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February 19, 2012

LiveBlog: Try Again, USF-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,liveblog — Chas @ 11:57 am

Well, USF doesn’t play well away from Florida. Pitt just isn’t playing well. Something has to give.

I’m probably going to be DVR delayed. Traveling back from visiting family. So, SilverPanther in NYC will be taking the reigns tonight.

Odd time,at 7pm  but when Pitt gets to the ACC, there are those Sunday night games.

Everyone should know the rules by now. I’m a bit pressed for so time, hence brevity.

If you need to break the liveblog out from the site, Click Here.

Otherwise, just a little lower.





Pens lose, Mavs lose. Pitt better not….

Comment by TX Panther 02.19.12 @ 4:24 pm

Mavs lose? That’s Lin-sane!!!!!

As a die hard fan, I would be happy to see Gibbs and Robinson in street clothes tonight. But there is a better chance of me seeing Elvis at the Pete tonight than Dixon even considering reducing their minutes.

Silver, please block any comments about Taylor playing the four spot?

Comment by Boubacar aw 02.19.12 @ 5:59 pm

Sorry “then”

Comment by Boubacar aw 02.19.12 @ 6:00 pm

Damn, gotta switch from Beetlejuice.

Comment by steve1 02.19.12 @ 6:45 pm

Back to Beetlejuice

Comment by steve1 02.19.12 @ 7:04 pm

Damn I’m watching this golf sudden death cause this season is like the ski season.

Comment by Justin 02.19.12 @ 7:13 pm

I could find guys off the playgrounds,from JC gyms that could play better defense. Some of these guys are a disgrace to the game

Comment by Old School Panther 02.19.12 @ 8:16 pm

Once again no Gilbert, must be because the bigs are soooo! good.
Zanna is so weak it is unreal and the guards should buy a ticket.
Thank goodness for Jj or this would have been over long ago. This group should decline an NIT bid if it comes, watching them causes too much pain.

Comment by Jimbo 02.19.12 @ 8:44 pm

Just got home, really glad I missed of this sorry effort (if you could call it that)

No adjustments made after the 1rst meeting with USF.
Except they’re worse !

Comment by Emel 02.19.12 @ 8:53 pm

this is what it is

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.19.12 @ 9:01 pm

P.U.

Comment by Dan 02.19.12 @ 9:02 pm

I have never seen a jamie dixon pitt team this bad..no one can play defesne..our offense is terrible…i don’t see how it gets better this year…they have all quit..except moore…that kid needs to be on the floor all the time!!..he’s the only athlete we have

Comment by pitt-for-life 02.19.12 @ 9:03 pm

My wife was saying during the game that this team doesn’t pass like Pitt teams of the past. So if she notices it…

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.19.12 @ 9:04 pm

Proud to be a Panther! What a game! H2P. We actually have a chance to go above .500 this year! I’m gonna miss this senior class. Effort is ALWAYS there

Comment by Tony C 02.19.12 @ 9:05 pm

Three words: No team pride.

Comment by MariettaMike 02.19.12 @ 9:06 pm

Moore should play every minute of every game the rest of the way. If he would just drive a little more, his game would really take off. His defense seems to also be improving, can’t wait to see what he looks like next year.

Comment by Pitt Rob 02.19.12 @ 9:06 pm

Ash – 1/7, 1 assist , 1 TO
Tray – 1/4, 1 assist, 3 TO
Johnson – 3/5 (2/3 3 pt), 1 assist, 1 steal, 0 TO
JJ Moore – 8/14 (1/4 3 pt), 3 reb, 1 steal, 2 TO
Nas – 4/10, 11 reb, 3 ast, 1 TO
time to try a different starting lineup for the rest of the season

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.19.12 @ 9:08 pm

Actually kind of glad I missed that pathetic performance. 4 total points from Gibbs, Woody & Patterson. 4 or 5 total points from Sleepy & Zanna.

A season sweep by USF ! And the games weren’t even really that close in the 2nd half.

Like I said before, give Epps & Wright their walking papers, we really need 5 new & good players for next year. (we got two so far)

This team stunk so bad against wvcc on Thursday I didn’t even wear my traditional Pitt hat to happy hour at the local watering hole on Friday. ( I chose my Pirates hat, if u can believe, haha)
They were worse from the box score today, if that’s possible.

Hope springs eternal was reason for Pirate’s hat, but it’s also coming into play with PITT now, especially football. Meh

Comment by Emel 02.19.12 @ 9:10 pm

I hope that Gibbs, Woodall,Patterson and Nas are hurt because if that is their best effort, not much success will come for them in the future.What a brutal year this has been for the Pitt Athletic Community…and fans.

Comment by Dan 72 02.19.12 @ 9:14 pm

I agree with Dokish that this team will be better next year because of Steven Adams and addition by subtraction with Gibbs and Robinson. Yes, Ashton has had some big games this year, but seriously, 2 points in 27 minutes??? Is this team really going to miss that??? I continue to wonder if there wasn’t much more going on with this team behind the scenes than most know about (and maybe Birch was onto something). Ashton has acted nothing like a senior leader and still plays a ton – maybe others are seeing this and getting frustrated. Nas too – can’t do much other than turn the ball over yet he continues to play.

With Adams, I figure he could provide an eight-to-ten point improvement in overall points per game for this team simply because he won’t get his shot blocked five to six times a game or miss three to four layups a game. If he gets a pass in the block or an offensive rebound, he will dunk it. Seriously, Zanna and Taylor’s physical weakness has cost this team eight to ten points per game. Adams will make up for that.

I would love to see Coach Dixon send Epps on his way (and perhaps Wright), bring in another guard (preferably Chris Jones) and if he can get a power forward like the JC kid from Cali (Young), this team can win 25 games again and make the tourney. Call me stupid, but I trust Jamie.

