If Coach Dixon had opted to bring Steven Adams to New York City for Big East Media Day, I have no doubt that he would have been the player getting the most media attention. The big kid is already the player getting the most buzz in the Big East in terms of curiosity.
Time to take a look at the interest around Steven Adams.
Over at SI.com, Seth Davis classifies Adams as the most intriguing freshman.
For intrigue, however, it’s hard to beat Pittsburgh’s Steven Adams. A seven-foot center from New Zealand, Adams is extremely skilled and agile for a player his size. He even outplayed Noel when their high school teams faced off last season. Aside from DaJuan Blair, Jamie Dixon has never recruited a player this heralded, and Adams is joining the program at the perfect time. The Panthers had a disappointing 2011-12 — it was the first time in Dixon’s nine years that they failed to make the NCAA tournament — but that was partly because early on point guard Tray Woodall sustained a leg injury that dogged him all season. Woodall is now at full strength, and the team is adding another prized freshman, 6-3 guard James Robinson, as well as Central Michigan transfer Trey Zeigler. Adams will give Pitt a unique presence in the post. If he’s fun to watch, the Panthers will be as well.
Also check out the note after Adams regarding officiating and the call of block/charge.
In an ESPN.com roundtable, Andy Katz also goes with Adams and the intrigue.
3. Between freshmen and transfers, what player are you most looking forward to seeing in his new jersey?
Katz: A 7-footer from New Zealand with an intriguing backstory? I’m in. Incoming Steven Adams has a quirky personality, but he’s the sort of character college basketball fans might fall in love with. And Pitt, after its worst season in years, is really going to need him. Adams might not be a superstar right away, but there’s a reason he vaulted to No. 6 in the ESPN 100 once our scouts saw him play. He has the type of talent to help the Panthers bounce back.
Jay Bilas tabs Adams as the best new player in the Big East (Insider subs).
4. Who will be the Big East’s top newcomer?
I’ll go with Adams, Pittsburgh’s incoming freshman center. He is a true center who is a very productive rebounder and shot-blocker, in addition to being a skilled passer with a great feel for the game. He is mature and fully prepared to step in and play at a high level.
Adams is physical, and he is unafraid. One of 18 children (he has a sister who competed in the shot put in the Olympics), Adams is a future pro who will be relied upon from his first day at Pitt.
As a bonus, Bilas also goes with Pitt as the “surprise” team.
3. Which team could surprise?
Can Pittsburgh be considered a surprise after a surprisingly rough season in 2011-12? Jamie Dixon hadn’t experienced real Big East adversity until last season, but to his great credit, he never changed his approach and toughed it out. The Panthers have a healthy Tray Woodall at the point and really good newcomers in center Steven Adams, transfer Trey Zeigler and physical combo guard James Robinson.
The Panthers need to get back to defense and rebounding, but I think you can expect Pitt to be Pitt again.
Another team that could surprise is Rutgers, with the experience of Dane Miller and Mike Poole, Kansas State transfer Wally Judge and guards Eli Carter and Myles Mack.
And no surprise that Chad Ford puts Adams down as the top NBA prospect in the Big East (Insider subs).
1. Steven Adams, C, Fr., Pittsburgh
Top 100 Rank: 8
Adams remains an enigma for most NBA scouts. He’s ranked this high primarily on an eye-opening performance from the summer of 2011 at the adidas Nations camp.
Adams’ strength and athleticism translate into a fierce defensive presence. His brief play in the U.S. at prep school was met with mixed reviews, and now he shows up at Pittsburgh as a huge question mark.
Can the New Zealand native make the leap to Big East basketball? He’s got a pretty huge learning curve ahead of him. Will coach Jamie Dixon give him serious playing time? In the past, he’s been reluctant to play top freshmen, but then again, I’m not sure he’s had a prospect this good.
Everyone thinks he has the physical tools to be an NBA lottery pick some day. The question really is, will it be in 2013?
Hey, a “Dixon doesn’t play freshmen” comment. Everyone drink!