October 18, 2012

Everyone Wants to Know Steven Adams

Filed under: Basketball,Players — Chas @ 7:58 am

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, 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 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!


This team should end up no worse than a 3 seed in the tournament. I agree with Ashton Gibbs who recently tweeted that Pitt was going to the Final Four this year.

For as many injuries and problems such as Birch transferring, the team was still competitive last year. So with actual additions ofone of the top recruits in the nation and a legit very talented transfer that lots of schools wanted PLUS addition by subtraction, then you get a very dangerous and good team come March.

Comment by Wardapalooza 10.18.12 @ 8:07 am

Assuming James Robinson is good and can give us good minutes at point guard, I like our top 8 very much. And I expect JJ Moore to explode this year. I am ready to go to the first game today.

Comment by rayhpgh 10.18.12 @ 8:27 am


I agree. This team is going to turn it all the way around this season. I watched most of the players in the Greentree League this summer and it seemed like a lot of them (Wright, Zanna, Durand Johnson, etc.) really worked on their offensive arsenal in the off-season. Wright in particular stood out to me. He seemed much less complacent on offense than he did last year. I realize that it’s only summer league, but these players displayed offensive capabilities they didn’t last year. I believe this team will be deep, talented and successful. I can’t wait.

Comment by PatMac 10.18.12 @ 8:57 am

Pitt will make a deep run into the Big Dance. Could we finally see a Final 4? I think we’ll see a Final 4 before we see another BCS game.

Comment by TX Panther 10.18.12 @ 10:10 am

To me, it all comes down to our point guard and Trey Woodall. Is he too slow to play the position which he showed the last 20 games of last year or was he hurt. Only 1 on 1 play against the BE Point guards will actually show us. Everyone looks good in practice.

Comment by Dan 72 10.18.12 @ 10:17 am

I think this is a Final 4 team….

I think Pitt got a #6 rank in Big East because they really didn’t see Adams and Zeigler play for Pitt yet.
Based upon what I saw this summer… Adams and Zeigler are difference makers for the team… going from a Top 25 team to at least Top 10 team in US.
Pitt also has LOTS of Depth on the team..

Comment by Joe D 10.18.12 @ 10:19 am

Dan 72 — of course he was badly hurt last year. He just started working out 6 weeks ago — he spent five months recovering from a sports hernia. He played the second half of the season with an injury that is extremely painful. Woodall was impressive prior to the injury and I fully expect him to be an excellent player this year.

Comment by Denny 10.18.12 @ 12:41 pm

I was at the Midnight Madness event at Homecoming. The basketball player that made me say “WOW” when first seeing their physical attributes wasn’t even a member of the men’s team. This freshman from Jamaica, “Bubbles” Anderson looks to be a game changer for the women’s squad as a true freshman. HUGE!!!! They only list height for the ladies but at 6’11”, if she goes less than 250lbs I’d be surprised. Keep an eye on this one fellas.

Comment by Dr. Tom 10.18.12 @ 2:12 pm

I think Bubbles is redshirting.

Comment by steve1 10.18.12 @ 3:22 pm

here’s a cool cbs news video of bubbles when she was 16
link to

seems likable! I’m a fan already!

Comment by dish 10.18.12 @ 6:17 pm

This year’s team will be great, partly because the defense will be so good. Adams in the middle will make everybody else’s job easier. And Zeigler will be a shut-down defender on the outside.

Comment by Howard 10.18.12 @ 6:49 pm

Fraud Graham getting it handed to him on national TV 22-7 in 1stQ. Oregon already has a 100 yrd rusher in 1st Q. Gimmick football (aka high octane) will never succeed against quality competition

Comment by Pitt fan in Atlanta 10.18.12 @ 9:51 pm

Ouch 43-7 with 11:32 left in the second Q. ESPN announcers “stick around and see if Oregon can score 100”. Fraud is being humiliated on national TV.

Comment by Pitt fan in Atlanta 10.18.12 @ 10:13 pm

Doing it with a rs freshman at qb, and a true freshman at wide receiver. Both, big parts of the offense.

I know, they have quality talent around them, however, they are doing things on their own, actually adding to the offense, not living off of it.

That’s two starting freshmen, at two key positions on a top 5 team.

Comment by Dan 10.18.12 @ 10:21 pm

You don’t want to be the team, that the announcer says, with 11 minutes to go in the 2nd quarter……”now’s the time to play for pride”!!


Comment by Dan 10.18.12 @ 10:22 pm

Here’s to hoping we aren’t going to be 0-3 on these top post players. Taylor, Birch…

Comment by TonyC 10.18.12 @ 11:15 pm

Adams is much better than the other two. Expect DeJuan Blair freshman year type production from him immediately.

I am hoping for more. Adams has more offense. He is taller, making him more of a shot blocker. He runs better. Most importantly, Adams has better talent surrounding him.

Comment by Boubacar Aw 10.19.12 @ 8:54 am

Oh my, TonyC. Next to you I’m Don Quixote and others here would never label me that.

Comment by steve1 10.19.12 @ 8:55 am

Seems like we’ve gone from wildly under-rated to over-rated in the course of one post.

So long as Dixon does not try to run the offense through Patterson (who is extra solid, but not a playmaker and not good enough to take touches away from everyone else, esp Adams) we’ll be fine. Just can not replay the of the same fundamental mistakes of last year by staking too much on a player who excelled in the right circumstances of prior years (Gibbs’ great soph-junior years) then came crashing to earth when too much focus was placed on him.

The other fundamental short-comings are definitely not present this year — i) we have a legit post-presence; ii) we actually have some speed and length at the guard positions.

In light of the above, gotta think we don’t loose any pre-conf games (that’s 2+ games on last year), and will loose 2 less to the BE bottom feeders than last year.

Also expect this team to get significantly better over the course of the season as the young guys and new comers (ie arguably the 3 most talented players on the team) get accustomed to D1 major conference play.

We’ll be in the real post-season and thereafter its a crap shoot anyway (the field is pretty wide open, but for about 4 clearly very good teams, one or two of whom is bound to trip up). So its not out of the question to make a deep run. But of course, its wayyyy to early and Final 4 is a high hope for any team at the beginning of any year.

Comment by PantherP 10.22.12 @ 4:05 pm

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