November 27, 2012

Open Thread: Howard-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 5:28 pm

In something of a sign that Pitt is catching people’s fancy (or that the NHL lockout has some media outlets starved for extra content), a game that would otherwise be subject to only being available on the Comcast-Pitt channel in Western PA (Ch. 188). A game that is a pure patsy game. This game is being picked up elsewhere. SNY (NY/NJ area) and TCN (Philly) are going to offer the game tonight at 7 pm.

This should be an easy win for Pitt. Howard is 1-5. They have lost to Gardner-Webb, West Carolina and Lincoln University (Pennsylvania). Expect a lot of substituting and I will be shocked if any of the starters play more than 25 minutes.

Also, the amount of gloom after a blowout win, in a game in which basically two rotation players couldn’t play, is pretty ridiculous on here even for Pitt fans.

Comment by Wardapalooza 11.28.12 @ 8:16 am

Adams recieved his rating and acclaim because of his potential upside not because of where he is at with his current game. This was noted in every scouting report and discussed extensively here. And the theory about Dixon’s “inability” to utilize elite talent and scare away recruits is only popular with the dingbat football fans here leaning against the car bumper in the stadium parking lot trying to sound smart about basketball.

Comment by SilverPanther in NYC 11.28.12 @ 8:26 am

People are completely unreasonable about Adams’ development. For those that think Dixon can’t coach heralded players, what do you think of Boeheim (Fab Melo, age 22) and Calhoun (Alex Oriakhi)? Neither Melo or Oriakhi showed all that much in their first couple years of play. In fact Oriakhi has transferred.

It’s still too early to tell whether Khem Birch will amount to anything, so let’s stop pointing to his transfer as a clear Dixon failure. I also don’t buy the nonsense that Birch couldn’t play center. At the time he was listed as 6’9″. Which is the same height as Talib Zanna and Dante Taylor. Birch is a much better shot blocker than either one. Dixon played Birch in front of both of those guys. No, Birch didn’t have Gary McGhee’s body, but I don’t really recall him being muscled around for the month that he played at Pitt.

Comment by Barvo 11.28.12 @ 8:35 am

@Ward @Denny @Silver … Thanks for bringing a little level headed perspective to an otherwise perplexing and completely unwarranted over the top criticism of Coach Dixon and Adams.

How on earth some of you guys can look into your crystal ball and determine Adams is a bust after 7 games and Khem Birch will be a dominant player after 10 games is mystifying. Maybe you guys can give the rest of us mere humans the winning Powerball numbers for tonight so that we too can enjoy your exceptional predictive skills.

Comment by ECH 11.28.12 @ 8:42 am

Much better second half. I was surprised at the continuing rebounding struggles – that obviously needs to improve. I didn’t know Durand has a hamstring issue – that explains the 8 man rotation. Patterson really found his stroke. Robinson had a couple of big 3’s early when we were basically standing around lifeless. I would have liked to see better rebounding and easier baskets (we settled for too many 3’s last night). Also, would like to see JJ pump fake the 3 and drive hard to the basket. Overall, pretty much what most of us expected. This is a talented yet young team that will have its ups-and-downs. HTP!!

Comment by JAM 05 Pitt 11.28.12 @ 8:52 am

when dixon saw the kid play down under he most likeley said boy he can really run the floor
he saw the kid in thoes games block shots throw down dunks.
in all star games he out played noel.
the NBA scouts were weting there paints over the kid the way he runs the floor.

so all the reasons that dixon fell in love with the kid so what does he do when he gets the kid.

trys to change every thing he loved abought him make him a half court player.

the kid is like a race car that is why you liked him so why are you trying to turn him into a mack truck.

Comment by FRANKCAN 11.28.12 @ 8:56 am

Pitt is trying to run as much as ever this year. Robinson in particular is always looking to push the ball in transition. Things bog down in the half court, yes, but they are definitely looking to run more.
Adams is playing “big boy” basketball for the first time in his life. Other similarly projected players have spent years of playing organized high school ball, as well as AAU. As skilled as he may be, things are overwhelming for him, and he’s tentative. That will change. And yes, he is still “learning” to play basketball.
Who knows if Birch will be a head case at UNLV. He hasn’t played a minute yet. And furthermore, who cares.

