in, Dixon is finally looking to be less untouchable in the future. And the fault is mostly his own. He's lost his way. And since he's not somebody that's known to adapt, I can only assume that he won't find his way all the way back.

81 comments:

  1. Sad but most likely true. Dude needs to run more, worry less about making the perfect pass, recruit guys that can actually shoot, adjust to other teams strengths, i.e., not just stay in the same zone 90%, learn how to effectively substitute players and relax on the sidelines. Other than that, I still love my Panthers!

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  2. Yep, not looking good. I bet Diallo and Heron both end up at St Johns. And Thorne will probably end up at Kentucky. Pitt is in a heap of trouble. We'll end up with more dead weight on scholarships because the chance that we fill the open ones with anyone legitimate is slim at this point.

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    1. To be honest, if I had to guess, I wouldn't pick any of those three players to go to those places. I don't see why Thorne would want to battle with some one and down elite player. And Diallo and Heron can do better than St. John's, and I'm guessing they know that.

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    2. Chris,I never understood these early comittments to begin with since kids change their minds so much, but what is your thought on why Heron decided today to decomitt. It is not like tomorrow is the signing date. Just curious as to the timing and what might have prompted his decomittment?

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    3. He wasn't involved in recruiting during his season but now it's over. He'd like to stick with Pitt but his dad had different plans for awhile now.

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  3. You can thank Smiley and Nordy for giving him the 10 year deal which led to this complacency. Get a freakin AD already and make Jamie accountable for his lackluster recruiting and sub standard staff.

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  4. He has been slowly losing me for a few years... but I think he gets one more pass in terms of the budget he had before which seemed was substandard for the major P-5 sports teams.... is that the issue? Lack of $$ to hire a great staff? I hope so... if not... then hopefully new regime as the balls to eat another big contract that Nordy left Pitt with...

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    1. It's my understanding that money for a quality staff is not the issue. Pitt can't pay like the best of the best programs but they're not far behind that.

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    2. What were the specific reasons for decommitting? Poor performance by Pitt? Stock rose significantly after their initial commitment? Souring on Dixon and staff?

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  5. Jamie Dixon is one of the top 20 highest paid coaches in NCAA basketball. It's time for him to start earning that paycheck. His staff stinks and his mismanagement of the roster has been flawed for a few years now. He is being exposed.

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  6. I have, over the last 4-5 years, grown tired of Jamie Dixon's way of recruiting and coaching. If things go even slightly south, I hope that the new AD goes in search of an up and coming lower level BB coach.

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  7. Andt Otoole At RMU in 4-5 years Dixon has left OToole will be ready.

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  8. I won't hit the panic button just yet, but my hand is near it. I remember a coach told you when Dixon hired David Cox that he should be put in jail for getting away with robbery, but nothing earth-shattering came from the Cox hire, thus I won’t panic based on what you were told regarding the program in wake of the Heron news.

    Losing Heron shouldn't make me think the sky is falling. It's just another example of Dixon needing to go back to his old recruiting ways and getting the linkage back into the program. What is odd is how long he recruited Heron and Rowan and how easily the two can look elsewhere after committing. My dream lineup three years from now of Wilson, Rowan, Heron and Manigault is a pipe dream now.

    Sadly, I do feel to be a tourney team in 2015-16 Dixon needs these two transfers, but I don't think he can land them. We have to hope for major improvement and some contributions from Nix.

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  9. Never thought I would say this but boy am I looking forward to football.

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  10. I agree with much stated by anon. The sky is not falling yet. Sophomore commits are simply unreliable.I'll bet less than 20 percent don't decommit at some point. We need to add a shooting guard and depth at center,. I don't see Josh Newkirk as ever being the answer at the point so we need help there too, Wilson, maybe. I don't know why you are down on Marcus Lovett. If he qualifies, he could help. I like the offer to Malik Ellison (good genes-Dad-Pervis- was a stud). I'm not optimistic on getting Nwamu but I'm hopeful on Thorne.

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    1. You say all they need to do is add a shooting guard and center as if that's easy. Dixon hasn't had a center and shooting guard for many years.

