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April 8, 2012

Zeigler Helps

Filed under: Basketball,Recruiting,Transfer — Chas @ 8:43 am

I don’t know what this does for the recruitment of Savon Goodman. Whether it helps land Goodman because of the talent coming and on the roster along with the potential for big minutes early — if not starting at power forward — or if it means Pitt backs off on Goodman because it would mean either pulling the offer to Chris Jones or forcing another player off the team.

Frankly the issue is not comfortable either way. It bothered me when Pitt had to encourage Jaylen Bond to review his options after Khem Birch reclassified last year. It is one of the most unseemly thing about College basketball. Treating kids recruited and promised to be treated as family abruptly as commodities.

Some of it is simply the one-sidedness of it. Kids are locked into the program. They can have restrictions placed on them if they want to leave, along with sitting a year; while the scholarships are one-year deals with school options only. A coach can abruptly shift from “family” to “it’s nothing personal, just business” based on the performance. And yes, I know everyone does it, it’s necessary, and all of that. It doesn’t mean that it is right or okay.

But shifting back to Trey Zeigler coming to Pitt.

There is no question that Pitt got a player that upgrades the position.

Pitt could certainly use Zeigler, a shooting guard, next season if he is eligible. The Panthers lose Ashton Gibbs, the school’s No. 8 all-time scorer, to graduation. Two freshmen — Cameron Wright and John Johnson — started games at shooting guard this season when Gibbs had to play the point, but both struggled.

Zeigler would add scoring punch and rebounding to the lineup. He led Central Michigan in both statistical categories this past season. He averaged 15.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. He averaged 16.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game as a freshman in 2010-11.

It seems a lot like a Mike Cook situation as far as being the guy to carry a team. Mike Cook played two years at East Carolina before transferring to Pitt. He was the best player on the team, and had to do everything. After a coaching change, he wanted out. He wanted to be on a better team and a team that did not have to have him do everything.

Zeigler’s freshman and sophomore seasons show a player that immediately had to carry the load. As a freshman, he led the team in minutes played and scoring. He was second in rebounding (and the leading defensive rebounder) and steals. He had the most assists on the team — as he also had to take some point guard duties when the starting point guard quit the team in January.

In his sophomre year, he was second on the team in minutes played, but led the team in scoring and rebounding (offensive and defensive). He was second on the team in assists (by a difference of 6 assists). He was also second on the team in steals and blocks. I mean, how many teams have a shooting guard that is second on the teams in blocks. Yes he also led the team in turnovers, but considering how much the ball was in his hands and he was the focal point of the offense it is hardly a shock.

As for his eligibility, he is applying for a sort of hardship waiver to play immediately. Owing to the nature of his father being fired as head coach at CMU. No one really knows the answer on this one. Someone has noted an example in college baseball. Cade Kreuter was allowed to transfer and play right away at Miami after his father was fired as baseball coach at USC. No idea whether the same rules apply.

Regardless, Zeigler will be enrolling at Pitt for the summer classes and will be taking part in the Greentree Pro-Am league. He’s not going to waste any time getting to know and playing with the other Pitt players.





The Jaylen Bond thing was really unfortunate, because from everything I had read about him, he would have been a fit at Pitt. It was bad enough that Khem Birch quit the team, but in displacing another player who they could have used, he made it all the worse. In retrospect they would have better off telling him that he couldn’t re-classify and come a year early, even if he went to another school, which he ultimately did anyway.
I’m glad to see them signing Ziegler. They despertally needed help at the 2 spot. I just hope that it doesn’t cost them in signing goodman.

Comment by Ju stinian 04.08.12 @ 9:06 am

Ziegler certainly meets my criteria: Taller, more athletic.

However there is one problem. Jamie yelling from the sideline, “Hey Tra/ey, set it up for Tre/ay!”

