January 31, 2013

Empty at Four

Filed under: Basketball,Players — Chas @ 8:27 am

Early in the season, Talib Zanna looked like a lock for Big East Most Improved Player. After the Georgetown blowout, the feeling was that Pitt needed to feed him more. That 9 shots a game was not enough for a player starting to look so dominate — even in the prior two losses, he was strong inside.

Now. Not so much. After 17-26 shooting in the first three Big East games, he is 12-43 in the past five games. It’s been overlooked to some degree because Pitt had won four straight before Monday night’s disappointment.

The biggest problem — at least from my perspective — appears to be that Zanna has stopped going forward on his shots. Instead he is focused on trying to make the short jumpers or take shots that have him fading from the basket. Yes, he has shown that they are part of his offensive moves, but he is relying too much on them. And they aren’t going. Not only does he make it harder on himself to score. He is taking himself away from the basket and any opportunity to follow for a chance at an offensive rebound.


The lack of scoring is compounded by his precipitous drop in free throw shooting since the start of Big East play. Nine games in the Big East and Zanna is shooting a touch over 50%: 17-32. In the non-con he was hitting 75%: 45-60.

The problems with the four spot are compounded with J.J. Moore. As he continues to tantalize and infuriate. The good news is he is taking fewer 3s than last year. Last year, half his shots were 3s (112 out of 223). This year it is down significantly 57 out 150 (38%) shot attempts are 3s.

The bad news is he is also shooting worse from outside. He is down to 28% on 3s (16-57). This is extra annoying on two fronts. The first is because he is more effective attacking the basket. His shooting percentage on shots inside the arc is up to 51.6% (48-93). Plus he is arguably Pitt’s best free throw shooter — when he gets to the line. He is over 85% on the year (47-55). Yet in four Big East games, he never even took a free throw. Between his ability to finish at the basket and his free throw shooting, he could average double-digit scoring.

Couple the lack of production at the four with Steven Adams and Dante Taylor at the five. Well, it means that Pitt has to rely even heavier on the backcourt for offensive production. Which might help to explain a 5-4 Big East record and everyone from the pundits to the fans unsure of what Pitt will look like from game to game.

Yeah good idea. Loved those Fields/Blair or Fields/Young dunks. Those guys were super talented and they knew how to put on a show. Would love to see some showmanship from this team. Guess that comes with winning consistently though.

Comment by pittbluegold 02.01.13 @ 11:46 am

Don’t want to jump the gun, but just saw where someone said that Boyd posted something on Facebook about being committed to WVU now. I wonder if he is thinking of going elsewhere because he knows maybe Foster has changed his mind?? Just a thought.

Comment by JJ 02.01.13 @ 12:03 pm

Thinking beats the Orange.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.01.13 @ 12:06 pm

Rumors! Rumors! I heard Tyler Boyd was visiting Alabama.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 02.01.13 @ 12:13 pm

Not to be negative, but I think Kemp is a no-go as well.
link to

Comment by JJ 02.01.13 @ 12:39 pm

17 year old kids are a risky group to hitch your wagon to, but hey….
As far as th older guys in the basketball jerseys, tomorrow is a big, big game.
ZANNA must score in double digits and we must rebound.
Free throws? yeah, they matter, but rebounding isn’t about technique, it’s about wanting it more.

Comment by sfpitt 02.01.13 @ 1:21 pm

total dagger if boyd ends up at wvu and foster sticks w/ bama. wouldn’t blame boyd for picking tenn. sec, butch jones’ offense and 100k+ every home game. not a bad gig.

Comment by scott 02.01.13 @ 1:36 pm

Not convinced that Zanna is the man, but the PF position needs to be productive.
And Adams better not shave. 🙂

Comment by xfmrman 02.01.13 @ 2:25 pm

I don’t think it’s a “dagger” if Boyd ends up somewhere else and Foster doesn’t flip, but would definitely be a disappointment.

