April 16, 2012

It’s a bit of a basketball round-up.

First up, J.J. Moore got injured over the weekend playing pick-up basketball.

Pitt sophomore forward J.J. Moore will undergo surgery for a fractured fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot after suffering the injury in a pickup game Friday.

The injury takes three months to heal.

Moore’s injury is common among basketball players. It is the same injury that forced Levance Fields and Jermaine Dixon out of the lineup in recent seasons.

It isn’t the healing that is the concern. It is the possibility of it being a recurrent issue. It was a bit of a problem for Levance Fields. Still, while he won’t be playing in the summer league, he will be ready for the start of the practices before the season begins.

I have the Jordan Brand Classic on the DVR. Haven’t had a chance to watch it yet. Most accounts say, Adams was rather solid. He led his squad in rebounds with 9, despite only playing 17 minutes. He also had 3 turnovers. Here’s an account from a New Zealand paper.

The 2.13m Wellingtonian played a team-low 17 minutes in the game and finished with four points (1/2 FG, 2/4 FT), nine rebounds, an assist, block and steal and three turnovers.

Adams’ rebound haul was a  team-high for the West lineup despite his minimal minutes.

Observers noted that though Adams had not stood out among the elite of the college-bound American high school fraternity, he had held his own in a game more geared towards the smaller players on court.

Adams, the younger brother of Olympic shot put champion Valerie Adams, will start the next college season in August at the University of Pittsburgh under Jamie Dixon. Many are tipping him to play just a single season before entering the NBA draft.

Looks like I’ll be able to get through the game in under a half-hour if those were his total minutes. The article also notes that Adams may play for the Tall Blacks down in Venezuela as they try to qualify for the Olympics.

Ashton Gibbs played well in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. Strengthening his opportunities to play in Europe. Something this article says as well.

Pittsburgh’s Ashton Gibbs had another very strong outing for Mike Duman Auto Sales, finishing with a game-high 23 points on 7-for-11 shooting.

After a standout junior season in which he shot 49 percent from distance, Gibbs slumped badly as a senior as Pittsburgh missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a decade. Gibbs has played with a bit of a chip on his shoulder at the PIT, and the results have been positive.

Clearly more two than one, though blessed with the size of a point guard, Gibbs has been forced into lead guard duties this week — like he was at Pitt this year — and has handled it well. He’s the type of player who’ll be highly coveted overseas given his ability to fill it up, and will have to decide his best course of action should he not get drafted in June.

Presumably, Gibbs had to miss the Awards Banquet. It’s always an important booster event, but the number of “awards” they hand out at these make it seem like a kindergarten self-esteem event. Rather than list what each player got, it’s shorter to simply list the players who didn’t get an award: Durand Johnson, Aron Nwankwo, Isiah Epps and Khem Birch.

Finally, here’s a piece from Chris Jones signing his LOI for Pitt — his dad is just happy that he gets the scholarship.

“It was about Coach Dixon and Coach Knight,” said Jones, 18, who led Teaneck to back-to-back Bergen County and North 1, Group 3 titles. “I really think they preach family, and it felt right for me.”

“It’s a great opportunity,” said Jones’ father, Kenneth. “In this nation, and in the world, to get an education, but be able to do so doing something you love, playing basketball, it’s a great opportunity.”

Jones is a 6-foot-5 wing who can play shooting guard or small forward, and he averaged 21.0 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists for Teaneck (31-1). Off the court, he is friendly and affable.

“He’s a good kid, he’s worked hard, and he’s earned everything,” Highwaymen coach Jerome Smart said. “Sometimes you get kids who don’t deserve it and they get in and they blow it. I think he’s going to take this opportunity and do a good job with it.”

Jones chose Pittsburgh over Colorado, Connecticut, Hofstra, La Salle, Seton Hall and West Virginia. The Panthers are coming off a down season during which they finished 22-17, but their 5-13 record in the Big East tied them for 13th among 16 teams.

Pittsburgh graduates two of its top three scorers, including guard Ashton Gibbs, a New Jersey native who earned All-State honors at Seton Hall Prep, where Knight also starred.

“He’s an unbelievable kid from a standpoint of being a really good person,” Knight said. “As far as his basketball prowess is concerned, we’re looking for him to come in and be able to defend multiple positions and be a guy who can make shots when called upon.

“We think he’s a very skilled perimeter player, so hopefully he’ll be able to contribute in a big way, and hopefully early in his career.”

The only way I see Jones playing as a freshman, though, is if Zeigler’s waiver is denied.

everybody was saying we should let Chris Jones go but i think he will be a solid player over hi time at Pitt. we have to remember that Sam young was not highly recruited and neither was Wanamaker. they both turned out to be great players. and whats the latest with Goodman

Comment by Matt 04.16.12 @ 3:21 pm

When you watch the game you will be frustrated with the talking heads as they are all about the top ranked players and say little about Adams. Before Steven enters the game Nole gets all the praise. However when Adams is in there he completely shuts down Nole. So much so that the coach plays him when ever Nole plays. No question he will be a big time stopper.