Comment by steve1 04.08.12 @ 9:33 am

I also would feel bad if pitt pulled chris jones’ scholly, especially since pitt was his only high major offer, but pitt desperately needs talent. With zeigler the 2012 class is top 8 in the country, but with goodman instead of jones itd be top 4 or 5. Pitt needs a huge influx of talent so i think its necessary. Whats interesting to me is what the scholarship situation for the 2013 class is. Pitts losing two this year but bringin in 4, but they lose 2 next year as well, so ultimately theyll need to push more players out next year too. And pitt needs at least another center and probably two power forwards if they dont get goodman

Comment by Pk 04.08.12 @ 9:57 am

If you can get a Goodman, you take him. Jones can go to Duquesne, they have plenty of openings, or Wright might go if you tell him he is never going to play.

Comment by Jimbo 04.08.12 @ 11:11 am

Jaylen Bond plyead quite a lot for Texas this year as a natural freshman … and he would look pretty damn good playing the 4 for Pitt next year, wouldn’t he?

Comment by wbb 04.08.12 @ 11:30 am

Bond wasn’t pushed out as much as he wanted out. Obviously, that was a poor trade-off once Khem bolted. I think most of us would’ve chosen Bond over Birch if we had the benefit of knowing Birch would flake out. Hindsight rarely fails.
People assuming Wright would be the one to be pushed out might want to consider he played more than John Johnson the latter half of year, including starting those last few games. Plus, Johnson openly complained several times via Twitter towards the end of the season, so he may be more receptive to an opportunity to bolt. All speculation, of course.

Comment by JW 04.08.12 @ 12:01 pm

The perfect scenario would be for John Johnson to leave & get Goodman – he’s priority #2 besides Adams. If we only get Ziegler, this won’t help quite enough. This team lacks talent & Dixon can improve his recruiting history immediately. Don’t forget we’re headed to the ACC & we can’t compete with our current level of talent – NC State just signed 3 Mcdonalds AA !

Comment by Rocky20 04.08.12 @ 12:27 pm

I’m still a little cooler on this than some. Kid’s definitely got some talents/size that we could use, esp if he’s playing the SG spot.

But he also has worse than a 1:1 Assit:turn-over ratio in his career. I understand he’s a sophomore, but he’s playing in the Mac too. About comparable to JJ Moore. His shooting percentages (FT, FG and 3Pts) are worse than Moore’s.

The good news seems to be that he’s a little more active/better on D statistically speaking. But again this was in the MAC.

Moore is maybe not the best reference point. Mike Cook is the comparison probably. I’m jsut a little apprehensive. I mean CMU was BAD. cant say i know how good/bad the rest of the team was but it gives me pause. I gotta look and see what Cook as like before he came and maybe i’ll be more hopeful. Then again, Cooke was solid but was maybe the 4th or 5th best on the team when he was here? my memory is a little cloudy.

I just hope Zeigler can adjust and fall in line with the system early. We can definitely use some more of the ability Zeigler has on the team.

BTW, Rocky, outside of Duke/UNC, or arguably even including them, the BE has been better than the ACC for about 10yrs and we’ve done fine. WE’re not exactly stepping up to harder competition. UConn and Cuse and GTown and Nova and Louisville all have ahad recruiting classes like NC States in the past and we’ve been OK as far as conference play goes

Comment by PantherP 04.08.12 @ 2:33 pm

Pantherp, he was the best player on the team and when your surrounding cast is as bad as his was, your going to have to putt all the weight on your shoulders. Without that pressure the turnovers and shooting % will get better

Comment by Pk 04.08.12 @ 3:04 pm

Bond – 15 minutes a game, 4.6 rebounds, 3.4 points a game.

link to espn.go.com

The disappointing Taylor:

18 minutes a game, 4.9 rebounds, 5.8 points.

link to espn.go.com

I guess the grass is always greener….

Comment by velvil 04.08.12 @ 4:29 pm

Cook was definitely maybe the third or fourth best player on a team that had two future pros. If Zeigler is as good as Mike Cook, then he is an immediate upgrade from what we currently have at the 2. Cook was a very good all around player.

Comment by omar 04.08.12 @ 4:54 pm

If Goodman wants to play at Pitt, then he will have a scholarship. Jamie Dixon isn’t getting paid $2 million a year to be a nice guy. He will tell a current player or Chris Jones to take a hike. Dixon has to produce and he knows it.

