March 28, 2007

Basketball in the Future

Filed under: Basketball,Players,Recruiting — Chas @ 4:32 pm

So, I see from the comments that there was some notice that Seth Davis at essentially said the obvious near the end of his column.

As good a player as I think Pittsburgh center Aaron Gray is, it will be interesting to see how the Panthers do next season without him. My hunch is they will be smaller, quicker and deploy a more up-tempo attack, all of which should be to their benefit.

It seems rather obvious when you look at the players returning, who redshirted and are coming in that Pitt will be more up-tempo.

Speaking of players coming in next year. Bradley Wannamaker was named the Philadelphia Daily News Player of the Year (Hat tip to Matt T.).

Wanamaker, a 6-4, 200-pound senior wing guard for Roman Catholic High, and bound for the University of Pittsburgh, is our choice for Player of the Year in connection with the 2006-07 Daily News All-City Basketball Team, comprised of players from Public, Catholic and Inter-Ac schools.

Roman entered the season with no one taller than 6-4, and no one remotely resembling a power forward or center. It did have Wanamaker, and his impressive combination of skill and desire and leadership, and everything fell into place.

Wanamaker willed the Cahillites to a 28-3 overall record, a surprising Catholic League title (Ss. Neumann-Goretti was everyone’s favorite) and a season-closing winning streak that reached 16 games with success (over N-G) in the championship game of the prestigious Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament, at Frostburg (Md.) State.

He averaged 17.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.1 steals.

Congrats to Wannamaker. Lots of talent coming in next season. It’s essentially two recruiting classes in one for next season since this past season’s group was redshirted.

No, Pitt has no one on the incoming class named to the McDonald’s All-American Team. I can’t say that’s completely shocking. Look at the rosters. There is only one player from NYC/NJ — Corey Stokes. He’s going to Villanova. There’s a reason Coach Dixon started shifting the recruiting emphasis from the concentration on just that area in the past year.

Then look on the rosters for the number of players from the metro DC/MD/VA area. Metro NYC/NJ is in a down cycle with talent and depending too much on one area is tough. So, while that whole NY-pipeline thing makes a nice story, it’s not particularly smart for the long-term. That’s why I was so happy last summer when it was clear that Pitt was spreading out in areas for recruiting.

In no way am I even considering diminishing the job John Thompson III has done with Georgetown — and believe me it isn’t easy to actually like a Georgetown team — because it has been a tremendous job (not to mention pointing out what a piss-poor coach Escherick (sp?) was). Still, it is worth noting the upswing in talent that the Hoyas are now recruiting in their backyard does coincide with their return to national prominence. Having JTIII and getting them to come to G-town over Maryland and the host of other ACC schools trying to get them is still a big deal.

I believe with the likes of Brown, Wannamaker, Dodson, Blair, Robinson, the kid from Saint Anthony’s Pitt will be able to run and press. Throw Vargas in the mix and the futrue looks bright.

Comment by Kenny 03.28.07 @ 5:05 pm

I really miss the defensive toughness that Pitt used to have. I hope it doesn’t completely fade away…

Comment by MoE 03.28.07 @ 8:00 pm

I don’t think it will MoE. Better athletes means quicker players, and that translates into better D.

Comment by Kenny 03.29.07 @ 9:02 am

I think JTIII is only making $450,000 per. He’s in for a huge payday.

Comment by frankinchicago 03.29.07 @ 9:14 am

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