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February 26, 2012

It really is strange as a fan to feel like it is just playing out the string at this point. Not the team. I am sure most of them haven’t checked out on the season yet. They want to keep playing. Trying to prove that it was more about nagging injuries and bad luck that made this such a frustrating and disappointing season.

Yet, as a fan, it’s different. We know the NCAA Tournament is out. The NIT is weak consolation — and even that is guaranteed at the moment. Maybe there’s some excitement for the Big East Tournament. After all, it has been a while since Pitt even won a game at it. But these final three games. Who knows? At this point I want to see Nas and Gibbs finish with some good. I want to see more of Moore and Gilbert for the future. Maybe even a little more time for John Johnson.

The game is 2pm on CBS. A really odd scheduling quirk this year. No Saturday games for the entire month of February. Instead, four straight Sunday games.

The rules are well known by now. Moderated chat. Not a free-for-all. Yada, yada, yada. It’s been a frustrating year. A lot of negativity that usually doesn’t show up until the NCAA Tournament. Try and keep it sane.

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Upbasketball.

No chance at winning BE next year? Wow, maybe I have been watching a different league this year, but I haven’t seen a super team (UCONN-no: WVU-out and loses their stars anyway: SYR- good but sorry not great:..the list of mediocrity is endless).
What you are saying then is that Gibbs and Robinson are studs and we lose by replacing them, that Dixon sustained a level of excellence for a decade and it (not this one year) was a fluke and that arriving talent and improvement from within are negligible.
Nope…this is college basketball and turnover happens…I’d this were the NBA and we were the Clippers, then I would agree with you, but not here. Change happens much quicker in college basketball than anywhere.

Comment by SFPitt 02.27.12 @ 2:29 am

Gibbs has no heart. He is the single reason why the chemistry is so bad with this team. And chemistry is far more important in basketball than football. Pitt will be better with his sulking ass on the bench.

Comment by TX Panther 02.27.12 @ 7:23 am

Pitt’s next point guard, Mister Robinson. It came down to the final seconds of a tight playoff game and ….

link to washingtonpost.com

Comment by velvil 02.27.12 @ 8:26 am

Pitt’s best lineup next year will be with Robinson at the PG spot. Whether that means Woodall slides to the 2, or Moore is there, who knows, but it’s become clear this season that the ball cannot be in Tray’s hands the entire time — he is not a true PG. I really love the kid, he has great scoring potential, and he’s played his heart out this year, but I’m pumped to see Robinson control the game. (For those who will note Woodall’s excellent assist-to-TO numbers especially from last year, that’s because the ball was in Wannamaker’s hands more often.)

I can’t even say anything about Gibbs at this point.

Comment by JW 02.27.12 @ 9:14 am

I’m putting it all on Dixon. Gibbs returned somewhat reluctantly, Woodall goes down, Dixon puts Gibbs at the point. Gibbs is totally exposed, can’t handle the ball, can’t pass, can’t defend. Pitt’s offense disintegrates. Gibbs gets testy, moody, etc. He realized this is a wasted year for him. Sure it’s hindsight but great coaches/leaders anywhere have vision, Dixon only sees the pavement that the headlights are illuminating. Another stupid move: it appears we are more solid, intimidating with Gilbert at the post. He’s an endomorph, big kid, like Blair, Gray, Gary. In fact Gilbert is ahead of Gary at this stage and he’s the hedge against Adams leaving after 1 or 2 years. But Dixon would rather take long kids with ectomorphic PF body types, Taylor & Zanna and put them in the post. Taylor is a PF, Zanna is out of position and has limited skills, should never be ahead of Gilbert. Clearly Birch’s agents were telling him Pitt was a mistake, it was. There’s no logic for some of Dixon’s moves. Dixon should have put Epps in at the point when Woodall went down and Gibbs was clearly out of his elememt. Dixon has taken the program as far as he could, he blew two final 4 opportunities when other coaches would have gotton more out of those squads. I don’t like his coaching job this year, it stinks.

Comment by Old School Panther 02.27.12 @ 9:24 am

Yes all teams have down years, usually due to being a young team. This team has shown that they could and should have won at least 5 more games IMO, if only there was some consistency.
I also agree that it still would be a down year even with those wins a they don’t play D very well, they lack effort.
JD is a very good coach who has done some great things for Pitt BB, but also IMO he only knows one way and also IMO he is a lot like Wanny in that he is not a good gametime coach. Since he has been here I see no improvement in that part of his coaching.
I also think Sean Miller has a bigger upside in the longterm. Both very good young coaches. As long as JD is Pitt’s coach I am behind him 100% and sometimes I overreact.