Comment by omar 04.08.12 @ 4:56 pm

Johnson is most expendable guy on the roster. Cannot guard a man. The guy he’s watching will take him and break him down every time. Wright is only slightly less useless. Zeigler is a stud, huge upgrade. He’s the son of a coach, defends, gets to the hoop & appears to have an attitude. What the hell is bad about that?

Comment by Old School Panther 04.08.12 @ 5:17 pm

I STILL dont get why al of you hate cam wright!!!! You cant just run a player off because they werent all stars their freshman year!! Hes athletic, quick, a great defender, and rebounds exceptionally well for a 2! The offense will come people. Hes just raw. By his junior and senior years hell be a 6 point 6 rebound 2 asst per game role player. Not everyone is a star. Glue guys are very important to ateams sucess

Comment by Pk 04.08.12 @ 5:47 pm

pk, who would you cut from the current roster? I’ve defended Wright too, but he and Johnson are the most expendable on the team. Johnson was a true freshman and will get better on defense. Both are career role players – going to the ACC, do you take the guy with the best offense or best defense. If it’s the BE, you keep Wright but I think you keep Johnson for the ACC.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 04.08.12 @ 6:11 pm

Took a look and Zeigler seems to have better shooting %s during his first two years than Cook did during his first two. So that’s a good sign.

Cook also had a worse A:TO ratio.

I’m now mmuch more hopefull. Even if he comes in and is basically Cook reincarnate, he’ll be one of the 4 best players (one of whom, Adams, is an future NBA guy).

and btw, i have nothing against Cook, he was top 4 or 5 on a team that had 2 NBA guys one borderline/D-league NBA guy (Biggs) and an all-Big East player (Fields), so saying he’s 4 or 5th best on a that team isn’t a slight at all. just perspective i guess.

Zeigler will help. And I think its clear, as discussed all season, how fine a line it is between good teams and bad teams. A big improvement at center here, a little improvement at the guard position there, and we’re back to being ranked. A few other things fall into place and its not a stretch to be back to the top 10 competing for conf titles again. Looking at what we’ve got next year, we’ve done more with less in the past.

Comment by PantherP 04.08.12 @ 6:51 pm

All of this years redshirts are worth keeping over Wright and Johnson?

Comment by JCE 04.08.12 @ 7:14 pm

Only Durand Johnson redshirted and he’s supposedly a much needed sharp shooter.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 04.08.12 @ 7:23 pm

I say you keep both wright and johnson but pull chris jones’ scholarship. Jones isnt likely to be more than a role player anyways so keep the guys who already have a year of experience.

Comment by Pk 04.08.12 @ 7:47 pm

I hate runing kids off it is a bsd thing to do but if goodman comes you have to do it we need better players
i say wright goes he cant score and they are called shoting guards for a reason
Duquesne will take him in a flash

Comment by Frankcan 04.08.12 @ 7:53 pm

tony mitchell, alabama power forward is granted a release from his scholarship. he averaged 13 points and 7 rebounds as a sophomore last year. too bad he was suspended because of innapropriate behavior, otherwise, id say go after him. those are good stats against quality competition

Comment by pk 04.08.12 @ 8:18 pm

cant score…………. yet

Comment by pk 04.08.12 @ 8:19 pm

I remain a skeptic that anything more than lacking a physical inside presence was seriously wrong with the roster. I remain convinced that if you put Gary McGhee on this past years team and you had no injury issues that this entire debate about lack of talent wouldn’t exist.

Comment by Pitt72 04.08.12 @ 8:37 pm

Cam Wright and the Johnsons won’t crack the lineup next year if Zeigler is eligible

Comment by Tony C 04.08.12 @ 8:51 pm

velvil, Bonds was a freshman, Taylor a junior (who started many games)

Comment by wbb 04.08.12 @ 9:07 pm

Btw, John Johnson was a natural freshman — how could you run him off so quickly? Obviously, he msut be better than Durand Johnson or Durand would have been playing? (Same old stuff — the guy who isn’t playing is always better)

Comment by wbb 04.08.12 @ 9:09 pm

Is it just me, or does Tino come off as, or sound less “arrogant” in his recent interviews than in seasons past?

