Need to clear some tabs. Too many building up and I know that it will only get tougher to get to in the coming weeks.
Pitt may have a new basketball commit after this weekend. Jamel Artis out of Baltimore has indicated he intends to give a verbal after the Peach Jam in South Carolina. Which just happens to be an event Coach Jamie Dixon is attending.
Though Pittsburgh will soon be an Atlantic Coast Conference institution, Artis did indicate “I always wanted to play in the BIG EAST,” when asked specifically about the conference. Jamel on criteria for choosing a school: “Honestly, guys I can trust — coaches and players. Guys that play hard every night, that are going to give it a 100%. And I just want to win…win a championship.”
Artis considers himself a “point forward”, and for good measure, as he possesses significant passing ability for a player standing 6’7” and weighing 220 pounds. Of dropping dimes, the East Baltimore product that calls that city’s Belair section home said “I take a lot of pride in that. That’s one thing I do best.” In addition to finding people, Artis can hit mid-range jumpers, solidly pat the rock, and has a decent feel for the game.
He also understands conditioning is an issue — Jamel laughed and agreed when asked if the food at Vermont Prep packed on a few extra pounds. He cited three other points of needed improvement, as “I have to stop clutching” his jump shot, and “I have to rebound more”. In terms of lateral quickness, Artis revealed “I’m quick at times, but I can get a little quicker.”
His own description of himself and this scouting report from ESPN.com makes him appear to be exactly the kind of player that has developed and thrived for Coach Dixon.
Artis is a long athletic wing that can get to the rim with slashes in transition as well as in the half court set. He is a good ball handler, rebounder and multiple position defender as well. He must get stronger and extend his shooting range but has very good upside.
Artis has gotten a good amount of interest but not a lot of offers.
He has drawn interest from Arizona, Florida and Louisville but not offers. He appears to be down to Pitt or LaSalle. Assuming he does make a decision after this weekend. He’s still listed as a 3-star recruit by all accounts, but it also appears that most have not done recent reviews of him. Which also explains some discrepancies in his measurements which have him from 6-5 to 6-7 and 180 to 220 pounds.
Here’s a highlight reel. Heavy on the dunks.
Andy Katz makes the point that from the basketball side, seeing Pitt leave the Big East is just not the same as with Cuse.
Pitt’s departure from the Big East to the ACC will hurt just as much as Syracuse, but not in terms of lost rivalries. The Panthers have been a consistent winner under Jamie Dixon, last season’s hiccup aside. The Panthers have been one of the toughest outs in the Big East and a national player nearly every year. But the Panthers didn’t have the same rivalries that Syracuse participated in during its time in the league. The Orange had at least three in Georgetown, Connecticut and St. John’s. Pitt’s most heated rival was West Virginia and that was already gone when the Mountaineers jettisoned themselves to the Big 12. The best rivalry for the Panthers had become UConn since the programs were two of the winningest in the past decade. There was a genuine respect between Dixon and Jim Calhoun and each game was usually played at a high, physical level. Losing Pitt-UConn won’t be as celebrated but it will be missed by both schools and certainly the Big East.
It was starting to look like Pitt and Villanova might have been on their way to that. But, that just did not get there.
Meanwhile we wait for the basketball schedule to be complete. Pitt is still trying to find that last game. If it will be Valpo, the hang-up is working out whether Pitt has to give them a return game of some sort.
[Valparaiso Coach Bryce] Drew is still trying to get Pitt to agree to a game. Drew would also like to get a home-and-home series with the return game being at the United Center in Chicago in his attempt to be creative for a strong series.
Pitt has stayed out of the Chicagoland recruiting scene even with the DePaul existence so I’m not sure how much of an appeal playing a game in Chicago would actually hold for Coach Dixon. Sooner or later, Pitt is going to have to release a schedule.
I’ve mentioned at times this summer the change in NCAA rules that allows some more structured coaching of players over the summer. Here’s an article on how liked it is by Pitt.
The NCAA rule was implemented this summer and allows each player to spend two hours per week with coaches for an eight-week period.
All players benefit, but coaches and players agree that freshmen get the most out of it.
In years past, coaches would not be able to teach their system to new players until the fall. Now, they are able to indoctrinate the freshmen as early as May.
“It’s definitely valuable,” said Pitt junior guard Trey Zeigler, a transfer from Central Michigan who will suit up for the Panthers for the first time this fall. “For freshmen and for someone like me transferring in, we’re getting to capture what coach [Jamie] Dixon wants us to do. We can pick up the system, the defense. It’s really beneficial. For the freshmen especially, they get to pick things up quicker.
“When I was a freshman, all we could do was play pick-up and lift. This is a real advantage. I know a lot of guys on other teams aren’t doing it. I’m just glad we’re taking advantage of it.”
Steven Adams has gotten to benefit from it. And it appears his teammates like the big kid.
“I wasn’t sure how fast I was going to improve, but I know I’m improving because I’m listening to the coaches,” Adams said. “But you know, whether it’s fast or not, as long as I learn it, that’s just the main thing.”
“I’m just playing, just doing what the coaches tell me, really. Run, post up, screen — I’m just trying to make good decisions for our team,” Adams said. “If I do something different and the team is doing something of its own, I’m going to kind of screw up the team. So I’m going to have to learn from them and just get into their system of gameplay.”
Adams is currently enrolled in online classes for the summer and spends most of his days at the Petersen Events Center training and studying.
Off the court, Adams is just as “goofy” as he is intense when he’s playing, his teammates say.
“He’s a good guy to be around,” Pitt junior forward Talib Zanna said. “He’s a fun guy, he likes having fun and just playing around and stuff. He’s a normal guy. He doesn’t have a big head or anything.”
Sophomore guard John Johnson agreed, saying there are “no issues, no egos, none of that” with his highly touted future teammate.
“[He’s] definitely down to earth. He’s a great kid,” Patterson said of Adams.
His biggest setback this summer has been a fire that gutted a sushi joint he liked to frequent.