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August 7, 2013

If you don’t want any basketball notes at this point, then stop and skip to the football posts. News must be noted.

With the demise of the old Big East, the new Big East cutting a deal with Fox and the American not having much in the way of marquee basketball names after UConn and Cinci; well the ACC is now taking over the spot on Big Mondays on ESPN.

ESPN has released the Big Monday schedule. The bad news is that Pitt only puts in one appearance. The good news, not only is it a home game but it is the big one: Duke-Pitt on January 27. UNC and Virginia (??) have 3 appearances. Duke, Syracuse, Maryland and ND get two. Pitt and FSU each with one shot.

Great piece from a couple weeks ago on freshman Mike Young, and what he has been through to get to this point.

Pitt’s first hometown recruit since DeJuan Blair is going to school just blocks away from where his father was murdered.

Not only is Young, a 6-foot-9, 240-pound power forward, the centerpiece of Pitt’s 2013 recruiting class but he’s also the Panthers’ most vocal advocate in getting players to join him.

“From my freshman year to now, I’ve made a whole 360 from on-the-court to off-the-court stuff, as far as maturity,” Young said. “I’m just a whole different player and person.”

Young spent three years playing prep ball in New Jersey, going from St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark to Hudson Catholic and back to St. Benedict’s, all the while working relentlessly on developing his game while dealing privately with the devastation of the death of his father.

Young was in his first semester at St. Benedict’s when his father was killed in September 2010. Michael Young was only 33 years old when he was shot in the doorway of an apartment building on Milwaukee Street in the Hill District.

“The way I found out, it hurt really bad,” Young said. “It helped to be away. Not being around kept me on track. I just said, ‘You’ve got to keep pushing.’ It was tragic, something I got through that made me tougher and more mature.”

Meanwhile Chevon Troutman was in Pittsburgh for a chunk of the summer. Playing in the summer pro-am league on the alumni team. Pausing to reflect on his Euro career.

Troutman played in the Dominican Republic as a favor to a friend the summer after he graduated from Pitt, thinking it was casual summer basketball. The league turned out to be a professional one.

The next stop was a second-tier league in Italy for a year, which led to the top league in France, where he played for three seasons. In 2009, Troutman went back to Italy, but in the top league. He was there for two years before signing with his current German team, Bayern Monaco, a team based in Munich that plays in the top German League.

Like many American players who go overseas, Troutman wasn’t entirely aware of what he was getting into.

He had to learn through experience, whether it was about the crowds or referees, who will often favor domestic players and will penalize guys who seem more athletic.

It was incredibly different than Pittsburgh, but for Troutman, that wasn’t a bad thing.

“I basically did it my way. I wasn’t told what to do, and I’ve enjoyed the years that I’ve played,” he said. “No bad years yet, knock on wood, so I’ve been fortunate, you know?”

Troutman is 31, but has continued to be one of the best players in every league he has played in, as he has been named an All-Star nearly every year. He has had opportunities to come back and play in America. The NBA Developmental League came calling, but it was too late for Troutman.

“The D-League really isn’t enough money for me and the incentives for me to be there aren’t there,” he said. “I have a family and I’m trying to stay afloat. The financial part is better for me to be overseas.”

I’m only hoping that he is saving a chunk every year. Hard to believe he’s 31.

Another Pitt alum, Aaron Gray did his annual stop back in Pittsburgh. Paying a visit to the basketball camp.

Finally, late addition to the 2013 class, Detrick Mostella gets to Pitt in the middle of the month. His old local paper is optimistic about his future. Maybe a little too optimistic.

While the latest turn in the Mostella story may cause some to do a double-take, it might be a good decision. When he first committed to Oklahoma State, it was expected that the Cowboys would lose three players to the NBA draft. In April, those three players announced they would remain in school.

One of those players is Marcus Smart, a consensus All-American guard, who averaged 15.3 points a game last season. The Oklahoma State roster has 11 players who play guard or wing. Mostella plays guard or wing. Playing time might have been an issue even without Smart.