Comment by letterman 04.16.12 @ 3:33 pm

He appears to be strong, he hustles to get back on defense and seems to prefer playing defense to offense … just what the doctor ordered

Comment by wbb 04.16.12 @ 4:11 pm

Goodman is a good bet to go prep this year. If Adams goes pro after one year or if someone else leaves he could be back in the recruiting mix for 13-14 season

Comment by Ghost of Hornman 04.16.12 @ 4:17 pm

Let’s hope that the NBA changes its rule to 2 and done. Pitt will be on everyone’s early season surprise lists and back to being ranked.

Comment by Wardapalooza 04.16.12 @ 5:11 pm

I just read on Pitt Script that the Panthers picked up a 6’6″ 280 lb. offensive lineman form Chambersburg, PA named Aaron Reese. He had no other offers but apparently he moves well. Wisconsin recruited a lot of big limnemen that wern’t heavily recruited and developed them into good players.

Comment by Justinian 04.16.12 @ 7:57 pm

Agree with letterman on the ESPN mousecasters at the game – irritating. While I did not see all of it, Adams got very little airtime. In fact, the most I heard his name mentioned was at the start of the second half, when he started, but before play began, the coach yanked him and substituted. The mousecasters made some snide remark. You can be sure that ESPN had them shilling for Kentucky, North Carolina, and Duke Baybee.

But I agree with the assessments. Adams was solid, hustled, and showed incredible footspeed for a player his size. Not a great offensive game, but really appeared to love playing defense. Cautious optimism for 2012-13, if he gets in.

Comment by PO'd Panther 04.16.12 @ 9:55 pm

Is the down under paper written at a higher level?

Comment by DCPinPGH 04.16.12 @ 10:16 pm

Not sure what game Letterman and PO’d were watching, but they had plenty to say about Adams. They talked about him shutting down Nolens in an earlier meeting.. They quoted Nolens as saying Adams was the best big he every played against. They talked about his family, his upbringing, his background from NZ, the fact that he has an 6’6″ Olympic Champion sister. Talked for two or three plays about his unselfishness and great passing ability. They mentioned him going to Pitt and shows his name and graphics with Pittsburgh listed 3 or 4 times. What more do you want?

Comment by CnorwoodAZ 04.16.12 @ 11:15 pm

I agree that the announcers gave Adams adequate props … and mentioned everything Cnowrwood lsited above. There were a couple times when he rebounded or was fouled when they are on some tangent and kind of ignoring the game, but that is what they were doing for a good part of the game.

Comment by wbb 04.17.12 @ 7:48 am

Defensively I was impressed with Adams’ footwork on the perimeter, on ball screens, etc. A huge upgrade over our current crop (not saying much). Also, I noticed every time there was a rebound opportunity he went first to find a man, not straight to the ball as so many guys tend to do. Solid fundamentals for a guy who hasn’t been playing that long.

Comment by JW 04.17.12 @ 8:37 am

I agree with JW watching Adams play against Noles and Twarski(SP) he is as strong defensively as either but the thing that jumps out at you is that unlike most big American players his offensive game is not limited to dunks and baby hooks.

He can put the ball on the floor go to the hoop and finish strong without dunking. He has an excellent 10-15 ft. game facing the basket. Despite some negative reports on his foul shoting, pundits have to find something negative to say, he mechanics at the foul line are significantly better than any of Pitt’s big men and many of their forwards.

If he was a U.S. player, in my opinion he would be ranked #1 because of his position he will have a greater impact than Muhammand both in college and the NBA.

Comment by drw 04.17.12 @ 9:53 am

Another insight: We have not taken a serious look a Zeigler because he pklayed in the MAC. He was a 4 star player offers from Duke, UCLA, Michigan, and MIchigan State. Pitt could not have recruited him out of high school. He was rated higher than Jermey Lamb (UCONN).

The kid is the real deal. Any comparison to Mike Cook is incredibly unfair. If he gets on the floor in 2012 he makes Pitt an immediate power.
My prediction and hope is that by January.
Adams (#1 player)
Zeigler (#2)
call me crazy – 20 lbs lighter at the 4 Taylor (#3 – finding some of the game he brought to Pitt before inadequate recruit, and his willingness to do for the team [gain weight move to a unfamiliar position] reduced perhaps not an all-amerrican but an athlethtic 6-9 body to a player with bad kness and no self-confidence).
(Robinson #4)If given the chance by Dixon the perfect PG. Patient, able to penetrate and finish, tall, aggressive defender.
backcourt (Robinson 6’3″, Zeick 6’5″)
(Moore#5) if he tries to over do in a lineup like this he will go to the bench.