Comment by frankarms 02.27.12 @ 9:27 am

Another year like this and Dixon will be on the hot seat.

Comment by TX Panther 02.27.12 @ 9:45 am

I disagree with Woodall at point he dribbles into double teams because he has no fundamental ballhandling skills, keeping your head up on the dribble. Robinson is a fundamental ballhandler. It is embarrising watching Woodall being maneavered to the sideline on the dribble and his lack of selfawareness of the double (triple counting the sideline) coming from his blind side because his head is not up during his dribble.

Lack of coaching trying to break the press with the dribble. Pinto loves playing Pitt he knows he gets 12 to 20 points in any game on turnovers with the sloopy guard play from poor coaching trying to dribble throught the press rather than passing the ball.

Observation for next year – Take the 20 lbs. off Taylor 220 in H.S. move him to foward and his defensive skills and rebounding along with Adams offensive skills; hands bigger than Shag,giant wing span, and Blair type attitude the two will dominat inside. Also with Moore’s rebounding ability and shoting skills emerging because Dixon does not hook him after one bad play Pitt should quickly turn it around.

Start Robinson in the non-conference because we know that Woodall has no outside shot is careless and wreakless with the ball and is terrible on defense. The difference between Robinson and Woodall was high school coaching. DeMatha v. street ball. I would start Robinson against St. Johns over Woodall Wednesday. Basketball is basketball. Like Bob Knight said “I cannot believe how many of these kids coming out of high school do not know how to play basketball.”

Comment by drw 02.27.12 @ 10:06 am

Minnesota newspaper confirmed Bollinger is accepting the QB coach position.

Comment by markp 02.27.12 @ 10:55 am

Every school has a down year. Lets see how Jamie responds. With how badly Pitt played yesterday against a ranked Louisville squad just shows that we are not that far off from success.

I think Gibbs was really exposed this year when teams would concentrate on him early in the season and now he just looks like he has lost confidence. That is not good for him when he starts trying out for NBA teams. I see him going abroad and making some nice money. Nasir has been a great Pitt teammate and I wish him well in his future endeavors which will not include playing basketball. Lets hope we have a nice little run in the NIT and build confidence for next year.

Comment by WCSteve 02.27.12 @ 11:00 am

I can concur with Dan72 and others.

I will say, I’m not even picking on Ashton.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen the lad smile in 4 years. Ya, some people are like that, but, even those, at least smile once in awhile, or let a chuckle.

Bad childhood, chip on his shoulder??? Don’t know.

I don’t believe it has anything to do with “not making the NBA” or “I made the wrong decision coming back”……Now, maybe his play and effort have suffered because of possibly these thoughts he might have. Don’t know.

He’s been this way since he got here though.

Just seems like a sad kid. Sad for someone 18-23 years old to be that way allready. Sad.

Comment by Dan 02.27.12 @ 11:51 am

There’s is no reason to think about getting rid of Jamie Dixon. He has one of the best coaching careers in the history of the school. This team has chemistry/mental issues and there’s not much a coach can do about that once the kids are thinking the wrong way. It happens in the pros all the time the difference being the pros can trade or release a player or two and change things up where as we have to graduate them.

Comment by Tony in Harrisburg 02.27.12 @ 11:51 am

This team sucks and next year doesn’t exactly look promising either.

It was a nice run while it lasted.

Comment by Coach Ditka 02.27.12 @ 12:15 pm

It is a little early to be writing off next year isn’t it?

Things change a lot year to year in college hoops.

If Adams comes in and is as good as advertised..

If increased size and strength at the center position (both Gilbert and Adams) leads to better overall team size and strength…

If James Robinson gets a chance to play significant minutes and turns into the floor leader that Pitt has lacked…

If Jamie hires a top notch assistant to help coach the bigs…

If Jamie gets a PF recruit who can contribute next season…

If Cameron Wright shoots 1000 jumpers a day over the summer and becomes a threat on offense…

If the light bulb comes on for JJ Moore and he realizes he needs to be first slasher not a jump shooter…

If Dante Taylor gets healthy and finds a role that suits his abilities (if there is one)…

If the subtraction of Gibbs and Robinson significantly improves the defense…

If the subtraction of Gibbs and Robinson significantly improves the on court chemistry of the team…

If the subtraction of Gibbs and Robinson allows better leadership to emerge…

I could go on all day, but you get my point. Most of these things probably won’t happen, but if enough of them do, next season could be a whole different deal.

