April 24, 2012

Divining Dixon’s Intent

Filed under: Basketball,Recruiting — Chas @ 2:41 pm

Coach Jamie Dixon may know something we don’t. He may be laying groundwork for 2013 recruits. There might be something else.

I’ve assumed that the 2012 recruiting class is done. Finished. Complete. Nothing more to see here. Sure there are the rumblings of a Savon Goodman, but the numbers just don’t work.

Well, it does seem that Savon Goodman is going to draw out his recruitment. He’s visiting Seton Hall this weekend and will take another visit to Pitt.

Savon Goodman will visit Seton Hall early next week and Pittsburgh sometime after that, Philly Constitution coach Rob Moore told

Moore said Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon has also been in touch about a visit but no date has been set.

And somewhere in there he has a visit to St. John’s as well.

So, with Goodman, I still don’t have any sense that he is sure of what his plan really is. I really don’t believe Coach Dixon can take him for 2012. Especially with the way Goodman hasn’t been clear about what he wants to do. I have to think that Dixon is going after him, more with the idea that he might go to prep school and be a part of the 2013 class. Something that Goodman also keeps as an option.

“I’m not sure yet,” Goodman said over the weekend. “I’m waiting to make a decision.”

Goodman said waiting a season to go to college would give him another year to work on his game, while it would also shore up any academic or eligibility issues that might come up.

Yet, Goodman is not the only one to whom Coach Dixon seems to still be talking. We have’t heard much from point guard Kaza Keane since Pitt got Zeigler. Unsurprisingly, neither has Keane from Pitt.

Formerly a member of the 2013 class, the 6’2” point guard said he does indeed plan to be on a college campus in the fall, listing his current offers as Towson, Rhode Island, George Mason, and Pittsburgh.

Though represents his only high-major offer as of now, Keane said the Panthers aren’t coming after him as hard as they previously were but still keep in touch with him periodically. He’s still very high on Jamie Dixon’s program but after adding Central Michigan transfer Trey Zeigler, Pitt has no more open scholarships.

That said, Keane apparently stopped at Pitt’s campus and met with Coach Dixon this past weekend while at the JamFest.

The thing that stands out with Keane is that he reclassified from 2013 to 2012, and has not seen the uptick in offers he thought would come his way. I can’t help but think that Dixon — much like Goodman — is recruiting Keane for 2013. Trying to sell the kid to go back to his original classification and possibly being part of the 2013 group.

That makes more sense. Already, Pitt has 4 scholarship players for the 2012 class. Last year it was 4 as well (including Khem Birch). I have a hard time seeing Coach Dixon really churning the roster that hard.


Reports (behind the paywall) are that Pitt is actually pursing one other point guard in the 2012 class, and that he may be visiting this weekend as well.

Oh, and then there is the strange, late firing (the timing, not the decision which was defensible) of Seth Greenberg by Virginia Tech. In the VT 2012 recruiting class is a top-100 player. 4-star Power forward Montrezl Harrell. The young man, is apparently going to seek his release from VT. Reports are that Pitt will be among the programs vying for his services.

Which just fuels other speculation. Is it just courtesy? Just covering bases? Is there someone else on the team that may leave after the semester ends? A recruit that may not qualify?

Lots of questions and few answers.

My guess is John Johnson wants out but its only a guess. It seems like Jamie wants one more for 2012.

Comment by Tony C 04.24.12 @ 2:56 pm

I don’t see a lot of playing time for Wright or Johnson. Neither is a Big East or ACC starter. This team still needs a couple more good players.

Comment by Wayne 04.24.12 @ 4:31 pm

I think the strategy might be as shimple as “exploring all options.” It seems like every year this comes up: “We have no more scholarships but are still talking to x.” I think it’s just being circumspect.

Comment by pittbaster 04.24.12 @ 4:51 pm

Jesus, somehow I TYPED with a lisp.

Comment by pittbaster 04.24.12 @ 4:52 pm

Do we really need another PG… any news on Ziegler’s eligibility ?