      As for LoVett, he has almost no chance of qualifying, and the fact that Pitt is one of the few that's trying to land him, despite his talent, is all you need to know about what a long shot he is.

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    2. I didn't say it was easy but I feel losing Wright and Randall is almost improvement by subtraction. I believe that adding Nix and the return of Cam Johnson offsets those 2. I would prefer to olay Mike Young at forward so center depth is crucial although hard to find. Where is the next Gary McGhee when you need him?

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    3. Gary Mcghee diamond in the ruff. Took him 4 years to get him playing at a solid level. There is no easy fix. Dixon will have to adapt to free agency

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  11. There is not and never was a budget issue for the bball program since the Pete opened... I know this to be a fact...

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  12. Wasn't Smoke the lead recruiter for Manigault? Fairfax, VA is not Michigan, so there is that.

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    1. Manigault isn't exactly a superstar. There's probably a hundred schools that have a player of his ability. As one of many top prospects he's a nice get. When he's the best prospect coming in then you have trouble.

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    2. Yes, a 4 star big man holding Georgetown and Maryland offers is a good get. Very good. Certainly we need more help. Main point was he's from Virginia, not Michigan, so not sure why Smoke gets painted as a Michigan recruiter. Let's see what he has.

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  13. Dixon needs to upgrade his staff - and soon. My god... there are a lot of good coaches getting fired every year - it shouldn't be that hard.

    The main problem is, he's not getting the Levance Fields, Sam Young, Julius Page types any more AT ALL. There are fringe top-100 recruits out there who someone like Dixon could easily build a contender on. You can't reach with guys like Newkirk, Jones, etc.

    I see Young and maybe Artis as those types of players and that's basically it. It's like Dixon has lost his scouting skills - or maybe he never had them to begin with - he just had excellent scouters and talent hounds on staff.


    It isn't that hard to recruit fringe top-100 prospects. He's wasting his time with the top-50'.s like Heron. Complete WASTE OF TIME. Just STOP IT NOW.

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  14. Since Narduzzi was hired, Gallagher has gone silent. It looks like the administration is not prepared for a downsliding basketball program and is still preoccupied with football. They may be underestimating how many fans Pitt basketball has.

    A rapidly improving football program will quiet the masses for a while.

    I'm glad to see this website post the truth about Pitt hoops program.

    College basketball, not only Pitt basketball, has become very boring to watch. Mark Cuban is right, so is the head basketball coach at UConn. The NCAA needs to get to work. College basketball is a dinosaur, much like baseball.

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    1. Don't believe everything you read. The NCAA title game last week drew 28 million viewers. Last year the last game between the Spurs and Heat drew 18 millions.

      And .. have you ever watched a regular season NBA game? Much of the time, they only go thru the motions to play out the schedule

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  15. Has Pitt basketball reached a point of homeostasis? A few years of success under Evans, breakout seasons orchestrated by Howland, and a strong six or seven year run by Dixon.

    These problems can't be blamed on leaving the Big East. Pitt cratered in 2011 in the Big East, and routinely got bounced out of the Big East tournament after 2008.

    How does Dayton win? West Virginia? These teams play in essentially the same region Pitt does. Cincinnati?

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    1. Pitt has been better than those schools most years, to be honest. Dixon is still going to win a lot of games. He just may not win a lot of games consistently like he did at the beginning of his career.

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  16. Not quitting on Dixon yet. He just needs that big center. Boy, joining the ACC did really hurt

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  17. I did not see this coming. I dont know why, recent history says it was bound to with Heron skyrocketing. The elephant in the room is...why cant he hold on to these early commitments. Its clearly becoming a trend. Some people think its his style of offense, but I look at wisky and MichSt et al and dint see a glaring difference. Is it he isnt developing guys like he used to? Surely the Jaron Browns and the Wannamakers weren't as highly touted as some of recent flops like Newkirk, isiah epps, john johnson etc? Man this is a real bummer. Heron was a real hope for the program to get back on track

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  18. College basketball is so corrupt it's so about money . Coach Dixon never was a strong recruiter sure he got a couple kids they were highlly rank but they all had issues college basketball is about 10 colleges That get 80% of the top recruits. I think it's a joke and I think pro basketballs a joke too because these kids aren't taught fundamentals can't shoot the basketball. In general college and pro basketball is not very good.

