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February 9, 2004

Both teams played and won “big” games on Saturday. Pitt on ESPN2 against Notre Dame; Seton Hall had its in-state rivalry game against Rutgers. As such, there hasn’t been much media attention from the papers. Nothing more in New Jersey.

Pitt has it’s press release and game notes (PDF) for the game out.

The Trib story focuses on Seton Hall Point Guard, senior Andre Barrett. Barrett is from the Bronx and has some familiarity with Krauser.

The P-G looks at Julius Page, who finally admits that his ankle has been bothering him all season.

Not Walt’s Fault?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chas @ 7:59 am

Ron Cook decides that the recruiting collapse cannot be blamed on Walt Harris. This is in contrast to the blame assigned by Joe Starkey last week. Actually, neither is too far apart. Starkey puts the overall condition of the program on Harris, including the loss of recruits who had actually committed to Pitt then changed their mind. Cook seems to want to absolve Harris of that.

Cook tries to make his point by only focusing on the local recruits, Johnson and Morelli. Losing Bryant (to Miami), he blames on the weakened Big East, and Peyton (to USF) he completely ignores because that doesn’t help his point.

Now, I don’t know what sports talk in Pittsburgh is saying right now. I’m sure there are a lot of pissed off mouth breathers making all sorts of complaints. Here at PSB, we’re not Harris’ biggest fans, but we still are not ready to fire Harris. I’d say the recruiting collapse has been more about redredging all the same complaints about Walt that have been there before. Only now the volume seems louder because the Steelers aren’t playing.

That said, guess what? Harris has to take some of the blame for losing recruits that made a verbal. As has often been said, they are teenagers. There has to be a lot of hand holding and even coddling to get them from their August/September verbals to signing in February. It seems clear, that by December, as Pitt’s season came crashing down; Harris and his staff failed to take a more active role in reassuring recruits. Damage control. This helped open the door to whispers and reconsideration.

Cook completely dismisses the issue of perception in recruiting, as fevered paranoia of Pitt fans regarding Penn State. Writing that the demon of losing guys from your own backyard had been slain from other recent success. Wrong. It never goes away. It is only as true as the last signing day. Right now, it is back and looming large.

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