Comment by boubacar aw 02.27.12 @ 1:04 pm

Steve Adams, our 5 next year, was SI’s high school player of the week last week. If you watch this clip of him playing Nerlens Noel a month or so ago, you get a pretty good idea of why Pitt can be a much better team next year (Noel is considered the top kid in this year’s class by some of the recruiting sites). Add Robinson, a top 50 or so recruit, a much improved JJ Moore, a solid Patterson, and you’ve got reason for lots of optimism — regardless of what you think about Tray, Wright, Taylor, Zanna, Gilbert. Or Epps.

Adams is here:

link to youtube.com

Comment by velvil 02.27.12 @ 2:34 pm

Too many ifs and too many assumptions.

The only thing we’re sure of is that Adams will be a big help. (And then how painful will it be to watch him leave?)

Everything else you guys are bringing up seems low probability.

The James Robinson stuff is conjecture. Pitt’s last 2 PG recruits, Woodall and Epps, have been horrendous. Sure, Robinson comes with a little better pedigree, but expecting him to contribute much his freshman year seem unrealistic to me. Let’s hope he’s a nice backup in the backcourt next year and turns into a solid player his sophomore and junior years and a big upgrade over Woodall. I’d take that.

Wright is limited offensively. Always will be. Really liked how he played against L-ville, but that’s what you’re getting with him. Good athlete, good defender……not much else.

At this point, coaching ain’t going to help Zanna and Taylor. The coaching ship has sailed.

JJ Moore is a classic playground player. That’s just his game. It’s actually fun to watch the things he can do, but fantasizing about him playing the 2 and becoming a better all-around player is a waste of time. Let’s hope we can get some scoring out of him for a couple years and be satisfied.

The defense at the hoop should get a little better with Adams (and maybe Gilbert playing more), but how can the rest of the defense get better with Patterson, Moore, J.Johnson, Taylor, and Woodall playing. They all play lousy D. Only Wright can defend and playing him means nothing on the other end of the floor from the 2 or 3 position, which is costly.

This is going to take a while to turn around. This isn’t Kentucky, where you bring in 3 or 4 studs every year and field a spanking new squad. Pitt’s facing a couple down years.

Comment by hugh green 02.27.12 @ 3:59 pm

@velvil. Great video. Wow, he’s got a nice shot, soft hands, moves like fluidly.

Frankly, even if we didn’t have him coming, I’d be pumped for next year, just because of our tradition the last 10-11 years.

One bad year, several people are ready to run Dixon out of town. I don’t get it, I really don’t. If it’s Dixons fault for this year, then he gets the kudo’s for the last 8 years right???

What has he done????? Gone to the tournament, with Howland, 10 years in a friggin’ row, that’s what he’s done.

Only 7 teams, out of 351 Div 1 teams have dont that!!! That is, again, 7 out of 351!!!!!!

Ya, he hasn’t won the NC. You know what, most coaches haven’t won the NC.!!!!!!!!!!!

Also funny, I hear some people complain about his recruiting……….then I hear people say he should have gone farther with the talent he had!!!!!!!!

Which one is it????????

What do you expect though, leaving the restaurant where I watched the Steelers-Broncos game this year, I heard several people saying “friggin’ Steelers suck”, “Tomlin sucks”, “this player sucks, that player sucks”.

Playoffs every year, several Super Bowls on and on, “they suck”.

And if the Pens don’t make it to the finals this year, “Malkin sucks”, “Bielsma doesn’t know what he’s doing”, and “Crosby’s a wimp for not coming back”.

There is no getting around it, Pitt’s season was horrible this year, but some people really need to get a grip on reality.

Comment by Dan 02.27.12 @ 4:04 pm

@HughGreen, must have been posting at the same time.

Totally agree, might be a couple years.

Your end point was excellent,

People: We are not Duke, UNC, Kentucky or Kansas!

Not sure what you’re lookin’ for, but we have had one hell of a run in college basketball.

Comment by Dan 02.27.12 @ 4:06 pm

How is woodall horrendous? The kid cant make a sharp movement or shoot because of an injury that hes taking shots for. The kid is tough and a good player.