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  19. A Couple of things...

    1st - certainly no surprise that we lost Heron - the ONLY reason he committed to us was the connection that his dad had to Slice.

    Secondly and speaking of player's parents - Ron Rowan is the modern day Greg Morelli - all I can say is that it's too bad for Maverick because I think his heart is with Pitt.

    Regarding the staff, in hindsight, we should have never let Slice back - we did him a huge favor considering where he was at the time and he showed zero loyalty and, who did he recruit while back?

    Heron - gone and Doorson- I mean seriously - Doorson? What a reach.

    The lead recruiter and assistant coach we SHOULD have hired back was Tom Herrion - good recruiter and a great assistant coach.

    I was very disappointed we didn't get him back.

    If Smoke lands Cassius Winston - all is forgiven but you know what - like Heron, Rowan and Diallo...it's just not happening.

    As Chris mentions, his Michigan ties won't help us - we need New England especially NYC ties again and that's where BK is failing us.

    I still think that this team next year is going to be pretty good:

    JRob at the 1 (Newkirk - yes Nuke - can he get any worse and Wilson backing JRob)
    Jones at the 2
    Artis the 3 - Slim backing him up
    Young at the 4
    Thorne (servicable) if we get him at the 5

    My problem w/ Dixon is that i think the players have tuned him out - look at most other successful coaches - Rein comes to mind - no screaming EVERY SINGLE TIME-OUT like Dixon does.

    I remember Jerome Lane's comment regarding Paul Evans (not to suggest that Dixon swears) - "How many times are you called Mother F*&^%er before you just tune it out.

    I don't think all is lost though - we "should" be pretty good next year and then let's see who we add in the meantime.




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  20. What this team needs is a major infusion of speed and athleticism. If nothing else speed would enable them to no longer get beat so easily off the dribble and maybe have some guys who could actually creat their own shots.

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  21. Unlike Pitt, WVU has stayed in character by focusing on defense first wit many of their point being generated by turnovers. They also play in the B12, which year in and year out is the most overrated league in both FB & BB. Fans foolishly believe all the offense generated in that league (both FB & BB) makes them the superior league. Yet, just about every year, the B12 gets their butts handed to them in the bowl games and the NCAA tourney.

    This past BB season, all we hear by the ESPN talking heads was how superior the B12 was over any other conference, yet come tourney time, they folded like an accordion (once again).

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  22. Wait until the news breaks that Damon Wilson isn't going to qualify.

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  23. I understand the frustration here but have to say I'm not in full panic mode yet. Let's give Dixon the remainder of the off-season to make a judgement. If he makes a surprise landing of Diallo tomorrow, everyone will 180.

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  24. In my opinion, until Dixon changes his style of play, he won't be able to recruit 4+star players.
    That is why Dixon can't land top recruits and that is why u see Rowan and Heron decommitting albeit both due to their dad's managing what is best.
    Look at St. John. Mullin ain't no dummy. He brought in the 2 best recruiters in the country for the NYC (including NJ) area. As the Florida coach (pittsburgh native) said, it's about the Jimmie's and the Joe's, not the X's and O's.

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    1. Dixon plays the same style as 90% of the coaches out there. The difference is talent.

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  25. Scratch Thorne off of the list - just committed to Illinois...geez.

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  26. Incredible ..... Thorne to Illinois. A kid who grew up in ACC land is going to spend his final season in the Big Ten. Something is seriously wrong. I never bought into it before since I'm a JIG club member, but this is ridiculous.