Also my friends blog is giving away xbox 360 game (mass effect 3) if anybody is interested…

link to

Comment by Snala The Panther 04.24.12 @ 4:56 pm

I would love for pitt to get harrell. Pitt needs power forwards and with zeigler the frontcourt is in good shape

Comment by Pk 04.24.12 @ 5:25 pm

the wheel is turning were it stops only dixon knows

Comment by Frankcan 04.24.12 @ 5:45 pm

Made my day, pittbaster

Comment by steve1 04.24.12 @ 5:54 pm

How can anyone judge Wright or Johnson after one year of limited play? Look, both players have their weaknesses, but so did guys like Jaron Brown and Gary Mcghee. Some players are late bloomers and it’s far too early to label either Wright or Johnson a bust. In fact, I don’t understand the negative sentiment towards Johnson at all. He was a true freshmen that was unfortunately forced into ball handling duties before he was ready. He has a killer instinct and plays without fear. Is he undersized for the two? Sure. But this is college ball, not the NBA.

All that said, I would not be surprised in the slightest if Wright transferred.

Comment by Denny 04.24.12 @ 6:27 pm

Denny: Johnson is a powder puff on defense. Whomever he guards is under orders to take him to the hoop. The kid doesn’t have the make-up to defend. He’s a liability every time he’s on the court. He’ll destroy the concept of team defense.

Comment by Old School Panther 04.24.12 @ 7:08 pm

I apologize if this has been mentioned before on here and I missed it……but has anyone heard about Ziegler’s cousin (Bo Ziegler) who is a top 100 prospect? He was leaning toward CMU or at least strongly considering it before Ernie was fired. Maybe he would want to join his cousin….which might end up being a nice consolation prize if Trey can’t go until 2013-2014

Comment by Crashing the Bored 04.24.12 @ 7:13 pm

Wright is horrible, I hope he’s never on te court again. I am just not a fan of that kid.

Comment by Timmeh 04.24.12 @ 7:50 pm

Saw Keane play this weekend. Have to say he didnt look like a player who would be playing in the Big East/ACC or any other big-time conference for that matter.

Comment by Dylan 04.24.12 @ 10:43 pm

Wright cant score has no shot and johnson cant play defense well if that is true what the hell did dixon recruit them for.
dixon has allwas had good classes good kids makes you wonder what the hell happened with these kids and the one that just transferd.
this may have been his worst bunch of kids ever.

Comment by Frankcan 04.24.12 @ 10:51 pm

The kid from VT would be an awesome get.

“Harrell is a beast mode power forward who is always going 100 mph to make things happen. He is strong, tough, and is a freak athlete which allows him to dominate opponents down low.His skill set on the outside needs to catch up with his physical abilities, but he is very productive despite the size limitation.”

Sounds like a thinner version of DeJuan.
And what’s interesting he wanted to play in the ACC (VT), so there are ONLY 2 ACC teams on his list, PITT & NC State. Only problem is, he grew up in NC I believe. Perhaps Dixon can hire Greenburg for a year or two just to land this guy.
He could use the help on the bench as well !!

Comment by Emel 04.24.12 @ 11:22 pm

Agree Frankie, hit nail on head.
We need some players !!

Comment by Emel 04.24.12 @ 11:26 pm

Get Harrell & Goodman, you can unload both Wright & Johnson. That would change the makeup of the team real quick. Go get em Jamie !!

Comment by Emel 04.24.12 @ 11:28 pm

Jamie’s recruited plenty of busts. The list is endless

Comment by TonyC 04.25.12 @ 1:48 am

Greenberg was fired because he pisses off everyone he meets; most especially the NCAA selection committee. He finally exhausted the patience of VT– an extraordinary move so long after the season–and will test tts patience of everyone. Bob Knight at least had some charm and he won. Greenberg has only a similar personality.
Can we end up with a team of 12 point guards? I sense that JD is once bitten, twice shy and is stocking the shelves with toilet paper so as never to be without. Rumor has it he will be featured on an episode of American Hoarder. Chas, can your behind the paywall people confirm or deny?
Seriously, neither Wright nor Johnson have shown much. Duquesne needs players….

Comment by SFPitt 04.25.12 @ 3:35 am

In any endevor, the key to success is surrounding yourself with good people. Recruiting is more important than X’s and O’s.

It was clear that the group of people Jamie had last year didn’t work. He HAS to explore all options to upgrade the roster. More than minor tweaking is required. A couple current underclassman may have to leave. Wright is probably first on that list, Zeigler is a direct replacement/upgrade.

The interesting/really tough decision is Taylor. What do you do with him? If he is your starting center next year, you might as well waive the red flag and expect to defend your CBI championship.