Pittsburgh’s recruiting class was missing one big piece — a shooting guard. Mostella can complete the puzzle. Playing time should not be an issue. Testing his talents won’t be a problem in the ACC with the likes of Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State, Syracuse and the rest of the conference schedule.

We watched Mostella decide to leave Austin for a prep school in Indiana.

We watched Mostella decide to go to Oklahoma State without ever stepping foot on campus.

We now know that Mostella has decided to play basketball at Pittsburgh.

How long will Mostella be at Pittsburgh? If the NBA calls, he might decide to leave after one season.

Mostella is an outstanding talent. A great late get for Pitt. He’s not a one-and-done player, though.

Chas, agree that you should keep posting news no matter what the topic. It reminds me about people who complain that there are too many college FB games on TV …. like someone is holding a gun to their head to watch them.

Comment by wbb 08.07.13 @ 11:09 am

“[…]I’ve made a whole 360 from on-the-court to off-the-court stuff, as far as maturity[…]”
Great use of geometry there, Lou.

Comment by baudolino 08.07.13 @ 11:30 am

Big Monday sounds pretty good to me.

There are only 8 Big Mondays.
We’re the newbie on the block.

And, frankly, after two years’ ago debacle, and really a so-so last year. Yes, we finished 4th in the BE, but we also got embarrassed by ND and Wichita State. It was a good rebound year, and I’ll leave it at that.

I’m glad we got picked.

Boston College, Wake Forest, NC St., Miami, Va. Tech, Georgia Tech, Clemson

They all did not get picked for even one.

I’m good with it, sounds about right.

Comment by Dan 08.07.13 @ 12:16 pm

Yes, Syracuse and ND are newbies, they have more national cache. Just the way it is.

Need to get back in the top 10, flirting with the top 5, and finding a few weeks at #1.

Then, we’ll be on 3 times.

Comment by Dan 08.07.13 @ 12:18 pm

Figured that would be a tradeoff of entering into the ACC.

Less times on national TV than when we were in the BigEast.

Games will still be on, some channel and you know those ESPN announcers (especially the female ones) can be quite tiresome. And their halftime studio shows are mostly drivel and cliche riddled.

No big loss in my eyes !

Comment by EMel 08.07.13 @ 12:43 pm

IMO ESPN made a mistake in scheduling two games with ND on the road. ND is a VERY POOR road team and will probably play poorly in both of those games. What they should have done is schedule games with ND at home against top teams (except us because Dixon can’t beat Brey home or away) as they would probably be good games.

As far as posting BB information… hey… there are those of us that are more interested in the BB information as opposed to the FB stuff. IMO, on the FB team they will be interesting to watch, at least in the beginning, by might in fact struggle to a very poor season. It all depends on Savage.

But, the BB team, if Dixon can get the SG slot going then we could compete at the highest level.

At least there is a chance with the BB team.

Comment by Zaratoughda 08.07.13 @ 12:46 pm

The Virginia Cavaliers on 3 times is a shocker though. Duke & UNC yes…..UVA…are you kidding !

The Cavaliers are a more plodding team than our Panthers.

Must to more to it, than meets the eye.

Comment by EMel 08.07.13 @ 12:46 pm

And furthermore while we play at a snails pace, we’ve had success and been in the Top 20 annually (other than 2011) and recently been a #1 seed in the NCAA’s twice in the last 5 years or so.

Virginia has not had much recent success at all, not even Top 25 rankings.

So, plodding boring unentertaining style (check)… recent Top 25 rankings or many NCAA bids (check).

3 appearances on Big Monday (huh)

Comment by EMel 08.07.13 @ 12:52 pm

Pitt and UVA should be a barnburner!!

Comment by Dan 08.07.13 @ 2:08 pm

Actually, it’s quite nice just to say or type Pitt vs. UVA, Pitt vs. UNC, Pitt vs. FSU etc.etc.

Comment by Dan 08.07.13 @ 2:10 pm

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