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  27. Last month, "the demise of Jamie Dixon was greatly exaggerated" and now we should be worried about the future of the program? Chris, I enjoy the blog and all of your inside info, but how can this one decommitment change your opinion so drastically? Jamie didn't just "lose his way" over the past month. As many of us have tried pointing out, he's been losing his way over the past 4-5 years. His stubbornness, inability to assemble a staff and recruit, and reluctance to recognize his own shortcomings and adapt (among other things) has led to the downfall of Pitt BB. Hopefully the new AD and chancellor will begin to hold him accountable unlike the previous 2 men that held those positions.

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    1. I thought I explained it pretty thoroughly. I've been saying consistently that if Pitt loses Heron then the tide will turn in the program. Losing his talent is bad but what's worse is that Pitt now has the reputation as a program on the decline. He was the final straw. If he stayed then a case can be made that Dixon is merely reloading.

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  28. surprising .. illinois is middle of the road in BIG, kind of like us in ACC. Plus they are losing their top gun in Rice and 1 or 2 other starters. maybe they have a graduate program that Pitt doesn't.

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  29. It's time either Jaime fires his staff or gets fired himself. He peaked with the elite 8. With coaches like K and Izzo, recruits commit to play for the head coach while being recruited by assistants. For Pitt, recruits commit to the assistants. Why would any top player want to play for Jaime Dixon? His style doesn't showcase players, he can't adapt, and he doesn't have the reputation for winning titles or getting players to the NBA. Time to move on.

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  30. I like Coach Dixon, but he may have hit his expiration date at Pitt (or that date is in the near future)....looks like football may be the future star of the athletic program...let's tear down the Pete and build an on-campus football stadium...and yes, I'm joking

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  31. Chris ... i enjoy your assessments .. firm but fair. Not too "the sky is falling"and not too "pie in the sky"; however, I'm trying to understand the headline choice for this article and the balance of the story ... are you saying that you thought things were previously ok but now that Heron is leaving, things are bad and won't recover ? If so, why ? will the loss of Heron impact every other recruit from here out to also decide to go elsewhere ? Certainly, Heron's loss will impact the 2-3 years he would have been here but beyond that .. c'mon ...

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    1. I'm coming to the realization that the title is a bad one because if people actually read the post all I'm saying is that the days of Dixon winning 25-30 games on a consistent basis is over. I'm not saying Pitt is going to stink.

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    2. I was really asking why the Heron decommit was the seminal event that we could point to in history as what caused us to be consistently mediocre. Wouldn't other recruits really interpret it as "Heron was too good for Pitt" rather than this program is in a death spiral ?

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  32. Unfortunatly, some time between Slice taking the Kentucky job and this season I told my father this would happen. Jamie Dixon should have been fired at least 3 years ago. He is coasting on his reputation from years ago. His style of play isn’t strong enough to get the job done, especially at tournament time. He constantly plays guys out of position like Young, Artis, and the past collection of forwards playing centers and guards playing forwords. He cannot recruit, the only good recruits they got there when they had good assistance like Slice and Tom Herrion. If they ever do get these recruits they end up transferring. Someone really needs to look into the alarming rate of transfers happening at the University of Pittsburgh. I know transfers happen in college basketball, but it is ridiculous how many student athleres transfer out of this program. The new chancellor keep saying how serious he is about fielding winning programs. If that is in fact the case he needs to fire Jamie Dixon and bring in someone that can get the job done. Thanks for getting us as far as you could Jamie now’s the time for someone to be able to lead us past the sweet 16 or elite 8. I don’t care if it’s an established coach or some hungry young up-and-comer, but they need to take a chance if they want to win. At the rate Dixon is going I see this team struggling to make the NIT. Hail to Pitt, or if we keep getting more seasons of Jamie Dixon fail to Pitt.

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    1. First of all u act like they always got major 5 star guys and now they are not. Not true when u look at Chevy, Lamar, Gibbs, Fields, Ramon, Mckee, Wannamaker, etc, the majority of these guys were 3 stars or near the end of 100 in the top 100. they were all good, but not going to be stars right away. Jamie coaches them up, redshirts them and in time they become hard nose tuff players. i think we have had some unlucky bounces not go are way and has lead to some bad choices on dixon;s part. There is no way u can say that he is done. Are u nuts. He is one big time player away and two 3 star guys from being right back. I think we forgot who had the best winning % in the Big East in a 10 year span. Do not count Dixon out, the recruiting thing is hard for Jamie mainly because he does not like the criminal element of it. you see who is what u call a man that has morals and many in his business do not. I for one will take a coach that is a good as a person as he is a coach and would rather lose with Jamie than win with Boehiem.