Somebody will step up at WR next year and they have some promising young guys coming in that could develop into solid upperclassmen. Would be nice to have a gamebreaker like Boyd though.

Monday will tell…

Comment by Atlanta Panther 02.01.13 @ 2:39 pm

wed, actually.

Comment by scott 02.01.13 @ 3:05 pm

ohh, wonder if bama will have the fax girls cam again?!

Comment by scott 02.01.13 @ 3:06 pm

Pitt typically shows up to play against Syracuse so I expect hem to play well. Hopefully well enough to get the win!

Switching to footaball, I really like the recruiting Chryst and company put together this year. Hopefully Boyd stays, but I wouldn’t be surprized about anything after the Foster decision. The Panthers seem to have gone after lineman which is what they needed the most.

Hail to Pitt!

Comment by Justinian 02.01.13 @ 3:21 pm

In football, there a few other 3 and 4 star wide receivers who will announce Wednesday. Should be interesting.

Comment by Frank MD 02.01.13 @ 3:59 pm

Hard to believe Kemp would choose a perennial SEC doormat (UK) over PITT. We have put some great RB’s into the NFL, Kentucky has put zilch.
If we can’t outpitch UK something is wrong.

Mustn’t want the competition to play, I guess.

Comment by EMel 02.01.13 @ 6:20 pm

Somebody tweet my first line to JoJo please. lol

Comment by EMel 02.01.13 @ 6:22 pm

Emel, No matter how hard you try or how good of a recruiting class you put together, you just can’t everyone you want. Getting players from other parts of the country is really tough. That’s why they really have go after the best local players first. They just have a better probability of landing a kid from western PA. Hey, we didn’t
get Foster and who knows about Boyd.

Comment by Justinian 02.01.13 @ 7:26 pm

Put it this way, Z in double figures would be icing. Adams won’t shave. Too early in the day for that.

Comment by SFPitt 02.01.13 @ 7:54 pm

Kemp to UK is official.

Comment by JJ 02.01.13 @ 8:17 pm

Comment by wbb 02.01.13 @ 8:41 pm


Should we hope that he sleeps late?

He was shaved at Louisville (7:00 PM game).

Comment by xfmrman 02.01.13 @ 8:56 pm


Well we better start getting better at getting players from out of Western Pa and PA. in general.

For even back in our latest Golden area, 50% of the players Majors and Sherrill recruited were from points mostly South of Pittsburgh.

That’s part of the reason we were so so good.
from 1975 to 1984.

Hell put me on the payroll, I’ll recruit the Carolinas for them. haha 🙂

Comment by EMel 02.01.13 @ 9:04 pm

Duquesne is winless in the A-10 and Ped State is winless in the Big Joke.

And the Hoopies are almost in the cellar in the Lame 12 (really 10).

We really should be cleaning up in Pa. with D1 prospects in HS. We know wva doesn’t have any.
Surely Philly does. What gives.

Comment by EMel 02.01.13 @ 9:24 pm

oy vey

Comment by steve1 02.01.13 @ 9:41 pm

EMel, Yes, you’re right. They have to get better with the top local kids. I think success on the playing field will help in that regard. Of course, the more successful the program the easier it becomes to attract athletes from other parts of the country. EMel you can take over the defense and recruit the Carolinas

Comment by Justinian 02.01.13 @ 10:33 pm

Forget Kemp- I want Pitt to get this kid from Florida. Apparently he decommitted from Cincy and has a BC offer. He’s 5’9″ but has some of the best balance I’ve ever seen. Please Coach- get on this ASAP

link to

Comment by Dan35 02.02.13 @ 1:51 am

Zanna has zero lower body strength – which is why he struggles in the BE against real competition. Hip strength w/ a big ass is what allows a player to get post position. He will continue to struggle.

Comment by John Ramella 02.02.13 @ 9:38 am

Powered by WordPress ©

Site Meter