Comment by Digdug 04.08.12 @ 9:29 pm

I feel that this is a big deal because ESPN had it on their front page for awhile, and if ESPN has it on the front page, it’s a BIG DEAL in the world of sports!!!

Ooooh look! Up to the minute updates on Tiger Woods not coming close to winning the Masters and Tim Tebow talking at a church!

Comment by Jimbo Covert's My Dad 04.08.12 @ 9:57 pm

digdug, not only that, but hes actually looking like a quarterback. yes, im about to say it—hes completed a ton of long passes. yea, i know right? it IS possible. hes shown a lot of improvement but im going to stay grounded until he proves it on the field

Comment by pk 04.08.12 @ 10:02 pm

—–but i will say this, if chryst makes a winning qb out of tino sunseri, the man deserves a sizable pay raise, no joke

Comment by pk 04.08.12 @ 10:03 pm

Chris jones is the reason Pitt has a shot with goodman. He isn’t getting run off.

Comment by Chris 04.08.12 @ 10:10 pm

Dont think this team was too far off being good and we’re close now.

I can see running off a mid 3-star kid in favor of a stud (Bond for birch, even though ti blew up in our face was worth the gamble at the time) but a running off high 3-stars for mid 4-star kids, just does not seem worth it to me. may become too detrimental to team chemistry at some point for it to be worth it.

Comment by PantherP 04.08.12 @ 10:20 pm

@wbb
Look at Bond’s game history this year. No production against the better schools, especially Kansas. And against Cincinnati, a good measure of what he’d see in the BE, he was invisible.

Comment by Velvil 04.08.12 @ 10:37 pm

You take Goodman if you can get him. Chris Jones may be part of the reason Goodman is interested in Pitt. Goodman and Jones are good friends. Jones will be at Pitt no matter what.

Comment by Tom 04.08.12 @ 11:46 pm

So when will the first “Jamie Dixon to LSU” story hit the blogosphere?

Comment by ECH 04.09.12 @ 7:41 am

once again velvil, Bond is a frosh, Taylor a junior. Who has the better upside? But going back to my original question … wouldn’t you like to see Bond at the 4 this coming season?

Comment by wbb 04.09.12 @ 7:47 am

wbb, i would rather see bond than taylor at the 4, not that dante will be playing the 4 anyways.

athleticism-bond
rebounding-push
offense-push
upside-bond
defense-bond
handling-bond

Comment by pk 04.09.12 @ 8:12 am

I think the key to last years play was chemistry. There was not a leader on the team that was the advocate for Dixon’s system. Gibbs wanted to play pro, so he decided he has to showcase what he doesn’t have. JJohnson and Moore were jacking shots, Woodall was trying to make passes to people that were not where they should be. Moore and Taylor had flashes of the aggressiveness that was expected, but seldom showed up. Zanna’s brick hands started to soften by years end. Patterson had moments where he looked good then he would flash back to looking like Frosh,Soph Gary McGhee(completely lost)

Next year could look better, but a leader and enforcer of the system must rise. Will this be Trey Zeigler and Patterson?

Comment by Tom Mc in Sql Hill 04.09.12 @ 9:03 am

Punting Taylor to keep Bond was never a consideration. So comparing who has more upside misses the point of the comparison. I think the comparison was made simply to provide some perspective on Bond’s “contributions” at Texas.

Comment by JCE 04.09.12 @ 9:20 am

Wbb asked who had more upside

Comment by Pk 04.09.12 @ 9:25 am

From everything that’s been written & reported on Bond, he would not be playing the 4 at Pitt unless it was against his wishes. Not needed. Give me players who just want to contribute no matter what they have play anytime…

I agree with Tom – I think Chris Jones is here to stay. A late developer but he seems to have more upside than either J. Johnson or C. Wright at the moment.