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    2. Now I'm saying that a guy is done because he will win 20-25 games a year now instead of 25-30 games a year? And people wonder why I don't want to do this anymore.

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    3. And to no one's Suprise Thorne is going to Illinois.

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    4. C'mon folks .. I have not given up on Dixon or Pitt. He has not forgotten how to coach. This is a rough stretch, some of which is caused by moving to the ACC, but we will get through it. Dixon has been at Pitt for 12 years and has a 73.4% overall winning record and a 64.4% conference winning record. His worst 2 years were 22-17 (CBI) and 19-15 (NIT). He has averaged 25.5 wins per year ... he has had 2 seasons with 30 or more wins, 8 seasons with 25 or more wins and 11 seasons with 20 or more. There are a lot of D1 schools that would kill to have this level of performance. Look, some of the reasons for our recent struggles are issues with JD and staff, but also some are related to the school (location,atmosphere, philosophy,etc.), lack of superior talent and changes in american culture and the media/money machine that drives these young kids' decisions. Let's talk in 3-4 years and if we haven't made the tourney for an extended stretch, then maybe we can consider finding a new coach. Hail to Pitt !

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    5. As I understand it frrom alumni in the know, Gallagher has already talked to Dixon about his concerns.

      You can continue to tout Dixon's long term success, but recently h

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    6. Chriss I was speaking to Jordon M on my reply not u. U make good points and still believe Jamie can come back, many think he is and was a bad coach.

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  33. Chris,

    Any thoughts on the spring game?

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  34. Sky is falling the sky is falling! Come on guys he had one very bad recruiting year one time and he is only a center away I'm having a good day. And last year he had a very young team. Unless you are Kentucky Duke being young mean something.

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    1. Look at the last 5 years.
      The recruiting then the turnover.
      It's bad! Take off the blinders.

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  35. We all love Pitt but folks need to be realistic. If I was Okafor, Diallo, Townes, Winslow, Heron, Rowan, et al ... AND .. I was as good as advertised, or at least, as good as my reps were telling me, I would be very, very unlikely to play b-ball at Pitt. It just wouldn't make sense. Everyone can blame this on JD because he isn't a good recruiter but there are many other bigger factors that are the culprits. Sure, if JD was able to sell ice to an eskimo, we might get some of these guys, but, he isn't. As much as we all want Pitt to be Kentucky, Duke, UNC, Kansas, AZ, FL, OSU, UConn et al ... we aren't - AND - we won't ever be.

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    1. Tomas, this makes no sense. Yes, some kids will play for a school because of the logo on the front but most go where they are comfortable, where they like the coaching staff, where the recruiting process takes them. Kentucky was very down before Calipari, Duke was not on the radar before Coach K, UConn and Syr not powerhouses before their HOF coaches went there. Brad Stevens did wonders and is coaching well in the NBA. It comes down to the coaching (90%) and some luck (10%). Put Calipari at Pitt instead of Kentucky ( Coach Cal wanted to come here when JD was promoted and Pitt rejected his overtures, thanks Steve P.) and Pitt would have been in the Final 4, more than once. PGHFAN1992

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    2. I'm no SP fan but he was not here at the time to hire JD.

      However, I don't remember too many Pitt fans being disappointed at the time when Calipari was rejected .. mainly for his improprieties at UMass. Since that time, another one of his F4 teams had to vacate its tourney wins. Heck, even a program as UNC has resorted to cheating.

      There is nothing wrong with not adopting a 'winning at any cost' approach. Just realize the limitations it places on a program when it has to compete with those willing to stretch the rules.