He can’t play the four.

So that leaves him competing with Gilbert for back up center minutes. Gilbert clearly has more upside. He will be the starting center when Adams leaves after next year. Can you afford to redshirt him? Would you waste another year eligibility giving him only spot duty?

Wouldn’t it be better for the program and for Taylor, for him to transfer to somewhere where he could play his senior year?

Comment by boubacar aw 04.25.12 @ 8:20 am

Just read my comment…to be clear:

I am asking if TAYLOR should transfer, not Gilbert.

Comment by boubacar aw 04.25.12 @ 8:23 am

I asked that several months back about Taylor. He really should transfer to a school where he can get more PT. He’d have to take the year off, correct? That would give him time to get in the gym and do the work needed to improve his strength, foot speed, etc. I would not be that surprised if he left. Seems advisable to me, even though he has only one year of eligibility left.

Comment by Carmen 04.25.12 @ 8:52 am

How could you make an assessment on Wright and J Johnson on just their 1st season … and further, how could you determine that either of them should go ahead od Durand Johnson whom you never seen play in college?

Boubcar, maybe Taylor will be better at the 4 with the focus squarely being on Adams at the 5 .. he may turn out to be a really good support player.

Comment by wbb 04.25.12 @ 8:53 am

Taylor needs to put the showboating aside and play hard nosed b ball. As a four man would he be fast enough to play that position would be only worry. I don’t see him transfering though.

Comment by Tackle made by Hugh 04.25.12 @ 9:18 am

Taylor lacks the lateral quickness, footwork to defend quicker forwards in space. He also lacks the ball handling ability to help inbound the ball and help bring the ball up court against the press. So really, he could only play against big forwards and against teams that won’t press. Pretty limited opportunities in the BE.

But even if he were able to improve in those areas, he still has the same problem at four that he has at center: Jamie has better (not great) options at four so he’ll still be fighting for PT.

Zanna is the best option right now. He is a good weak side rebounder and would benefit most from Adams’ presence inside. Zanna has a better jumper and has better face up moves. Zanna has better lateral quickness allowing him to be a better defender. Clearly Jamie agrees, Zanna has played a ton at four in his two years, Taylor hasn’t played a minute.

Pitt would be better off playing Patterson in spots at the four than Taylor. Patterson is also a good weak side rebounder. Having Adams, Zeigler and Moore on the court with Patterson, Pitt would have PLENTY of rebounding. On defense Patterson can guard a four on the perimeter and Adams can help him in the paint.

None of the current options at four are ideal. But even with that said, I think it will be as tough to find Taylor minutes at four as it will at five.

Comment by boubacar aw 04.25.12 @ 9:32 am

Having met Seth Greenberg several years ago, all I can say is that either his personality has completely changed in the past few years, or the VT assassination of his character has been somewhat successful. From my memory, he was nothing like Bobby Knight, either as a coach or a person. In fact, I find it interesting that at least a few media folks at ESPN have questioned the rationale put forward by VT. In my opinion, this has more to do with the fact that VT recently decided that they didn’t want to extend his contract beyond next year (because he didn’t win enough), and belatedly realized that hiring assistants into that situation was going to be near impossible. I also think VT has an inflated sense of where they sit on the hoops hierarchy. The fact that they seem surprised that they lost an assistant to Clemson speaks volumes.

I don’t think Greenberg will come to Pitt, mainly because Dixon doesn’t seem keen on opening up a spot on his staff. That being said, if Greenberg goes the assistant coach route, I think he’ll be successful (both as a coach and a recruiter) and try to follow the path that Tom Herrion did after losing his head coaching job.

Comment by Pantherman13 04.25.12 @ 10:24 am

I htink it makes sense to simply keep options open and keep some irons in the fire in case Zeigler does not work this year or any of the 3 guys who may transfer decide to do that.

I see almost no room for Taylor, Johnson, or Wright next year. At least two of these guys will be on the bench all year.

No idea why we would be going after Kaza Keane. He’s no better than john johnson. no upgrade there.

Comment by PantherP 04.25.12 @ 1:19 pm

I certainly don’t remember him a being abrasive when Greenburg was an assistant at Pitt .. nor do I believe that that’s his overall image right now.