Adams – defenense prescense/ double-double
Taylor – 10 boards a game 8 points
Robinson – running the show – eliminating turnovers – 10 pts a game 5 plus assists
Zeilch – 10 – 15 points a game 5-8 rebounds
Moore – 8 points a game from the foul line and taking to the hole,

Comment by drw 04.17.12 @ 1:27 pm

I share much of the optimism but this seems like optimisim run amuck. you would think Pitt fans would learn to temper their optimism.

Here’s a glass half full look.

Adams – Never played D-1. Never played full college schedule. Never banged with physical BE players. Freshman. No sure thing. About as close as you can get, but he’s one bad landing from not contributing.

Taylor – 20 lbs doesn’t make you a player you never were. He couldn’t play the 4 as a freshman, don’t see it now. Zanna & Patterson will play more at the 4.

Robinson. Looks legit. Should play at least 15 minutes a game behind Woodall.

Zeigler – Lots of stars 3 years ago. Just like guys like Taylor, Birch, Epps. (Now there was a nucleus to build on.) Zeigler looks like an upgrade over Wright and Johnson, but who wouldn’t? A 39% 3 point shooter and a 49% free throw shooter who dominated the MAC well enough to not prevent his dad from getting fired… I won’t call him our 2nd best player until he at least plays one minute in a Panther uniform…

Moore – No problem with analysis there. That’s what he did this year.

Next year’s offense runs through Patterson and Adams.

We could make Final 4 and win it all. We could win 20 games and lose in 1st round. Figuring out which one is why they play the games.

Comment by Bowling Green Panther 04.17.12 @ 4:38 pm

Bowling Green — Agreed. Lets not get carried away with any of these guys yet.

Adams is going to be very good. Though DRW, his mechanics may be good but his FT shooting still stinks. Whatever. So does Dwight Howard’s.

Also the Cooke-Zeigler comparison is unfair? To which one? Cooke actually played at Pitt, in the BE and was a solid contributer all around. Zeigler has some nice stats (pt totals, rebs, steals) but they may very well be inflated because of how bad his team was (Cooke’s JuCo team was better), and he has some troubling nubmers with shooting % and TOs. Plus he brings to the floor something we already have — slasher — in Moore (assuming Moore realizes this is what he should do). I’m happy to have the kid but not gonna go so far as to say he makes us a power. This remains to be seen and isnt a sure thing by any stretch of the imagination.

Comment by PantherP 04.17.12 @ 6:37 pm

I can only defend my argument about Adams based on my experience as someone who played some college basketball and played with 2 6’11” players in practice every day in high school.

To argue with someone who has not played at that level and did not watch the video of Adams destroy Nolens is foolish.

No high school player has played in the big east what does that mean? The glass is always half-empty with those who do not know the game. As for Adams mechanics at the foul line my remarks were based on watching videos not from reading remarks about him and his performance in 2010 Addias.

Arguing is silly. If you are a Pitt fan be grateful that only because Adams is from New Zealand is he coming to Pitt. I guess if I was Nolens (#1 rated center who never played in the big east, going to Kentucky/by the way Big east has no dominant centers) and I gave up 23 points and 14 boards and only scored 14 with 12 boards, got my ass kicked I would also say “Adams is the best center I played against.”

Of course Bowling G and PP know more about his skill level than Nolens does who has been burnt by him twice.

Comment by drw 04.18.12 @ 12:43 pm

No one said Adams is gonna be anything but great. I just said his FT shooting isnt very good, having seen it on tape. And like i said, shaq, howard and other all-time greats shot crap at the FT line too.

btw, your not the only person to have played college ball on this board. and anyway I think its irrelevant to the strenght of your argument. Michael Jordan is terrible at evaluating talent and he played at some pretty high levels I would say.

For the record – Adams is a sure thing, though its conceivable he’s more Fab Melo than Anthony Davis. Which is really good. Robinson, rock solid back up, potential starter late in the year if Woodall craps the bed, definitely a future stud for us (injury/transferring permitting). Zeigler, I’m expecting Mike Cook level output (though different skill set, same degreee of impact) and if he does more i’ll not be terrible surprise.

Comment by PantherP 04.18.12 @ 9:21 pm

[…] Moore will have surgery to repair the fractured bone in his right foot, that he suffered last week. […]

Drw, not sure what you are thinking sometimes. Somehow you take my saying that Adams is as close to a sure thing as you can get but cold be one injury from ot contributing as an attack on him or you… Gonna have to explain that one.

Also, whatever private detective you hired to be able to say I never played college basketball should be fired. Learn to read please.

And if you can’t handle someone saying you may not be 100% correct you might find life to be rough…

Comment by Bowling Green Panther 04.19.12 @ 9:32 pm

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