      Heck, Pitt had a player suspend this past year for allegedly something that 99% of other schools wouldn't have sanctioned. It is what it is.

      bill

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    3. Fair enough on the SP thing but my point remains that the coach is the primary reason kids play somewhere, the school is usually secondary. Do you agree? The other point is that a successful coach like Cal (Final 4) wanted to come to Pitt and many successful coaches would come here now. I'm not advocating firing JD but I do believe we have gotten as far as he can take us. Money is not at problem as many say because Pitt is one of the most profitable programs and JD one the top paid coaches in the Power 5 conferences.

      Who did promote JD, Long? PGHFAN1992

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    4. As I recall, Dixon was promoted by SP's assistant AD (forgot his name) who was installed as temp AD until Long was hired. Note that Howland left a few months after SP.

      The first person considered for Howland's replacement was Skip Prosser, Pgh native, who was HC at Wake Forest. During the search, it was revealed that Miami and possibly BC and Cuse were leaving the BE for the ACC, and any chance for Prosser coming to Pitt was nixed due to the uncertainty. Can't remember who else was considered except that Cal was considered 'hands off.'

      Meanwhile, the players (Krauser, J Brown, etc) lobbied for JD, and he was promoted, which until a couple of years ago, was considered to be a great hire. bill

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    5. Randy Juhl, the current acting-AD, was the one who hired Dixon when serving in the same role before hiring Long.

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    6. PGHFAN1992 ... it does make sense ... my point about Pitt and it's location, identity, philosophies, etc.(another reply to this article) will keep coaches like Calipari from coming here. I'm not saying a coach like Cal wouldn't be "successful" here, it's that the school wouldn't want the stuff that goes with this success.

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    7. What stuff has happened at Kentucky? I would support Cal coming to Pitt in a heartbeat. Especially, the way the rules have been promulgated by the ncaa.

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  36. Morals and values have a lot to do with that. And so does tradition. One thing we have the other we don't. That in itself is the reason

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  37. Chris: Do you believe Jamie Dixon will make a final 4 at pitt?

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  38. I don't buy it.. we have the resources, facilities, and conference to be right below the big boys of duke, unc, and Kentucky . We were there and are sliding.. everyone has their ups and downs but I feel with current staff we are declining into mediocrity...

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  39. If Scott Barnes is named new AD watch out for changes to basketball. The guy was on the tournament committee in 2013, played at Fresno State and professionally in Europe as Chris eluded to in a previous post. He knows the game, and I'm sure he recognizes Pitt needs to right the ship now before completely capsizing.

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  40. Chris, I don't know why we are all bent out of shape. These 2 "verbals" were both puddle jumpers as preps. To their credit their stock jumped significantly & circumstances changed. We aren't a blue blood. Everyone knows 3 stripes are in the local guys future & Slice has to be the lead to bring the other one to NYC - like it or not he's the only reason the kid visited Oakland in the first place. We all know that. This is going to be a 2-3 star grind year in & year out. The point about Barnes above is well taken. The next 2 years will certainly determine how the next chapter of history looks. H2P
    PtbreezeB

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  41. Thanks to the Nordenberg-Pederson regime, Pitt is stuck with Dixon for quite a while. Pitt does not have millions of dollars to buy him out and no schools are clamoring for him right now.

    You have to think Gallagher has spent a few nights cursing at Nordenberg in his sleep for saddling him with both Pederson and his buddy Dixon.

    And, Chris, Dixon can win 20 games and not make the NCAA tournament when 12 of those games are complete pussy cupcakes. The media is on to Dixon's game. Sure, other coaches play it to some extent, but not like Dixon does. Dixon is no doubt cursing his non-con schedule that kept him from getting 20 wins and a bonus.

    We Pitt fans may have to just be satisfied with an improving football program and a declining hoops program until the university can pay to unload Dixon.

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  42. "You have to think Gallagher has spent a few nights cursing at Nordenberg in his sleep for saddling him with both Pederson and his buddy Dixon."

    Tony...seriously - you really believe that?

    Yes Pederson was a horror show but do you really think that Gallagher thinks he is "saddled" by Dixon?

    Come on.

    Have you looked at Dixon's record?