Comment by Mac 02.19.12 @ 9:16 pm

Dixon and his staff are the blame for this year. They did not recruit a true center since McGhee until this season. McGhee was no high rank recruit but he was at least 6’9″ or taller and had a body frame that could add on weight and most importantly had played the low post in high school.

If they had recruited another McGhee, that should not be hard for a top program, 3 or 2 years ago Pitt could of had a legitimate center to a least bang inside and play defense (McGhee was no stud – and there were 50 or more of him they could have recruited).

Taylor might have been the talent he was in high school playing his natural position. Everyone mocks him cause he cannot play the 5. Anyone who plays basketball knows for many player gaining 20 pounds does more than cause physical problems for your body it severly reduces your quickness, and jumping ability.

After Dixon ruined his career I hope he allows him to go back to the 4 so he can drop the 20 pounds and if the skills he came to Pitt with are not completely eroded he will be be a 100 times more effective then Robinson who was a waste of a scholarship.

As for Gibbs if Pitt cannot find a guard to replace him from their current crop I would be shocked. Of the number of points he scores in a game you have to subtract 70% because of his presents on the floor. As for Woodall Robinson is a better ball player now than Woodall.

Woodall should be the 4th guard by Jan. I hope Dixon finally plays the best plays regardless of class standing and let them learn from experience so Pitt doe not comme in like a lion and out like a lamb next year.

Starting lineup Adams, Taylor,Moore, Robinson, Johnson.

Comment by dennis wagner 02.19.12 @ 9:17 pm

Let’s face it…this is more than simply a down year.

This is a team that has, shockingly, quit on its coach, its fans, its tradition, its university, and itself.

Comment by BATR 02.19.12 @ 9:17 pm

I trust Jamie implicitly. He played JJ Moore 31 minutes tonight. Johnson got 21 minutes and Dante got 19. Minutes were way down for Ash, Tray (early foul trouble) and Nas. Of the 3, only Nas showed any productivity (rebounds and assists up, turnovers down but also FG% down).

This team will be better next year. And, no matter what, Hail to Pitt.

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.19.12 @ 9:21 pm

Not gonna harp too much about this team, just too frustrating and too much wrong. One thing I will say though, is that I will not miss Ashton Gibbs next year. Not that he isnt talented, but at some point I would of liked him to show a little bit of leadership for this team. I dont think the kid has smiled in 3 years. These kids walk on and off the court so slow they almost miss their timeout cause their not to the sidelines yet. Leadership intangibles… hustle, enthusiasm, willingness to learn, unselfish attitude — by itself not gonna win you games, you still need talent and coaching, but these kids showed none of the above. Find me a smart little sparkplug of a pointguard that wants to win and watch this team improve.

Comment by Z-Boy 02.19.12 @ 9:25 pm

I know it has absolutely no chance of happening, but after tonight’s performance, I would LOVE to see Ashton benched for the next game and for Moore to start if for nothing else to send a message to everyone on that roster. Jaime needs to start sowing seeds for next year.

Comment by Mac 02.19.12 @ 9:26 pm

Pitt Basketball in 2011-2012 &%$#*

O.K. we all know that this team really stinks, however, the one thing that has been driving me bonkers is that it has quit on itself, coach and fans. Next year can’t come too soon.

Comment by isnore 02.19.12 @ 9:42 pm

I’ll give Dixon half credit for playing Moore and Johnson more. But where the motherf@#$ing hell is Gilbert??!!!!! Watching Zanna in the paint makes me want to put puppies in a blender. Taylor could not tear a wet paper towel if my 9 year old put a starter rip in it! And yet the only true center on the squad has his haunches crazy-glued to the pine??!!

It — along with the pathetic excuse for senior Division 1 basketball participants that are Nas and Gibbs — makes me want to wretch, repeatedly.

Comment by Carmen 02.19.12 @ 9:46 pm

Last 4 games this team has averaged 53 ppg. They are literally crawling to the finish line.

Moore, not my favorite player admittedly(however if he keeps improving), is a fresh body and tonight he had the most points out of the SF position, ALL YEAR. Maybe the best game out that position ALL YEAR, since he got no other help, he scored almost half of the team’s points.

Question…..why did it take until game 28 for him to see extended minutes. Of course if they’re all going to stand around and watch him play, his 20 wouldn’t matter. But seriously, the 28th game of the year. This team has been offensively challenged other than the two fluke games when Woody was playing like Jerry West or the Big O.

At this point, let’s see who can play for next year. The NIT would just mean letting the upperclassmen get their minutes(and it’s the NIT, whoopee). And it’s prolly a stretch if they even finish above .500. Get some fresh bodies in there and see what we got ! Meaning Gilbert, Johnson, Moore, with Woody & see if Patterson can play the 4 or Sleepy.

Put Gibbs & Nas on the bench for the rest of the regular season, to rest up and such, and maybe they regain what they lost to make a run in the BE tourny.

HTP !
VEV !

Comment by Emel 02.19.12 @ 9:57 pm

Has anyone looked at any videos of Taylor in high school (McDonalds All-American game). If you did you know why he made that team. When he was 6’9″ and 220 he was quick off his feet, and with his feet and could put the ball on the floo and finish.

Dixon screwed him and Birch saw the same thing coming, except birch would only have had to sacrifice one year not a career as Taylor has. The videos I have seen of Adams aginst the best centers in the country and Robinson deonstrate that neither of them are typical Pitt recruits, i.e., projects.

Robinson has been received better coaching in H.S., and I hope Dixon does not screw him up. Adams is an frek and if he can get some coaching and playing time by March he double/doubles should be another day at the office for him.

Dixon’s failure to recuit a center of even McGhee’s caliber destroyed this team. Adams will bail him out next year but even if he stays two years what then.

Comment by drw 02.19.12 @ 10:37 pm

So how many times are you going to blast us with the same opinion over and over and how many user names are you going to use?

The center position is not the downfall of this team and Taylor has had problems adapting to playing at this level of play- regardless of what position he plays. No one has been screwed except the fans. Get over it.