Comment by JW 11.28.12 @ 8:57 am


Your schtick is really getting to be irritating. You don’t know what you are talking about. I have already explained why you don’t know what you are talking about using facts and analysis. Please stop with your stupid, idiotic, baseless, ignorant, childish, and uninformed critique of Jamie Dixon.

Comment by omar 11.28.12 @ 8:59 am

@Frank Div1 basketball games aren’t Rucker Park games with uniforms. This theory that Pitt doesn’t run is silliness. Pitt will push the ball in transition like any other team. In fact, with the depth of guards with a handle, I expect this will be more true this year than ever.

Steve Adams will HAVE to play the 5 in a half court set. For Dixon not to prepare him for that would be idiotic. Major Div1 Basketball games are won and lost in the half court. If that weren’t true everyone would be playing Paul Westhead-ball. Kentucky excells in the half court. Indiana excels in the half court. Duke excels in the half court. Are you trying to say that Calipari, Crean, and Krzyzewski intentionally turn their thoroughbreds into plodding plow horses? It’s called coaching. And Dixon does it well. In fact he does it better than any other coach to ever pace the sidelines (and a little bit of the court) for Pitt.

Comment by ECH 11.28.12 @ 9:08 am


While you are at it, please learn how to type using punctuation and paragraphs. Reading your posts is mind-numbing for multiple reasons, but the lack of punctuation is usually why I skip them.

Comment by omar 11.28.12 @ 9:15 am

I find it intersting that EMel says the same thing as me but you jump on me and not him.
omar must you attack me becuse i belive different
then you. the last time i checked there was free speech on this post.
but i wont stoop to your low level of child name calling.

bossdawa dan can you help me out with this child
tell him he must act grown up no room for personal attacks.

Comment by FRANKCAN 11.28.12 @ 9:19 am

Great to see Louisville will be returning to the Pete on a regular basis…ACC should just grab Cinn and UConn now. All the big conferences will eventually be 16 teams so might as well do it now.

Omar, I ditto you comment to Frank on the punctuation. It’s hard to take any of his comments serious when they appear to be typed by a first grader.

Comment by milobloom 11.28.12 @ 9:24 am


I explained all of the same things to you in a previous thread without name calling. I have seen zero facts or analysis to support your opinion. I disproved your theory last week and, yet, you continue to repost the same opinion.

I was forced to resort to name calling to get my point across. I apologize for hurting your feelings.

Regarding the punctuation remark, this is simply a friendly suggestion.

Comment by omar 11.28.12 @ 9:30 am

Adams will be fine once he realizes you need to move your feet, not just reach your arms out to rebound at this level. My guess is Taylor is eating him up in practice and he should be learning. In the meantime Taylor is finalyy showing some life, and will get major minutes once league starts. Also JJ is showing what Gil Brown was supposed to be. This team has tons of upside, and how it developes will be a great judge on Jamies ability as a coach. Should be a sweet 16 or better unit by end of year.

Comment by Jimbo 11.28.12 @ 9:51 am

Trib reporting….
Louisville to ACC…

Cincy and UConn were considered…
Makes sense… if ACC is only going to add 1 college at this time… makes sense to add Louisville before Big12 grabs them.
Louisville has a long history of good basketball teams and ACC is basketball first mentality.
Big12 nor Big10 will add UConn…

Comment by Joe D 11.28.12 @ 9:55 am

ACC basketball and football just got stronger by adding Louisville and losing Maryland.

Comment by Joe D 11.28.12 @ 10:05 am

ACC just gained a new market. Virginia and Va Tech already have the DC market so losing Maryland isn’t that bad.

Comment by TX Panther 11.28.12 @ 10:12 am

I am glad Patterson had a good all around game, we need him on both ends. Hoping he starts to take guys off the dribble and score some easy baskets or get to the line.