Next years starting lineup (assuming that pitts 2012 class is just adams, robinson, jones/jeter) that id like

Woodall
Jj
Patterson
Taylor
Adams.

What it will be

Woodall
johnson
Patterson
Zanna
Adams

Comment by Pk 02.27.12 @ 5:02 pm

Woodall had years to learn how to dribble with his left hand before getting injured. He chose not to bother, which makes handling pressure awfully difficult, especially if you’re not 100%.

Plus, playing PG is all about end-of-game judgment. Woodall has none and this doesn’t have a thing to do with his hip.

Yesterday, in crunch time, he took a horrible shot and made it (strike #1), then took a horrible shot with no conception of the clock and missed it (strike #2), and then he took a layup down 3 with five seconds left (strike #3).

WTF?

I might think it’s not realistic for Robinson to play right away, but that doesn’t mean I’m not hoping!

Comment by hugh green 02.27.12 @ 5:40 pm

and I actually agree with the starting lineup you’d like to see and I believe that’s the one Dixon will go with next year. I think it’s clearly better than the one you think we’ll get.

But I don’t think either one is much good.

Comment by hugh green 02.27.12 @ 5:42 pm

Completely disagree with Coach Ditka. Steve Adams is by far the best Pitt recruit since T.D. and Marino. In basketball one player can have a greater impact. Adams has outplayed every top center (Noels, Twarski)in the country.

Seeing him on tape shows why he would be the 3rd pick in the NBA this year if eligible. My fear is after watching him on videos is that he handles the ball better than our guards and is also a better mechanics on his foul shoot and jumper than our guards (Woodall -two hand release). Adams hit 2 3 point shots in a game. God forbid Jamie might play play him at guard next year. A parallel move to fatten up Taylor and play him at the 5. Freaked Birch out with the same decisions that ruined Taylor.

I agree that Dixon needs to take a look at his assistants, including Knight and the assitant head coach. Jamie always needed help with game strategy, i.e., play Robinson (your worst offensive player) at the foul line (the sweet spot) of the zone. Let him shoot/hope he drives so you can steal the ball.

Question Robinson is gutty but who would give a scholarship to a 6’5″ forward with no offensive skills? Worse yet play him 75% of the game.

Comment by drw 02.27.12 @ 9:11 pm

@DRW–HOMERUN!!!!!! Ya, he does look he handles the ball better than our guards!!! Ha Ha LOL!!!

Someone posted on here, they’ve seen Barry Rohrsen behind the bench a couple rows at several games.

1. Was it really him, was he there??

2. If he was, does it mean a darn thing???

Comment by Dan 02.27.12 @ 9:20 pm

So Dixon makes the tourney every year and loses to inferior talent every year except maybe 2 years and you want to crown him. Your low expectations are troubling. He is expected to make the tourney. It’s a given. Call me a troll a WVU fan or whatever you want. I just have hire expectations of a team and a coach that has consistently lost in the tourney and only once made the Elite 8.

Comment by upittbaseball 02.27.12 @ 9:36 pm

drw- As a role player last year Robinson was very good at fulfilling his role. Not every player can be a star. Notice how badly he shredded the Cuse last year from, you guessed it, the foul line area. I don’t remember much complaining last year when he started at the 4. The problem this year is he is being asked to play above his ability. His is playing at the foul line this year because there simply is no one else to do so and he at least has in the past. The kid simply has given everything to this program and played through injuries for quite some time. No he’s not a great talent, but he gave everything he had in his career and that will be missed.

Comment by Pitt Rob 02.28.12 @ 12:38 am

@upiitbaseball. Where exactly did you get these expectations from?? We’ve never been a basketball power, hell, we’ve never even been a basketball school.

We had a great year in 74, some fun teams with Sam Clancy, and a couple good teams with Charles Smith et al.

We hadn’t even been to the tournament since 93′.

Most coaches don’t get to the elite 8, less the final four, and very few a NC. What’d it take Boeheim, 23 years or something???

I’d be interested to know where you got your expectations from??

I know we have blue in our color scheme, but we’re not Duke, UNC, Kentucky or Kansas.

Nor, do we get the recruits they do. You know DeJuan Blair, Khem Birch, Steve Adams????? Those teams get 4 or 5 of those type of players every year. They have players like that, sitting on their bench!!!!!!!!!