Comment by SilverPanther in NYC 02.19.12 @ 11:13 pm

A season sweep from USF?

Good thing we didn’t play Depaul twice, I can only imagine how embarrassing it would’ve been to get swept by them in both games too!!

This was bound to happen. You miss on a couple recruits, you get an unhappy kid that transfers, and then throw in a little injury and you get a shitty season.

I’m actually surprised we’ve been lucky that this is the first time it’s happened to Pitt over the last decade. We’ve actually been fortunate.

I believe even the mighty Tarheels and Huskies had down seasons and missed the tournament back in 2010-11.

Comment by Jimbo Covert's My Dad 02.19.12 @ 11:40 pm

Taylor might have been the talent he was in high school playing his natural position. Everyone mocks him cause he cannot play the 5. Anyone who plays basketball knows for many player gaining 20 pounds does more than cause physical problems for your body it severly reduces your quickness, and jumping ability.
Comment by dennis wagner 02.19.12 @ 9:17 pm

You know, you are spot on, more than likely dennis. I noticed when I started putting on weight, like 20 pounds, my jumping ability lessened, my knees started giving me problems, my back same thing. And I lost the quickness on defense I had. Never had much on offense as I was more a long distance shooter. Sleepy can hardly get up some games, getting shots blocked by guards and such. He has shown in limited touches he can shoot the rock.

Yes, since we know he can’t play the 5, would be nice to see him drop 20 pounds, and see if he can play his natural position, next year. Probably would have to help his knees and jumping ability. Hopefully it is not too late, if nothing else he seems like a nice kid who stays out of trouble. No reason to keep sticking a round peg in a square hole. You got Adams & Gilbert, two natural Centers for that position next year.

Comment by Emel 02.19.12 @ 11:51 pm

@Jimbo Covert’s My Dad – I thought I heard the announcers say this is Duke’s fifth season in a row with 10 or more wins in the ACC. Considering this is our first season without 10 BE wins after 10 years in a row, I think we will survive.

I also noticed that in 1994-95, Coach K’s 15th season and year after they went to the National Championship game (and 2 years after they won their second of back-to-back national championships, they went 13 and 18, finishing 9th in the ACC with a 2 and 14 record.

It happens. Pitt will be back. Hail to Pitt.

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.20.12 @ 12:05 am

This was the perfect storm for a terrible year, but is the damage limited to one year or is the program’s standard of living in permanent drop? It’s 50 / 50 that Dixon can bring the program back. He proved he could keep it on track with all the components of assistants / recruiters in place, but they’re gone and Dixon’s deficiencies, which contributed to the failure of National Championship quality teams to make the final four are significantly responsible for this year’s disaster. Birch leaving, Taylor being mismanaged to the extent that his knee issues have been exacerbated, Gibb’s attitude and poor evaluation of limited kids are on Dixon.

Some of you guys drink the kool aid, not me. Dixon will be untouchable next year, but not if we don’t transition well into the ACC

Comment by Old School Panther 02.20.12 @ 6:11 am

I agree with other Pitt blogger’s that Jamie should start playing next year’s starters from here on out including the BE tournament. But that won’t happen. Jamie will continue playing his regular starting lineup out of allegiance to his players.

I can accept Pitt losing when there is effort and hustle but last night was a continuation of poor ball movement which turned into poor shots and no toughness under the boards. This team just wants to get the season over with and so do I.

Comment by MariettaMike 02.20.12 @ 6:53 am

Being down here in the middle of ACC country, several ACC people from different schools were telling me last fall, that a lot of them were not happy that two excellent basketball programs were entering the ACC. (Pitt & Cuse) You know, more competition for those elusive NCAA, the Big Dance slots. This being ACC country they are much more into hoops than football.

So that makes me wonder, like maybe PITT’s ACC bid was contingent on PItt basketball having a few down years, so that the ACC folks would be more acceptable/agreeable, less apprehensive of only 1 really good team, Cuse and one mediocre team, us.

I know it sounds far fetched, but it’s not like we lost any NBA stars from last year’s team, which was what.. 30-5 and a #1 NCAA tournament seed. And this team plays such poor fundamental basketball, it belies belief. Did they all just suddenly forget how to play basketball?

Comment by Emel 02.20.12 @ 7:19 am

A lot of kids display skill in high school. YouTube is full of them, including kids winning “skill contests.” I’m tired of hearing about Taylor’s skill. If you’re not good enough to show flashes of it at the center position, after getting bigger and stronger, then I’m not holding my breath about him being a star anywhere else.

Comment by JW 02.20.12 @ 8:03 am

EMEL you and I had similiar experiences. I still play basketball at 60 and I notice that guys who I play against with no fundamental skills can destry me even though I played high school basketball at a 5A school and mde the all-conference team. The reason is at6’1″ I am now 204 ilbs. and the guy I play with who is 64, never played BB is my height at 175 lbs. He is retired and spends his days working out and playing ball at the gym.

When I was 40 at a 170 pounds I could still touch the rim, hang in the air and shot a jump shot.

Dixon ruined Taylor and Birch say the same train coming. Dixon’s style, treat everyone the same, and not move players from their comfortable positions is contrary to Conneticut and Syracuse.
This year may have been the end of an era. Adams was under the radar or we probably would not have got him. No 5 star strong forward will ever come to Pitt again. And most of the best big men in HS are 6,8 and 6,9 looking to hone their skills for the NBA.

At Pitt they may have to play center or sit their freshman year behind a player like Robinson who is not a D! player.

EMEL I am afraid we answered why Pitt will lay the egg rather than take the golden egg home.

Comment by drw 02.20.12 @ 8:10 am

I attended last night as saw and sensed the following:

No heart, no confidence, no defense, no will to win, minimal effort, no leadership.

I am not smart enough to tell you if this malaise will last, but I can tell you this, there is very little raw talent on this team heading into 2012-2013. In the past, that has not been that big a deal as Pitt has won with grit and a defense that would never give up.

