I know some other heartwarming stuff. A new recruit. I’ll get to the football side, but I have a bunch of basketball links I just want to get off the browser.
Steven Adams has been playing in Orlando in the NBA Summer League. Coach Jamie Dixon has been down there to watch him a couple times in between hitting the various AAU Tournaments. Good puff piece on Adams.
Adams understands where he is in his development, which is why he’s taken to coaching with such enthusiasm.
“Whatever they say, I’ll do because they know what’s best for me,” Adams said.
During breaks in Orlando, Adams sat next to Thunder assistant coach Mark Bryant near the end of the bench. Bryant provided non-stop instruction, and Adams listened intently.
By the end of the week, Adams had begun raving about Bryant and the rest of the Thunder’s staff like a child who had just met his heroes.
“They’re legit,” Adams marveled. “They are awesome.”
For now, the Thunder wants to keep everything simple with Adams. His job is to defend, rebound, run the floor and set good screens. Adams said he is focused mostly on improving his pick-and-roll defense. Everything else, he said, is “just a bonus.”
When cutters attempted to get to their spot during summer league play, Adams instinctively would step in and give them a little nudge with his shoulder. When matched up against low-post players, Adams bodied up to them and consistently bumped them off their spots.
“That’s one of the things that we’re going to require out of Steven is that he play physical basketball,” Kalamian said. “Luckily for us, he likes to play that way.”
Not sure if that’s all instinctive. That reads like the basics he would be taught at Pitt to play in the Big East.
ESPN.com had a piece on what each school that lost an NBA Draft lottery pick needs to do to make up for the loss.
“We’ve had very few one-and-dones,” Panthers coach Jamie Dixon said. “But we’re happy for Steven. We’re excited for him. We knew this was a distinct possibility.”
What Dixon didn’t predict was the departure of players such as Trey Zeigler and J.J. Moore, both of whom transferred. Pittsburgh has a pair of top-flight returnees in leading returning scorer Lamar Patterson, a small forward who averaged 10 points last season. Point guard James Robinson (3.6 APG) could have a breakthrough year.
Also back is forward Talib Zanna, who has shown flashes of brilliance the past few seasons in the paint. A senior, Zanna snared 19 rebounds against Villanova last season while starting at center in place of Adams.
“[Zanna] was more productive as a 5-man, to be honest,” Dixon said. “He’ll play some more 5 this year than he did last year.”
The biggest issue down low will be a lack of depth. Dixon said freshman Mike Young will have to adapt in a hurry. Dixon said Young is a tad over 6-foot-9 in shoes and weighs about 245 pounds.
“He’s bigger than most people realize,” Dixon said. “He’s growing. He’s getting stronger and bulkier. I’ve been impressed with him.”
Young will almost certainly start. That would be three straight years of at least one freshman starting on the squad. But, you know, Dixon doesn’t play freshmen.
Think Jamie Dixon really regrets not having a true, quality point guard prior to getting Jame Robinson? Newkirk is coming in this year, and there is a consensus, top-100 4-star point guard from Texas that he is making a strong push to add.
2014 Texas Titans point guard Alex Robinson has nearly gone for a triple-double several times this year. He didn’t get one in Friday’s action [at the Peach Jam], but came up close in the process. He did a good job of setting himself up, along with teammates. A natural leader on the court, Robinson executed on both ends by getting into the lane, playing hard nose defense and executing. Right before the July Live Period began, Robinson spent his 4th of July out of Texas and in Pittsburgh for his first official visit. This is due in part to Robinson’s mother going to TCU with Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon, where both played basketball and established a friendship. The Panthers have made it clear that he would play alongside James Robinson if he joined, and this peeks his interest. Along with that, the point guard is being carted hard by Texas A&M, Miami, SMU, Minnesota and Vanderbilt with a likely list cut after July.
We didn’t get that “Tray and Trey” backcourt quite like expected last year, but Robinson and Robinson would work.
A few articles from Kevin Gorman might be worth reviewing a couple months later (I meant it when I said I’m clearing tabs).
Jamie Dixon making it clear that the style of play is not going to be radically different.