He’s expected to make the tournament? Ya, only because he has made the tournament so often. That could be the only place that expectation comes from, they hadn’t been there for 10 years until Howland/Dixon.

You do know there are 351 Division One college basketball teams, right?? Out of all of those, only 7 of those have made the tournament for 10 straight years. And, Pitt and Dixon are one of those 7.

Ya, I want to win a National Championship, hope it happens one day.

Suggesting replacing the coach after one bad year borders on insanity. Very troubling.

Comment by Dan 02.28.12 @ 9:45 am

And he is one of my favorite Pitt players, what exactly has Sean Miller done coaching that would make you want to bring him here??

He’s missed the tournament twice the past 7 years. He only got to one elite 8, his Arizona team lost this year to a team called Hawaii Southern Shore or something like that.

He get the local recruits??? We don’t have any!!!

I would suggest your expectations are very low on coaching replacements.

Comment by Dan 02.28.12 @ 9:49 am

Entitlement, Dan — it’s a sad state of affairs these days that so many people think they are “entitled” to incredible success. Whereas, like you correctly point out, most fans should be terribly disappointed by this season but still understand the leaps and bounds the program has made during the past 10.
Fans like that poster are the ones who barely paid attention — or were alive — before “The Pete” years.

Comment by JW 02.28.12 @ 10:37 am

Upittbaseball always loves hating on Dixon. He doesn’t like Dixon and he places way too much value on flukey tournament success (I’m not going to elaborate on it for the millionth time). And you know what, every single coach consistently loses in the NCAA tournament.

Sean Miller is a “Pitt guy” so that is what the fascination stems from. I think after coaching for over 10 years, Dixon is also a Pitt guy.

The only people suggesting Dixon should be fired are either trolls or over entitled yinzers who don’t understand the nature of college basketball. Dixon would have to have at least three straight seasons like the current one before he would even be close to being in the hot seat.

Woodall isn’t close to being healthy at this point. I think he’s more like 60%. Woodall will be solid when healthy.

Also someone mentioned who would recruit Nasir, I’m not a fan of Nasir’s game but he was recruited by other big programs and had offers from schools like Nova. Tyreke Evans said Nasir was the best player he played against in high school. So recruiting him was in not a mistake. It just shows how it is really hard to project how a player will develop after High School. Some players just have different max levels.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.28.12 @ 11:02 am

link to postgazette.com

new shooting guard in the 2012 class…..

Comment by PantherP 02.28.12 @ 11:28 am

@JW-nail on the head.

@Ward, yes years of failure before it is even mentioned. To even talk about it is ridiculous.

It’s really silly to even mention, because even if someone as a fan thinks about it, guess what, it hasn’t even entered Nordy or Pedersons thoughts, and won’t, like you said, unless several bad years. So, why even mention it???

@PantherP. Good link. Was wondering, and I am one that usually isn’t that big on details, but, is he a sg or sf?? They have him listed as sf on scout. I’d love to have a 6’5″ shooting guard!!!

Comment by Dan 02.28.12 @ 11:58 am

There is a shooting guard in the 2012 class james Robinson. Robinson played shooting guard at DeMatha until for the good of the team he moved to PG this year. According to his coach he could score 25 points a game if that is what the team neeed but now they need from to set up the offense.

Watching him in videos take outside shots I agree with his coach he has great mechanics, unlike Woodall or the line drive shots of Gibbs (no margin for error). Also he is a deft penetrator using his body to fend of defenders when attacking the hoop.

If Woodal could handle the PG than Robinson could play the 2. However the way Pitt tries to break presses I want Robinson at PG so we do not go into the game 10 to 14 points down off of steals in the backcourt and consequent layups.

Take away Woodalls strips in the Louisville game and Pitt wins by 10.

Comment by drw 02.28.12 @ 12:25 pm

James Robinson 6’3″, Chris Jones 6’4″, guards.

I like it.

Comment by Dan 02.28.12 @ 12:41 pm

Robinson has a physical stature, too. I especially like that about him. Will help defensively and offensively. Woodall’s height isn’t as much a detriment as his size — he gets too easily bumped/pushed off the ball at times, leading to off-balance shots and passes, etc. Give him credit though, he scraps and fights even when he gets posted up down low.

Comment by JW 02.28.12 @ 12:53 pm

Chris Jones 6’5″, for what it’s worth, my mistake.

Comment by Dan 02.28.12 @ 2:28 pm

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