    Do you know how many coaches with a very recent history of not making the NCAA tournament come back and excel?

    Brey at ND is just one example.

    My God, it's like he's missed the Big Dance 5 years in a row.

    We lost Heron because of Slice - we lost Rowan because of his dad Ron.

    Do you know how many teams would kill for a coach like Jamie Dixon?

    Never had a sniff of NCAA trouble.

    Gallagher is VERY happy with Jamie Dixon I can assure you of that and we as Pitt fans should be as well.

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  43. The Pittsburgh sports fan expects championships, and Howland/Dixon brought that for Pitt basketball. That has faded now, and in a crowded area sports scene, Pitt basketball does not have the depth in its fan base to weather much mediocrity. Apathy towards the program began to set in after the loss to Butler in the round of 32, and then the departure of Birch and the "disastrous" CBI year. With regularity the Pete is 2/3 full, and quiet. There's little energy in the program, which is going to make recruiting and winning that much more difficult in a league with three schools that annually recruit NBA rosters and have monster budgets. Pitt only had UConn to deal with in that regard in the Big East. I don't see the Dixon era ending on a positive note; and it's probably coming more quickly than most expect.

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  44. Don't panic yet. Wait a year. If I were a recruit for 2016, I would want to play right away. But that’s not likely with all the experienced seniors who will be playing that year. Things will be completely different for 2017. Dixon should be recruiting from a position of strength. Pitt will be a top ten team. Recruits will know that they can start right away. The key to our basketball future will be the recruits of 2017.

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    1. That is a great point. Hopefully, 2016 class will be a solid class that will stay together and develop. We know what Dixon is capable of when he has 4 years with a player

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  45. And then when they have two more bad years, you will say the key is the 2019 recruiting class. The fact is that the program is in worse shape now than it was when Dixon took over from Howland.

    Dixon has not built the program. He slowly is allowing it to die. It is far closer to dying than it is to becoming elite. His recruiting is awful, his talent evaluation is questionable and his staff is abysmal. He always has relied totally on his assistants to recruit. When Slice was here the first time, most of our players came from the New York area. Then when Rice was the top assistant, they came from the Philly area. When Herrion was here, it was Maryland/DC. Now he has no ace recruiter and he is recruiting out of desperation. Last year's class would have been a decent class for Duquesne. It was an embarassment for Pitt. This year's class includes a graduate transfer from Coppin State who was 2nd team All-MEAC. The 2011 class, which should be the senior leadership on the team, is all gone.

    The one constant I notice from the Dixon defenders is that Pitt is not an elite program, and never will be. You appear to concede that only the blue bloods can be elite. That defeatist attitude, if it prevails, will doom Pitt basketball. Coaching can take a nothing program and turn it into an elite program. Florida was nothing before Billy Donovan. Arizona was nothing before Lute Olson. Go zags has been built by coaching. Michigan State has been built by Heathcoat and Izzo. None of those programs was a traditional blue blood. Pitt was on its way to becoming an elite program. Dixon has reversed that.

    You say we will be limited to two and three star players, and have to accept that. If you really feel that way, go root for Duquesne. You are simply accepting mediocrity. The same day the Coppin State graduate transfer committed to Pitt, a McDonald's All-American committed to Mississippi State. Where Howland now coaches. Is that a blue blood school?

    Dixon's coaching is not elite. His staff is not elite. His recruiting is not elite. He needs to go and go soon or we will be looking up at Duquesne again, like we did for so many years.

    I think the new AD's first staffing priority is to sign McConnell-Serio to a new extension. His second will be to fire Dixon after the upcoming season.

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  46. Chris,

    You tweeted today that you still believe that Pitt will make the NCAA Tourney and be a 7-10 seed. While I hope you are right, what am I missing? Dixon isn't bringing in that one impact player this fall that makes them significantly better the day he walks on campus. They have decent talent but a 7-10 seed is saying they are possibly top 30 material and they aren't even close to that - they weren't even near the " last 4 out" from this year's tourney. Optimism is one thing but I am not sure your prediction can be supported with tangible evidence.

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