If someone is going to transfer to make more room it will either be John Johnson who seems to be a bad fit (and writes bad tweets) or D. Johnson. But I’m not convinced I see either happening.

Comment by Bowling Green Panther 04.09.12 @ 9:49 am

But to answer the question, Bond certainly has more upside today.

But this time last year many people on here were expecting a huge jump in Taylor’s development going from sophomore to junior ala McGee & Gray. That was when the question needed to be asked and answered.

Comment by Bowling Green Panther 04.09.12 @ 9:52 am

@PK, @wbb @ JCE

Yes, the comparison was for perspective. I don’t think that Bond has necessarily shown a great upside. He didn’t play well against better talent and his minutes actually dropped for a while. Taylor’s true frosh numbers were 14 mins, 3.7 RB and 4.1 points — very similar to Bond’s in a tougher league. And we know how that turned out.

Dokish, I think, also suggested that Bond wanted out and had his own group of Birch-like advisers who wanted him to leave. If we can upgrade the 4, that would be great. But l don’t see what’s served by looking longingly at players who left the program.

Comment by velvil 04.09.12 @ 9:53 am

Mike Cook was really solid and went from the sole star on a bad team to a really good starter. That team without him still one the BE Championship. They would have went farther than losing in the second round with him. If he would have gotten the medical redshirt that he deserved then Pitt beats UNC in the 2009 tournament.

Also, not sure why people are worried about Zieglers assist to turnover ratio. He’s not a point guard. His job is to score not pass. He is a really good get, Duke and UCLA both wanted him.

If Dixon is running off a current player I doubt it is Cam Wright. He started the last two games. Johnson didn’t. I’d rather have the bigger Cam Wright the next three years than Johnson. A player can learn to shoot better, but he can’t learn to be bigger.

You don’t offer Chris Jones a scholarship then take it back a month later. The guy is a winner and can fill the basket.

Comment by Wardapalooza 04.09.12 @ 9:56 am

I also think Jones is part of the link to Goodman, you can’t drop Jones and expect Goodman to love that, supposedly they are close friends.

Comment by Matt 04.09.12 @ 10:04 am

At least folks at Pitt seem to be getting the picture that the roster needed an upgrade, talent-wise. A few incontrovertible misses (Taylor, Epps, Wright) and a few near-misses (Zanna, Woodall) had really put the program behind the eight ball.

I’m hoping the departure of Epps and the signing of Zeigler are first steps in an overhaul.

Comment by hugh green 04.09.12 @ 10:05 am

It was suggested by Dixon that Bond go JUCO or Prep to allegedly improve his grades … that’s why Bond looked elsewhere.

I’m not saying that Khem Birch was not worth the risk … nor did that I state that Taylor should be booted … I merely stated that Bond would look pretty good at the 4 this coming season.

Comment by wbb 04.09.12 @ 12:52 pm

I may be having trouble counting (a lot of weird stuff happening on campus right now), but if Zeigler is not eligible this fall, can’t Pitt add Goodman without removing anyone else? Two graduating seniors plus Birch leaving, and they currently have three recruits for next year plus Zeigler.

From everything that I can gather, it seems like Zeigler playing in the fall is a long shot. There is no direct precedent for the NCAA to grant this waiver (at least in hoops), and ruling in Zeigler’s favor could be viewed as setting a dangerous precedent for transfers when coaches are fired. I recognize the peculiar circumstances of this case, but there is almost nothing in the NCAA’s history to indicate a willingness to grant this waiver.

Comment by Pantherman13 04.09.12 @ 1:32 pm

Pantherman13,

Regardless of when Zeigler is ruled eligible, he counts for a scholarship in 2012-13.

Comment by Chas 04.09.12 @ 2:11 pm

Doh! Thanks Chas – clearly, I wasn’t thinking that through. Like I said, we’ve had a few distractions here on campus.

Comment by Pantherman13 04.09.12 @ 3:36 pm

[...] on to Trey Zeigler and his prospects of getting eligible right away. I noted the one precedent that exists for the son of a fired coach to get an immediate waiver. Jeff Eisenberg at Yahoo!’s college [...]


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