Pitt can not make up for lack of effort with talent and I don’t carfe what freshman comes in. The challenge for Dixon will be to turn a losing mentality (which this team clearly has…they certainly expect to lose) into a winning one.

It is best to end this season without the pretense of an NIT or some other post season scrimmage…

Steve Blass had an easier time getting his head together than Jamie Dixon will have getting his players to think, and act, like winners.

Comment by SFPitt 02.20.12 @ 8:12 am

Maybe I am crazy but I liked what I saw from Epps. He is a better ball handler and passer than Gibbs right now. He was the first one to get the ball to Moore who got to the foul line and got into the game. He clearly wants to play and he doesn’t get in in the second half. Gibbs should never play the point again. He can’t dribble he can’t find the open man and he can’t complete a pass.

I love Jamie, but he has lost the team. How has Moore been on the bench all year? This is the worst defensive team in the Big East. A true freshman guard kicked the crap out of us.

It is time to let the youngsters play. Bench the seniors.

Comment by gc 02.20.12 @ 8:43 am

JJ Moore has the most talent on this team but is forced to come off the bench. He is the kind of player who needs to play 30 min. a night. He was carrying this team last night and had the place rocking a few times. After being the best player in the 1st half he did not start the 2nd half because of the rotation. I don’t understand that.

As for Epps what has he done for alot of you to think he should hit the door. He is the only other point guard on this team. He moves the ball well, pushes it up the floor and made some nice passes last night when he was in the game. He is only a RS Freshman but here again he needsplaying time. Of course he is afraid to shoot because he may miss and get pulled. No one had an uglier shot last night than Collins from USF but he was their leading scorer.

As for Taylor I agree that he is totally out of positon and his knees are so bad that he cannot even jump. There is a huge difference in playing with your back to the basket as oppossed to straight up and it is something that some players cannot adapt to. Taylor and Zanna cannot play with their backs to the basket. That is the bottom line they will never be decent centers and should have never been put in that position. Look at how well Zanna played last year when he subed for Robinson in the early season. Wasn’t he the MVP in that one tournament. He is just not a center.

Just hope for better things next year and chaulk this up to a totally lost year in Pitt sports.

Comment by JP 02.20.12 @ 8:57 am

JP, before this game he hadn’t shown much. Moore was in a huge shooting slump leading into their last game. Maybe, this was a wake up call for him but he’s fooled us in the past too. He has two more years in the program and Pitt really needs him to step up his game next year. Hopefully, he can build off of this game but his entire career has been marked with inconsistency so far. To say he should have been playing 30 mins a game based off of his performance on the season is a bit much. One game at a time. If he continues to perform his PT will rise as well.

I do believe that he may be the most important piece on the current roster to build on next year but he has to do it night in and night out.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 02.20.12 @ 9:08 am

OK…let’s slow down a second. Yes, JJ has tantalizing skills, but he is very raw and often displays really poor mechanics. Loved his spark last night and he deserved to start the second half, but let’s not forget he’s the same JJ that went 4-31 from behind the arc until breaking out of that epic slump against WVU. Reality tell us he has played like a Redshirt Freshman this year and that he has all kinds of potential to be a really good player at this level in the future. But, he also didn’t do a whole hell of a lot to earn additional playing time earlier in the season. 30 min a night is a little much JP.

Comment by ECH 02.20.12 @ 9:13 am

TT, you and I were thinking the same thing…you just have faster fingers!

Comment by ECH 02.20.12 @ 9:14 am

jj moore is in the same position gilbert brown was. hes the key to it all. next year, if all goes like it should, jj moore and james robinson will be the first two off the bench and moore would have a dion waiters type of effect on pitt–instant play-making.

Comment by pk 02.20.12 @ 9:19 am

What can anyone say. This just isn’t a very good team. I was surprised at the begining of the 2nd half when J.J. Moore and Johnson were on the bench. I guess the Panther run before halftime to get back into the game was too good to let continue. Oh well, at least J.J. Moore desplayed some of his long anticipated athleticism. That’s something they despertly need have in the line-up.
I would like to see more of him in the remaining games.

Comment by Justinian 02.20.12 @ 9:34 am

I love Jamie, consider me a Jamie apologist.

One thing does concern me, his allegiance to his players just because they’ve been there.

Maybe this is over blown??? I don’t know.

But if Adams and Robinson are as good as they say, they should be on the court immediately.

I see it all over the country, true freshman and redshirt freshman playing, and starting.

I hope Steven Adams doesn’t sit on the bench behind Malcolm Gilbert because he’s “raw”, “has a lot to learn”, and Malcolm has “worked hard”.

PLAY YOUR 5 BEST PLAYERS!!!!!!!!!!!

Comment by Dan 02.20.12 @ 9:35 am

Hate to say it but a big part of the losing mentality will be gone next year with no.12.
I’ll go to battle with JJ any day, he’s one guy that has had a great attitude and energy all year, even though his performances have been up and down. And to think some were worried about his attitude if he didn’t get enough minutes, etc. Ideally in my opinion he can make the leap and either start or get more minutes than Patterson, whose ceiling is limited.

Comment by JW 02.20.12 @ 9:37 am

CAVEAT. If they come in and they really aren’t ready, I understand that. But, if they come in and are head and shoulders above the others, they should be on the court. That was my point.

It does happen, lots of freshman all over the country playing!!

Comment by Dan 02.20.12 @ 9:38 am

The key for JJ is to NOT settle for jumpers. He needs to get going by driving to the hoop. He did that twice last night and drew fouls. Then he got some confidence, he started playing with energy, he got back to back highlight reel dunks and he was off to the races.

I think Jamie took the aggressivenes out of JJ early in his career. It is hard to play your best hoops, especially when you play like JJ, when you know if you make a mistake you’re coming out. Jamie has him on the shortest leash.