On Adams, it may take a while and I have faith in Jamie to develop him. I guess my question is should Gilbert be playing this year which could allow us to put Adams at the 5, gets another shot blokcer on floor, improves rebounding…

Comment by pittfan92 11.28.12 @ 10:19 am

A few thoughts from the game last night:

*Adams is playing very tentatively. He missed many opportunities to exploit holes in the middle of that 1-2-2 or 3-2 zone that Howard was playing. He needs to be much more assertive in positioning himself and DEMANDING the ball. But even as passively as he’s playing, he attracts a ton of attention and opens things up for others.

*It was great to see Robinson look for, take and hit a few more shots. He has to be a threat or teams will back off him and limit his ability to create. Patterson finally stepped up an knocked down a few threes. That said, Pitt did rely too much on throwing it around the outside then hitting jumpers over the zone instead of getting it inside. Pitt has to do a better job of going inside out against the zone.

*Rebounding, WTF? This team should be a GREAT rebounding team and so far they’re adequate at best. Adams needs to be more aggressive in fighting for position. Dixon said after the game that he was concerned about fouls. When Taylor and Moore play together, Pitt is a small and has trouble getting 50/50 balls. The guards are not grabbing enough boards either. I am confident Jamie will get this fixed.

*Liked that Jamie experimented a bit with the rotation. Moore played some three and Taylor (for the first time I can remember) played some power forward. Depth and versatility are huge advantages for Pitt. Need to get something out of these non-con scrimmages, now is the time to figure out who can play where.

*Liked that Dixon yanked Woodall after FOUR bad plays in a row. In one sequence, he had the ball on the break, missed an open Patterson and took the ball 1-on-2 to the hoop and got rejected. Then he threw a brain dead half court, cross court pass that was intercepted for a layup, then he missed a jumper on a quick shot, then the coup de gras was when he failed to stay in front his man who beat him off the dribble for an easy hoop. Woodall is a nice player, a good leader and can be a valuable contributor, BUT HE IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO BE THE NUMBER ONE OPTION on a good team. He will never be consistent enough. Jamie needs to keep him in check and not let him try to do too much. Jamie even called him out after the game saying his defense needs to improve.

*This non-conference schedule is a travesty. They only have one game away from the Pete (against Duquesne at CONSOL) and will be at least a 12 point favorite in every remaining non con game. This team desperately needs some competition. I am concerned that this team is going to get fat feasting on a month of cupcakes. If you want to criticize Dixon, look no further than this BULL S*%# schedule. Getting screwed out of the SEC game hurt, but he still needed to schedule at least one more road game and one more high major. It is going to be hard to make the kind of improvement necessary without playing legit competition.

*Glad to see Zeigler on the bench last night, hope he’s back soon. Pitt is going to need him to play close to his potential to make a serious run in March. He has a ton of ability and has yet to figure out how to use it in the role he’s been asked to play for this team. He needs game experience to figure it out.

Comment by Boubacar Aw 11.28.12 @ 10:46 am

I noticed last night in particular some of the poor rebounding came from poor defensive discipline. Several times a 2nd defender — usually Adams, Zanna or Taylor — came late to attempt a block, leaving Howard rebounders unattended. Poor discipline and communication. Guards weren’t really crashing down to help until second half, either.

Really disappointed in the offensive rebounding, too — only Taylor and Moore have even shown glimpses of pulling some down. That’s been such a staple with the program, that’s certainly where some of the numbers are lost too.

Comment by JW 11.28.12 @ 11:00 am

@Wardapalooza I hope for all of our sakes that your optimism is warranted. In the mean time, here’s what I know. Dixon’s two major recruits before Adams were Dante Taylor and Khem Birch. I don’t think either of those examples are even worth discussing in terms of development, respectively. DO NOT GET ME WRONG! I root hard for the Panthers every single game and I hope that Adams blossoms into a terrific player, sooner or later. I’m just not going to chalk it up to: he’s DEFINITELY going to mature and progress as a ball player. As a Pitt fan I am conditioned to be pessimistic, and that will be the case until Adams proves otherwise.

Comment by MikePITT 11.28.12 @ 12:11 pm

Also, I never said that Dixon can’t coach talented kids. But it remains a fact (for better and worse) that Dixon will not let individual players dictate the system. There’s nothing wrong with that, so long as you’re willing to stand behind it when it doesn’t work out with certain guys.

