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March 20, 2007

I have to admit, I’d rather move to discussing the actual game and what to expect like the cool kids at Bruins Nation have started doing. The problem is there is just a lot of other material to at least link to to stay up to date. I’m hoping this is the big wave of “hey, Dixon and Howland are friends” stories that will subside.

The conference calls were yesterday. Howland spoke well of Pitt as you might expect but the local media did get some surprises.

But that conference call wasn’t all warm and fuzzy. At times, it was downright contentious.

Toward the end of his tenure at Pitt, Howland was tight-lipped about the then-possibility of taking the UCLA job. If his comments yesterday were an accurate barometer, what happened during his final few months at Pitt still rankles him, and he unleashed some scornful words in the direction of the Pittsburgh media.

“The media made it so difficult for any of this stuff to happen,” Howland said of leaving Pittsburgh and going to UCLA. “Really, it was a very, very difficult situation the whole year and [the media in Pittsburgh] was talking about me the whole year and trying to take the focus away from our team. … That is what I remember most about that situation.”

The. Pittsburgh. Media. Made. Things. Difficult? Are we talking the same Pittsburgh media in Pennsylvania? Located in North America? On the scale measuring media toughness with New York City sports coverage being the toughest and North Korean media on Kim Jong-Il’s golf exploits the easiest, the ‘Burgh media usually ranks somewhere south of Chicago Sports covering the first year of a Cubs Manager. All the local Pittsburgh media wants is access. Then it will generally roll over for you. It wasn’t the local media. All media was talking Howland to UCLA the entire season. Boy, I hate having to defend the local media.

Everyone knows they are close friends and will remain BFF. Even if Howland didn’t get UC-Santa Barbara to offer Dixon a scholarship. The one thing to expect is that neither coach expects much different on the court.

Still, as they break down film, each sees what the other sees. Pittsburgh is playing a lot of zone, and Howland laughs, because Dixon didn’t learn that from him. Watching an inbounds play, it looks strikingly familiar.

“There’s a lot of similar stuff, and stuff that’s tweaked,” Howland said. “There are even some of the same calls. There are not a lot of secrets.”

Levon Kendall is the only current Pitt player that actually knew Howland as a coach.





Take the focus away from the team? Howland’s the one who lost focus.
I’m grateful for everything Howland did for the program, but he’s calling the kettle black here.
It still defies logic that he would be entertaining other options while his Pitt team was in the Sweet 16 with a solid chance of advancing. After the season – okay. But doing so at that point in the season borders on criminally unprofessional.

Comment by Dave in Orlando 03.20.07 @ 3:40 pm

Levon Kendall also plays the piano. The influence comes from his dad, who was in a Vancouver, BC-based band during the 80s. Bet you didn’t know that either, huh?

Comment by Shawn 03.20.07 @ 4:27 pm

He also once scored 40 against the U.S. in the under 21 tournament did you know that..ha ha

Comment by scoocher 03.20.07 @ 5:08 pm

And Sam Young, he’s, like, a gymnast! There’s this footage of him tumbling across a gym…

Comment by Carmen 03.20.07 @ 10:03 pm

I wonder if Kendall has a roommate who plays basketball?

Comment by Cris 03.20.07 @ 10:23 pm

you know, Ramon’s father came up last summer and put the boys through marine-like workouts…

Comment by scoocher 03.20.07 @ 11:15 pm

Good stuff guys, I’m LOL

Comment by TMGPanther 03.20.07 @ 11:54 pm

So I take it from reading the comments no one is aware that Pitt accidentally discovered Kendall when they were actually scouting a different player.

Comment by Will 03.21.07 @ 1:43 am

Pitt starting line up features 3 savvy and experienced seniors. Here are the starters per Sportsline…

and dahdedhadep, dahdeh…

…sh*t G Almighty, is “savvy” really an adjective fit for sports talk (esp. when used without clarification, nor defined whatsoever, in relation to what it should-could-might-mean to, ahem, NCAA Men’s Basketball…

it’s just all too gay to gather at this time of night. I mean, what men’s mag do they subscribe to anyway? … Just so too kool LA, and how periodontal to fuss over and get ma’s sucker in San Jose.

…he said “periodontal”

Comment by Neil 03.21.07 @ 1:59 am

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