Comment by wbb 04.25.12 @ 1:33 pm

It is way too early to jump ship on John Johnson. He is lightning fast, can shoot threes and free throw. His defense was certainly suspect, but absolutely no worse than Ashton Gibbs’.

We have no idea about Durand Johnson, other than Dixon picked him to redshirt. From what I saw in Greentree, he has potential, but John Johnson was much better in that setting.

Wright has had two years with Jamie. By bringing in Zeigler (a better version of Wright, with the same remaining eligibility), Dixon told us what he thinks of Wright.

Pitt’s biggest glaring need is an athletic power forward. Both Goodman and Harrell appear to address that need. If Wright or Taylor has to go, so be it.

Comment by boubacar aw 04.25.12 @ 2:06 pm

I only suggested Dixon bring in Greenberg IF.. IF he brought along the Marquis(?) Harrell 6-7 240 lb beast of a Power Forward along with him.

Greenberg has much more coaching experience than Dixon himself, so there’s that to consider as well. (and whether Dixon can deal with that as well)
Since it’s pretty late in the year, the chances of Greenberg landing another HC job is minimal. Everyone has bills to pay and he does have some history with PITT. Again it would have to be a package deal with Harrell.

Whatever they have to do, to infuse some talent onto this team and not waste the limited year(s) of Adams at PITT. Greenberg would be a very nice addition as well since he knows the ACC, both coaching against them and recruiting in it.
That phone call should CERTAINLY be made if only to explore the possibilities !!!

Comment by Emel 04.25.12 @ 2:53 pm

First off, Taylor isn’t going anywhere.

As for Johnson and Wright, while neither excites me at this point, I think back to Brad Wanamaker’s first two years, and recall that he drove me crazy with his play and lack of shooting ability. Not saying they will turn out that good, but who saw Wanamaker turning into what he was?

Also on Johnson – wasn’t he recruited as a point guard?

Comment by marcus of schaumburg 04.25.12 @ 6:14 pm

We remember wannamaker w rose colored glasses.

That said, wanny always had more upside than either wright or Johnson are showing

Comment by PantherP 04.25.12 @ 7:32 pm

I knew Seth well when he was at Pitt and he was as nice a person as you could find, and did all he could to help his players.
I would bet he ends up on TV for a year then lands another big job.

Comment by Jimbo 04.25.12 @ 10:55 pm

I agree with Marcus. Taylor put on twenty pounds and played out of position for three years. At 240 he certainly does not have the quickness at defense. Perhaps at 220 that would help with the tendeitis in his knees he could full the promise many top college coaches (UConn,others) saw in him and recover to where he outscored and outrebounded Cousins in the MacDonlds All-American game.

Has anyone considered Dixon ruined this kid. I realize All-Star games are not an exact baromter but when your playing against the best and score 15 points in limited playing action you must have some skills (not at a position you never played)

The crap pointing out the other players who from the 2009 Mac game who have not meet expectations is completely unfair. He is the only player who was asked to play a completely new position. Anyone who knows basketball knows at the high school level this is difficult. Then put 20 pounds on so you can hold your ground will not help anyones quickness or jumping ability.

We all know that because most of us are 20 lbs heavier than we were in high school. Are you qucker, stronger, faster?

My opinion and its is only an opinion is that if Taylor lost 15 pounds worked hard on regaining his quickness and jumping ability he showed in the Mac all-star game (watch the video) he would far better than Zanna at the 4.

Comment by drw 04.26.12 @ 2:25 pm

Not sure Taylor would be better than Zanna. Really it remains to be seen what Zanna will be able to do. He’s got two years left and shows hints of being a serviceable PF — which is all we need next year and possible the year after if either Gilbert become a really solid Center (again already looking better at this point in his career than any Pitt Center not name Blair at similar points).

And its entirely conceivable that Taylor’s lack of quickness is partially due to his increased weight begetting tendinitis and back problems. But i think he’s missing something else too. That said its not out of the question he could serve some minutes at PF against particularly slow oppsing PFs.

And all this to say that I do not think that a PF for 2013 is a pressing need given that Zanna is very possibly serviceable there, Taylor could eat up a few minutes in certain circumstances, and Moore, Patterson (or who knows even D Johnson) could play other minutes. It may not be our strongest position, but its not a situation where you take risks on potential head-case prospects and push out a current player to recruit for the position. The risk/reward isnt right.

Comment by PantherP 04.26.12 @ 4:37 pm

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