“If you are from Pittsburgh and you have success, they are going to say you’re tough and you play good defense,” he said during a break from the ACC spring meetings.
Nice, but Dixon said Pitt will bring other assets to the ACC next season.
“I’ll ask you, ‘Who was the most efficient offensive team in the Big East?’ ” he said to a reporter. “I’ll tell you. It’s us.”
In three of the past five seasons, Pitt finished in the top eight in the nation and No. 1 in the Big East in points per possession (an average of 1.125).
“You have to be good at both (offense and defense) to have the results we have had,” he said. “We’ve had to be very flexible in what we’ve done, and we will continue to be flexible.”
Efficiency at both ends does not mean glacial, but it does depend on the players staying in control. As I said, the pace/tempo will be faster, but the style will remain.
J.J. Moore eventually transferred. Rumors swirled that both Durand Johnson and Cam Wright might transfer. Steven Adams went pro. Trey Zeigler transferred (again). Panic was close to what it could be called about Pitt basketball. Especially after missing on Jon Severe and a couple JUCOs. April and May were rough on some Pitt fans’ psyches.
Yet when the dust settled, Pitt had a brought back a quality assistant and recruiter. And ended up with the best JUCO center available, a 4-star shooting guard and a transfer from Rutgers who can at least provide some depth in the front court. Big picture, it was a good summer for recruiting. Especially on the fly. It helps not to panic.
Dixon is underappreciated as a recruiter, with a keen eye for untapped talent and strong work ethic.
It’s easy to forget that Dixon has shown some past recruiting creativity.
Dixon discovered a July gem in Ontario Lett, who hadn’t played the previous junior-college season.
And one of Dixon’s first orders upon succeeding Ben Howland in 2003 was to salvage the recruiting class.
Not only did Dixon keep Chris Taft in the fold but when center Walter Waters wanted a release from his scholarship, Dixon found a late August replacement in Ohio guard Antonio Graves.
Don’t forget that he has signed five-star frontcourt players in three of his past four classes, even if Dante Taylor didn’t live up to his McDonald’s All-America billing, Khem Birch transferred midway through his freshman year and Adams went pro after one season.
If Pitt has a problem, it’s with retention. Only three of seven players remain from the past two recruiting classes, and at least one player has flamed out in every class since 2006.
But Dixon has four scholarships with which to rebuild his roster. And it’s worth noting that Pitt won 25 games in each of the seasons after losing Taft and DeJuan Blair to NBA early entry.
“It’s a different climate out there with recruiting,” Dixon said. “There’s more guys available in the spring because of these new rules that they’ve put into place.”
The Pitt coach likes the idea of having scholarships in the spring, so don’t judge Dixon until he’s done.
Not bad afterall.
Well this is just depressing. I realize it’s July and aside from recruiting there’s little basketball news. But trying to figure out new potential rivalries is desperation. And for Pitt fans, this one is kind of insulting.
Pittsburgh and West Virginia don’t exactly get along. Never have. Why not extend that to West Virginia’s eastern cousin? Sure, the geographic intensity might not be as immediate — Morgantown sits just south of the Pennsylvania border, while Charlottesville is a five-hour drive — but with Pittsburgh such a consistent hoops force, and UVa on the rise under Tony Bennett, who’s to say what the relationship might become? At the very least, the slow-paced Cavaliers look best poised to prevent Pitt from totally grinding an otherwise finesse-first ACC on the glass in seasons to come.
Well, at least it wasn’t the really bad Virginia Tech squad. Still. No.
I’m sure UNC fans will dismiss it as borderline message board ranting from an enemy site, but this post from State Fans Nation (NC State) does lay out a lot of the problems once more looming in Chapel Hill. The P.J. Hairston situation is scarier than Tar Heels fans want to admit.
My guess is that Hairston is dismissed from the school and team before the NCAA can get someone down there to interview him. That way they can limit the potential damage of him being linked to a likely runner for an agent — and anyone else from UNC. Both UNC and Hairston are probably wishing he had declared for the NBA draft at this point.
John Calipari has been named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches board. His goal: to push for a two-year restriction and at least age 20 on kids going pro. Okay, good luck at that windmill tilting.
If the NCAA