Last night JJ hit a tough turnaround jumper. I thought Dixon’s head was going to explode. He was furious. He turned to Pat Sandle and started to go ballistic, then calmed down (maybe because JJ hit the shot). But it tells you that JJ drives Dixon nuts, and nothing he can do is right. That’s tough for a wing nut like JJ.

JJ is going to have to play a lot next year. There’s no question he will be one of the best five. Jamie needs to figure out how to get him to fit. It starts with looking to drive first and shoot only after he’s rolling…..

He needs to be a finisher. So if that means coming off the bench and playing with J. Robinson (who can get him opportunites going to the basket) next year, that’s fine. But he needs to get starter minutes in that role.

Comment by boubacar aw 02.20.12 @ 9:45 am

Searging for sanity and answers! Saw a comment that Gibbs “hates” Johnson and refused last night to hit him with a pass….so I went back and watched again. I saw two occasions of that behavior but the half-assed way Gibbs is playing, who knows whether he even saw him open.

And one more thing on Gibbs…did anyone else cringe last night when Gibbs again drove the middle, only to be tied up and lose posession?
He has made a habit of that…

Last but not least…as bad as this Pitt team is, when you cannot score, every defensive mistake looms large…think we lose the next three and end this nightmare.

Comment by Dan 72 02.20.12 @ 11:02 am

The more talent you get the more they do not fit the system. You were right that Dixon was furious with JJ last night when he took that shot. If he would have missed it he would have been pulled. Your right he was in a shooting slump but how much of that can be being afraid to make a mistake and then getting pulled. Next year will be interesting to see if Jamie lets them play or tries to structure everything around the system. Although the system works you need the players that buy into it which is harder to do as the raw talent increases.

Comment by JP 02.20.12 @ 11:11 am

Next year this COULD be the best lineup. I am not saying this will be or even should be the starting five. But it is the combination that has the most potential.

Center: Adams
Forwards: Moore, Patterson
Guards: J Johnson, Robinson

Offense: Run pick and roll with Adams and Robinson. Adams showed me more pick and roll ability in the HS game in Ambridge than I have seen in 10 years of centers at Pitt. He has really good hands and an ability to finish at the rim. Robinson has a great handle. If they over play Adams on the roll, Robinson can get free and create for the others. Johnson can knock down the open three. Moore can to the rim and Patterson can also knock down the open shot or get to the basket.

This group should also take care of the ball, none of those guys are turnover prone.

Defense: Adams will be a force in the middle. He can clean up a lot of mistakes. Patterson can bump with a PF in the lane, especially with Adams there to help. Robinson can gaurd the bigger gaurd, Johnson is likely to be able to stay in front of a quick guard. And Moore has the athletic ability to stay with most SF’s.

Rebounding: Robinson is an exceptional rebounder for a gaurd. Johnson is quick enough to get to loose ones. Adams will attract a lot of attention. Patterson and Moore can both board.

There will be enough size and athleticism in that five at 7′, 6’5″, 6’5″, 6’3″ and 6’1″.

Zanna, Woodall, and Gilbert will be big contributors too(a couple of them should even start). The rest (Taylor, Epps, Wright, D. Johnson) should have to fight for scraps.

Comment by boubacar aw 02.20.12 @ 11:12 am

I meant that UConn and UNC missed the tourney in 09-10… UConn, of course, won the national title in 11! Sorry, it was late.

Yeah, I don’t put a ton of stock in Youtube highlight videos. I could look good playing YMCA pickup b-ball if you shot enough footage of the few good plays I made and edited out that other 99% of me screwing up!!

I do think that Taylor was always more comfortable at the 4 though, since day 1. Birch, the supposed power forward, was actually coming along at the 5 when he quit. I thought that would give us a good chance to try Taylor back where he belonged, cut back Robinson’s minutes, and give us some real size in the frontcourt.

Wow… nothing has gone right this year.

I know it sounds like an excuse, but I really think Birch quitting hurt this team, as much and possibly more than Woodall’s injury.

Remember the early loss to LBSU, then we started playing Khem more and the team came around. Actually was winning handily for awhile after Woodall was injured, and he was only going to keep improving.

Oh well, I just want this nightmare to end.

Comment by Jimbo Covert's My Dad 02.20.12 @ 11:16 am

The root of this teams problems on offense and defense can be found under the basket. In a nutshell, we miss and give up too many shots near the basket. Correct that and the poor perimeter shooting is manageable. For this reason alone I think Adams will start or play equal minutes with the starter to begin the season, and then be the starter for BE play…Woodall will be the PG, and he should be.

Comment by HbgFrank 02.20.12 @ 12:02 pm

boubacar, no way in hell would i start james robinson at pg over tra unless robinson is an absolute monster. starting 5 will likely be tra, johnson, patterson, zanna, and adams with jj moore and james robinson the first two off the bench.

Comment by pk 02.20.12 @ 12:03 pm

No way is Woodall not our starting PG next year. Robinson may spell him or get time with Trey at SG. But I think Trey’s starting at PG.

He’ll be a senior and a guy that’s worked his entire career earning his spot. Dixon just will not giv that up to a freshman no matter how good that freshman may be.

Besides, we have no idea how Robinson will translate to D1A ball. I’m optimistic. There will nonetheless be an adjustment period, and he won’t be ready to start point until at earliest mid-year. At which point it will be too late to disrupt whatever system is inplace then with Woodall at PG.

On Moore: He’s shown the most consistent effort of anyone on the floor the past 5 games. Not to say guys like Patterson, Woodall, Nas, Wright or Johnson have half-assed it. But Moore hasn’t really taken plays off or lost focus where as each of the guys above have.

I’m surprised to write that sentence as anyone it to read it but its true. He’s looked worse than he actually has been, only because he’s not found his outside shot yet. Everything else is more or less in place. He just needs to find is shot and/or have a clear message as to what his role is so he can get into a groove. He’s only a Sophomore. His career trajectory is going the right direction. Its a good thing (maybe the only good thing of the last few games).

