June 24, 2013

Summer League Tip Off

Filed under: Basketball,Practice — Chas @ 10:54 am

The pro-am Summer League begins tonight. Full rosters are in place (PDF). The Pitt players are grouped on four different squads out of seven. The only player not listed is JUCO transfer Joseph Uchebo. Derrick Randall, the big man from Rutgers is on the roster.

PGT — Talib Zanna and James Robinson. Rest of the squad is primarily Youngstown St. and Robert Morris

UPMC — James Newkirk, Jamel Artis and Durand Johnson. Rest is RMU and a few other places.

Oliveiero Peppers — Cam Wright, Derrick Randall and Chris Jones. Six? Six WVU players on this roster.

SPK Law — Lamar Patterson, Mike Young and Mike Lecak (walk-on). RMU and YSU on this one.

Interesting to note that Duquesne and WVU are concentrated on 2 squads. Duquesne makes some sense with only 8 players. But WVU have 11 players participating. If I had to hazard a guess, they got it that way as a convenience since they have the drive to-and-from Morgantown. (And a quick look at the schedule (PDF) does show only two nights where both WVU squads are not playing.)

There is also an “alumni” team that features John DeGroat, Chevy Troutman and Ronald Ramon (South Hills Audi). I love. Love that different Pitt alum come back in the summers to Pittsburgh. Both to play in the league and to be around the program. It is one of the little things that has changed in the culture of Pitt basketball in the Dixon years. The Evans, Willard and even Howland periods had no sense of continuity. Of connection to the past players.

Yes, the success helps in creating that. As does the continuity of the coaching staff. But it matters. It gives the present players some tangible evidence of the past players, their success at Pitt and their life after Pitt. With only three players from Pitt presently in the NBA, it matters for them to meet some of the players that still go on to have careers. Whether it is overseas or even in the NBDL.

The Summer League, as much fun as it is, is not an indicator of the future success or failure of the players and team for the coming year. It is completely different from a D-1 NCAA game. It may offer hopeful glimpses at players and what kind of improvement and/or condition the players are showing. But it is unlikely to reveal who is going to “break out” or have a big year.

If you’ve ever spent much time on a hoop court, Greentree can tell you plenty about what to expect from these players.

Interested to see Newkirk and Young. Newkirk’s team should be alright, because they’ve got Lucky Jones of RMU and Hester, who is tough for a good West Liberty team. Young is playing with Kendrick Perry from YSU, who is exciting and the big man Donaldson, who abused DeJuan Blair last year.

Comment by hugh green 06.24.13 @ 11:24 am

Would have liked to see JR playing with Mike Young and Patterson. Just sayin.

Also I think it’s Josh Newkirk, the new guard from Raleigh’s Word of God HS. Same HS Uchebo played at. Would be nice if these kids succeeded, which would help in maybe getting a pipeline going with a southern HS that produces lots of D1 players. And Word of God apparently does.

If nothing else, it should be a very interesting year !

Comment by EMel 06.24.13 @ 11:32 am

The Minnesota Doctor said Uchebos knee was not
well and he would not play this year maybe they
were right.

Comment by FRANKCAN 06.24.13 @ 12:16 pm

looking forward to seeing the new kids in the 1st 2 games this evening.
I hope Uchebo is rehabbing and will be ready in November.

Comment by xfmrman 06.24.13 @ 12:44 pm

The case might be, it would be better for Uchebo to continue rehab…. than to play on it, at this time.

Other teams besides Pitt & Minny were after him.
NC State for one.

Comment by EMel 06.24.13 @ 12:51 pm

I attend most of the Greentree games up close and it absolutely tells you alot about how these players are going to do. You just have to know what you’re watching

Comment by Jamie H 06.24.13 @ 1:58 pm

If Pitt has to start Zanna at center or at the 4 or play him for more than 20 minutes it will be another 2011-2012 year.
The only chance is Young can handle the 4 from game one and transfer center from Florida can provide 15 minutes on his gimpy knee of Gary McGhee basketball.
Also Robinson without having to defer to Woodall can regain his confidence in his shot.
Considering all these if’s it is difficult to envision even with the preseason schedule winning 20 games.I could be wrong like I was in 2011-2010-2012.

Comment by pittisit 06.24.13 @ 3:48 pm

Pittisit, I suspect Zanna will do better at the 5 than the 4 but your 20 minute scenario might be on target. I always had hopes of Talib improving to another level, but wonder now if we will ever see it. He was as good ,if not better as a redshirt freshman, than he was as a junior.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 06.24.13 @ 4:55 pm

actually, I would be pretty content with “Gary McGhee’ basketball at center for this year

Comment by wbb 06.24.13 @ 6:57 pm

Some observations from Green Tree:

Mike Young is not ready for “Prime Time”. Often lost, often winded, often out of the play. Needs to bulk up.

Zanna and Patterson appear ready. But they looked good at Green Tree last year too…

Chris Jones can shoot and showed a handle.

Durand Johnson showed a desire to get inside, rebounding too.

James Robinson showed he worked on his shot/range. He mixed it up, driving/passing/shooting. Also looked more Muscular, less “baby fat”.

Jamel Artis has size, showed decent range and a good “motor”. I won’t be surprised if he gets a fair amount of playing time.

Josh Newkirk was fun to watch and appeared to be having fun.

Mike Lecak showed a decent shot and opened the 2nd half of his game with a base line reverse lay-up after beating his man.

Comment by xfmrman 06.24.13 @ 10:11 pm

here is the GreenTree write-up from PG – Young 27 pts, 10 reb …. but it is only the summer league

link to

Comment by wbb 06.25.13 @ 6:19 am

@xfmrman–Your analysis is almost the “flip” of what the PG article (or maybe the it was the PG pay blog) indicated on Mike Young vs Jamel Artis. It indicated Artis as being over weight and out of shape and Mike Young as having impressed as a likely starter or at least getting significant PT this fall. I guess different folks see the same thing differently.

Comment by pitt1972 06.25.13 @ 9:11 am

Maybe he was confusing the two? Not hard to do at Greentree.

Agree that what you can take from Greentree is limited, but I think you can get some decent insight into a player’s potential, attitude, etc. Hope to make it down there next week.

Comment by Carmen 06.25.13 @ 9:24 am

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