Comment by MikePITT 11.28.12 @ 12:12 pm

Mikepitt, before dixon we had 1 top recruit in 40 years. Taylor wouldn’t be any better if he played for wooden,and khem didn’t fit here. Adams will be a great player in part because he came here. I like how dixon develops players and the type of kids and teams he produces,in time we will be able to enjoy even greater success. My guess is adams will be part of it so we don’t have that long left to wait. Lose the pessimism and enjoy.

Comment by michael g miles 11.28.12 @ 12:27 pm

You are legendary on here, FRANKCAN, and a good man. No need to defend you. Hope your health is improving. Some posters’ passion spilleth over with unnecessary “style” comments. The bottom line is that we are all Pitt fans and entitled to our opinions, no matter how expressed or typed. Just roll with it.
Jamie Dixon is one of the best coaches in the country, and I think it was mentioned last night that he has won more games in his first 8 yrs than any other NCAA coach to date. Lets be patient and see how he handles Adam’s development. I have faith in Jamie and see Adams getting better as the season progresses. Once he gains strength and uses his size to his advantage, he will be a force underneath. HTP

Comment by Bossdaws 11.28.12 @ 12:53 pm


Dante Taylor is obviously not what everybody expected. But let’s be honest — he is physically limited and is a tweener, even in college. Khem Birch can’t be evaluated because he wanted to go play street ball at UNLV. And you also need to include Blair in the list of blue chip recruits — he was in the top 20 in some rankings.

But let’s look at the guys that have developed under Dixon:

— Gary McGhee
— Sam Young
— Aaron Gray
— Antonio Graves
— Levance Fields
— Ronald Ramon

I could keep going. The one thing with Dixon I think is indisputable is if you work hard and follow instruction, you’re going to leave a much better player than when you arrived.

There are five to ten schools that battle over the top twenty players and very rarely to top ranked kids go elsewhere. If you want to hold that against Jamie, so be it, but I feel lucky to have a coach of his caliber at Pitt.

Dixon isn’t the only coach that doesn’t let individuals dictate the system, it’s every coach. You can’t let kids come in and change the way you coach, because they’re gone in a few years. Some coaching philosophies are more geared toward certain types of player — Calipari and the dribble penetration — but every coach has a system. Dixon runs the motion offense, just like coach K, coach Knight, etc…

Comment by Denny 11.28.12 @ 1:00 pm

Ben howland has been getting some ellite talent lately,how’s that working out? Dixon is a very good coach and the best pitt has ever had, I am more concerned with how we do overall than how we ‘develop elite talent’. We could have hired calipari and I am glad we didn’t.wait and see our day will come.

Comment by michael g miles 11.28.12 @ 1:22 pm

This is just another example of selective amnesia. Forgetting what might counter a pet theory but cuddling tight that which supports it. Chris Taft, Dejuan Blair, and Levance Fields were all major recruits that had superb collegiate careers. Taft’s injuries sidelined his potential, but Blair was an All-American and is in the NBA. Fields graduated as the winningest player in school history at the time and captained the team to the Final 8. James Robinson is a highly touted recruit in his own right. All of these guys started or played and contributed significantly as freshman. And frankly in regards to Adams, he was recruited and signed long before he was on anyone’s radar and it has been in fact because of Dixon’s interest and invitation to play in the United States that Steven has been put in a position to garner the attention he has- camps and a short prep school season. Good on him. But it’s been consistenly noted that his natural athletic ability is his prime attraction. And more to the point, learning to play in a motion offense and learning how to play team defense under Jamie Dixon are considerably better preperation for an NBA career then being let lose to hog the ball and chuck it up.

Lastly, from a pure basketball perspective (not tailgating football dumbspeak) let’s open the floor for someone to come in and explain how an offense works so that an individual can dominate the system and not be “held back”. Please provide examples and explain how the other four players fit into the scheme.

Comment by SilverPanther in NYC 11.28.12 @ 2:09 pm

Fellas, easy on FRANKCAN, he has admitted his typing skills are not up to par with how fast his thoughts go.

One of Pitt’s most loyal sons. Give him a break.

Comment by Dan 11.28.12 @ 3:38 pm

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