Alos that shot that pissed Dixon off last night — I could be wrong but I don’t think Moore had any choice but to shoot it that way when he did. It had to happen. The clock was running. So if Dixon was pissed about it, it means Dixon just unjustifiably hates Moore and is looking for reasons to be upset.

I’m a huge Dixon fan — but there is a flaw in the coach-player dynamic here and I think its more Dixon than Moore. (imagine if he treated Gibbs the same way. Gibbs would be getting 10 minutes a game for how poor his decisions and lackadaisical his effort has been).

Nonetheless, the future remains bright I believe, so long as Dixon does indeed play his best players in their optimal positions next year. (I support the “let Dante play PF” movement on here….especially if he starts adjusting that way now.)

Comment by PantherP 02.20.12 @ 12:12 pm

I saw Slice sitting behind the bench at the Seton Hall game…is there any chance we can get him back into the fold?

Comment by ECH 02.20.12 @ 12:29 pm

From watching Adams play on tape, I think he has a long way to go on the defensive aspect of the game. However, his offensive game is pretty solid. I hope Pitt will run sets designed to get the ball down low next year, which is something they really didn’t do much of this season.

Comment by The Incline 02.20.12 @ 1:06 pm

Incline, Adams defense can not be any worse than Zanna/Taylor this year. Jamie needs to throw him in immediately.
I liked last night that the announcers were not afraid to get on the Pitt kids for the lack of effort and sloppy play, too often that has gone unsaid.
The next pass Trey throws to the other team should get him a seat next to Dixon, and Naz should join him when he starts his spinaroody crap before a turnover or blocked shot.

Comment by Jimbo 02.20.12 @ 1:16 pm

Some thoughts;
If you don’t go the games you don’t see the introductions. This is the first Pitt team I have seen that acts like they don’t want to play. They just walk out, no jumping around, high fives or any enthusiasm at all.
Gibbs was told he needed to improve his ball handling and driving so he worked hard to do this but he just doesn’t have the talent and this took away from what he can do, shoot.
We don’t have finishers. Last night we had 1 less offensive rebound but 10 less points as a result. Note; we lost by 9.

Comment by Pitt Letterman 02.20.12 @ 1:17 pm

Robinson could start next year but not in place of Tray — Woodall could slide over to the 2 spot. I actually like that idea, put your two best guys on the floor, and I think Tray has the offensive skill to fit. I think he can be a lot more efficient if he doesn’t have the ball in his hands 100 percent of the time. (Cut down on TOs, etc.) I do agree that it is unlikely, because that may seem like a “slight” to Woodall, but it really would be the best option in my opinion.

Comment by JW 02.20.12 @ 1:42 pm

Where does Durand fit in all this? I hear he’s the best pure shooter on the team. I assume that he’s going to get time at the 2.

Comment by longsufferingpittfan 02.20.12 @ 2:15 pm

Wasn’t Moore’s turnaround jumper a desperation buzzer beater? Why would Jamie be ticked off about that?

Comment by gc 02.20.12 @ 3:06 pm

Agree with most of you. Woodall, even healthy, does not have the quickness we need at point guard. That is why I had hoped many times that JJohnson would get a shot there. Quickest on our team. Woodall would be a very good 2 guard. Re-watching him today, in last night’s game, he really looks hurt…cannot execute a simple defensive slide without wincing or reaching…thus Collins “owned” him last night.
Taylor can only be a 4, Moore at the 3,Johnson backing up Tray at he 2 or playing the 2 when he gives our new point guard a spell. While most all of our problems eminate from lack of play under the basket, Adams can only help. Still cannot get over teams driving our middle whether we are in zone or man. Either defense, it’s inexcusable in any basketball game.

Comment by Dan 72 02.20.12 @ 3:17 pm

Durand Johnson is 6’6″. I think that makes him, at first glance, more of a swing man than a SG.

That said, he’s apparantly a phenomal pure shooter, but lacks the dribble-driving that the position calls for.

I think its conceivable for him to play a SG. And it may be a good idea. Consider: Our SFs may be our brightest spot (of returning players) with the highest upside. It’ll be hard for Durand to steal minutes from Moore or Patterson.

Also, one thing that seems a problem to me is the lack of length in our back court, which seems to have opened up 3pt shooting against in a bad way. I’d like to see our back court get a little longer. D. Johnson would do that.

The idea of John Johnson and Woodall as our back court is not pretty. The ave height would be 6ft even (Woodall 5’11″, J.Johnson 6’1″, both measurements exaggerate their height).

D Johnson is apparently not a great ball handler either, which could be hidden if everyone else is in natural positions and he’s just coming off screens like Gibbs did in his hey day.

He can take Cam Wrights minutes. Dixon will have an issue at SG next year, between J.Johnson, D. Johnson and C. Wright, depending on if he needs quickness, length, offense or defense.

In any case, I D Johnson being this years Cam Wright in terms of amount and type of minutes.

Comment by PantherP 02.20.12 @ 4:03 pm

Comment by giveitarest 02.20.12 @ 5:02 pm

Hopefully with Gibbs playing in Russia next year, Dixon will walk the walk and play the best defenders.

Not sure who Durand can guard at this point. He is not strong enough to guard three’s and not quick enough to defend two’s.

Comment by Boubacar Aw 02.20.12 @ 5:57 pm

@giveitarest. Good article, I know Ben’s been on the hot seat.

Entertaining, ehhh, when you win, doesn’t really matter. If you go 27-5, it’s pretty entertaining.

Our system may not be that entertaining, but, I don’t know, watching Fields, Young and Blair, pretty entertaining every night.

Winning makes everything palatable!!

Comment by Dan 02.20.12 @ 5:59 pm

“right now, I would say pittsburgh, rutgers, ohio state, florida, oregon, and clemson are on me the hardest.”
- robert foster

This is great news. Its widely believed, especially by dokish, that pitt has the inside track and that if they match the effort given by ohio state, pitt will most likely get him. It appears pitts doing that. I hope it pays off.

Comment by Pk 02.20.12 @ 6:19 pm

“Four-star quarterback prospect malik zaire visited pitt on monday and raved about the experience.” the article is entitled ” ‘a great experience’ “

Comment by Pk 02.20.12 @ 6:23 pm

Both offense and defense was a problem against USF. Woodall and Gibbs didn’t even show up.

Comment by gdodson 02.20.12 @ 7:54 pm

I think next year’s team may be the best we’ve ever had. Now I’m not saying they will be for sure, but it’s certainly possible. Pitt could possibly have 3 bonafide NBA players on their roster next year(Adams, Robinson, Moore). Now that may seem like a stretch, but it’s definitely possible. If Moore finds his inner Sam Young, this team might be really good. Also if Robinson and Adams both turn out to be studs, you’d have 2 great players at the 2 most important positions. In this scenario, the players this year(minus Moore) can go back to doing what they do best, being role players. Once again this isn’t me saying this will definitely happen, but it is more than possible.

Comment by Pitt Rob 02.20.12 @ 8:15 pm

Before this season i thought that 2012 would be pitts best team, like you said. However, im not sure i still feel that way. I think losing gibbs and robinson helps the team more than it hurts. Addition by subraction. Shooting guard is my greatest concern for pitt. I didnt used to like the idea of woodall moving to the two spot, but its growing on me. I think that would help on both sides of the ball. Offense: more scoring, more scoring threats, multiple ball handlers, less turnovers. Defense: two lockdown defenders (when healthy). Itd also add another leader into the mix. My other question is at pf. Zanna and taylor dont have the size/toughness to play the 5 and they dont have the skills to play the 4. This is why i think pitt should add a shooting guard and a juco power forward. Yes, theyd oversign by 1, but i dont think you can argue that pitt needs more talent and depth.

Comment by Pk 02.20.12 @ 8:38 pm

I think next year’s team may be the best we’ve ever had. Now I’m not saying they will be for sure, but it’s certainly possible.
Comment by Pitt Rob 02.20.12 @ 8:15 pm

Calm down Pitt Rob, take a valium or a strong drink on the rocks. No women drinks. haha (just kidding dude) Your reasoning is filled with “ifs” which means a lot of question marks. We had DeJuan Blair, Sam Young & LeVance Fields all coming back in 2008, the Elite 8 year. They weren’t if’s, they were all proven commodities.

Same thing in 1988 with proven players, Charles Smith, Jerome Lane & Demetrious Gore & Rod Brookin. All proven commodities.

Same thing in 1974 with proven players, Billy Knight, Mickey Martin, Keith Starr, Jim Bolla, Kirk Bruce & Tom Richards. This team won 22 straight games and is probably PITT’s best team ever. IMO As Billy Knight was PITT’s best Pro player ever, no question.

Now who is coming back from this year’s team to be on next year’s team. Dante Taylor, Talib Zanna, Travon Woodall, Johnson (2), Moore, Gilbert, Patterson. None of those players other than Woodall is a proven commodity and he’s very loose with the ball, so where exactly do you play him.
He’s a turnover machine at PG.

What the more likely scenario is; they begin unranked and work their way into the Top 25 by the middle of January. Provided Adams & Robinson & who ever else (and there better be a couple else’s) are immediate impact players. Because with what they got now, it ain’t(emphasis) happening.

Veritas et Virtus !

Comment by Emel 02.20.12 @ 9:08 pm

Btw, those returning players in 2008, 1988 were ALL STAR players. Nobody coming back in 2012 is anywhere close to any of those players.

The 1974 team only had one true star, Bily Knight but they played the phenomenal amoeba defense and had played several years together, so they were very tight as a group. Had they not had to play eventual National Champion NC State on virtually their home court in NC, they would have made the Final 4 and quite possibly won it.

Comment by Emel 02.20.12 @ 9:15 pm

Have any of you coaches out there ever figured out the amoeba? I have watched it a hundred times and still cannot figure out the defense.

Comment by Dan 72 02.20.12 @ 9:41 pm

Played league ball against Moon Knight, he was rehabing a knee. His team was Black Flash and a few football players were on it, Dave Garnett, Bryant Salter. Lost 57-32(?). Think Billy became ABA scoring Champ. That 74 team was a great team, so was that 88 team. Wish Evans had someone foul Goheen. Wish Dixon called called TO when J Dixon got trapped by Villanova. Wish Dixon pulled his guys from the lane on Brown’s 2nd FT, especially that numb skull who can neither dribble, shoot or make a free throw.

Comment by Old School Panther 02.20.12 @ 9:50 pm

Emel, no doubt. I am not inclined to believe that everything I said could happen, will happen. The possibility is there though. Young saw the light in his junior year, maybe Moore will as well. If my scenario plays out, I think we would all be very pleased. Let’s hope! HAIL TO PITT

Comment by Pitt Rob 02.20.12 @ 10:07 pm

I’m not even sure a serious discussion of Zanna at the 4 can be entertained. Yes, he can hit a 15 foot jump shot on occasion. And that’s about where his skill set for the PF appears to end, no? I don’t believe he has any ball handling skills, the few times I’ve seen him go to the rim he is clearly unsure of how to finish.

Taylor looks like a shell of a player right now. I seriously wonder if he will transfer. I know he’s going to be a senior and I guess he’d have to sit out, but seems to me a fresh start at a smaller school where he would be given a shot at PF might be in order.

As others have said, a juco transfer at PF seems like an absolute necessity.

Moore can make a big leap next year, but he needs to do a few things. First, he must shore up his mechanics. Fails to get set on the jumper too often, feet all over the place. Great to see him driving, but once he gets in the lane, he is expecting contact and shying away from it, fading instead attacking the rim. He got the fouls, but some of those could have been and one if he goes at the rim strong. And he’ll have to improve his D, although that’s gotten better.

I have no idea what happened to Patterson. He and Sleepy must be eating from the same cereal bowl or something.

Comment by Carmen 02.20.12 @ 10:14 pm

not quite Roc bottom yet… but we’re getting there

Comment by DeVanzo 02.21.12 @ 9:15 am

and by the way, another reason why I will never shed a tear when Dixon leaves

every single team Howland put on the court had an identity… that is the sign of a good coach

can someone please explain how Dixon has coached this team in any way? They are so awful and do not play with consistency or intensity on defense…

Comment by DeVanzo 02.21.12 @ 9:17 am

I’ll shed a tear when Dixon leaves because who would replace him? Do you you really think we’ll get a better coach? 9 successful years, with some disappointment in the tourny is better than rarely making the tourny and reverting 15yrs.

Admittedly, Dixon does need to adjust things a little. If it aint broke don’t fix it, and it wasn’t until about 10 games in this year when the whole thing fell apart.

Biggest problem here is one that started a few years back – we didn’t have an actual center. Not one that fits our scheme. The scheme didn’t change and we tried to shoe-horn Taylor into the role, hurting both the PF and the C position. But this is turning around. We have at least 3 more years of decent to very good Centers (Adams/Gilbert).

PF will absolutely benefit from a good center and we have the parts — if not Zanna, then Moore/Patterson and maybe even Taylor.

I think we can basically stay the course re – personnel and be much better next year.

Comment by PantherP 02.21.12 @ 9:47 am

Right, and Howland’s team this year has an identity too: a group of malcontents and quitters.

Not to diminish Howland as a coach, because it’s obvious he is exceptional in many areas. More to reinforce the idea that this type of slide happens even to renowned programs and high profile coaches. It’s been an awful season, but let’s see (hopefully not) one or two more before shoving everyone out the door.

Comment by JW 02.21.12 @ 10:10 am

I caught the The Street Stops Here documentary about St Anthony’s High School. Woodall’s in it. He showed leadership skills but I wish we would have gotten Tyshawn Taylor also…

Comment by Pittastic 02.21.12 @ 10:40 am

I won’t cry for Ben Howland. For all intents and purposes the man treated the University and his players the same way Todd Grahmn did on his way out the door. Except Grahmn actully did ask for permission to speak with ASU. Don’t forget, Ben Howland signed a six year contract extention shortly before his last season as Pitt’s Head Coach. Then by that seasons end without a word to the University President, the AD, or his players he is out the door and in front of an LA news conference. It seems his “dream job” is a bit of a nightmare for now.

Comment by HbgFrank 02.21.12 @ 12:40 pm

I don’t see marked improvement on the horizon for this program.

Adams will help and we all have to pray he stays more than one year, but his play, like any freshman’s, will be uneven and Pitt will be lucky to get 10-12 pts and 8 boards a night out of him.

Anyone thinking Woodall is going to play the 2 guard is nuts. He’s going to start at PG and be the same sub-par PG he is now, physically overmatched almost every night in the Big East.

Moore will score 12-14 ppg and Patterson will distribute, but every minute they’re on the floor is a minute you give up on defense, because Patterson’s too slow and unathletic to play any and Moore is too clueless to play any.

There’s no answer at shooting guard. There just isn’t one on the roster, which is simply amazing. Maybe Durand Johnson will come out of nowhere, but I just don’t see it happening.

The game will look much faster to James Robinson and he’ll get backup minutes at the point and help as the season progresses and John Johnson will play some backup minutes at SG and maybe provide some bench scoring.

Taylor and Zanna will both continue to stink. Unfortunately, given Dixon’s system, they’ll both continue to get minutes,either subbing for Adams or playing the four. Mark McCarroll or Jaime Peterson or Chad Varga would be better and maybe some of you remember how bad they were. maybe Gilbert redshirts in order to come back with more eligibility after Adams leaves.

The whole thing is a clusterf___. The roster needs an overhaul. This is not a one year lapse.

Comment by hugh green 02.21.12 @ 12:59 pm

I have enjoyed every minute of the revivial of Pitt’s Golden Age of Men’s Basketball. It was a great run. It’s over.

Comment by Old School Panther 02.21.12 @ 1:19 pm

It’s only over, if Dixon is too stubborn to feel like he needs to hire a top notch assistant. Bring in some fresh ideas, some new offensive sets and a maybe some new defenses. You don’t have to junk the whole entire system, maybe tweak it here and there. And of course you should always be looking for a guy who can recruit elite players.
If we can figure out how to use them. haha

I really don’t want to see 7 footer Steve Adams chasing around players on the perimeter, lightyears away from the hoop. And then getting caught on a ball screen trying to guard a much quicker player.

Still trying to figure out why Gilbert’s redshirt was burned, since he hardly played in the part of the season he should have, the non-con. And I believe he had played a total of 5 minutes thru late December. I don’t see how you can now redshirt him next year since that means Sleepy or Zanna are the back up centers. No thanks.

But we have two strong recruits coming so far, we also need a real PF and a good SG and another good player. So 2 current players need shown the door.
Nice knowing ya Isiah & Cameron. Or get a pell grant and walk on.

If all else fails we can always put another new roof on The Pete ! Maybe buy a charter jet for our trips to ACC country !

Comment by Emel 02.21.12 @ 1:50 pm

There isn’t one player on this roster who is a rock solid starter next year. Not one! How does that happen to an elite program? I’m not talking a complete package, I’m talking one guy that can defend and has specfic ball skills like shooting, handling & passing. This team is the sum total of the individual deficiencies. If Dixon can bring the program back in one year from this debacle he’s a wizard. If one year from now we’re still scratching our heads, more questions than answers and longing for great Pitt basketball Dixon’s run at Pitt may be over.

Comment by Old School Panther 02.21.12 @ 4:51 pm

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