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August 23, 2013

I know, I know. College football starts in less than a week. In nine days Pitt’s season begins. But yesterday was a rather busy day for basketball stuff so it’s time to put it out there along with some other things in the tabs.

In player news, Rutgers transfer Derrick Randall got NCAA clearance for immediate eligibility at Pitt. This was considered a mere formality since other Rutgers transfershad already been granted immediate eligibility.

“It obviously gives us a big body, an experienced guy,” Dixon said. “We thought he could be a really valuable addition, especially after losing a guy in March.”

With center Steven Adams in NBA, Pitt planned to use power forward Talib Zanna, a 6-9 senior, in the post. Randall, a center or power forward, averaged 2.1 points and 1.5 rebounds as a sophomore.

“He didn’t put up big numbers, but I think he has some strength,” Dixon said. “He could be very good defensively, and he could be a very good rebounder. It gives us flexibility. It gives us the possibility of having five big guys and the versatility to go small or big.”

Randall is 6-8, 250 pounds. No one is expecting him to be a huge difference maker, but a good role player. He gives Pitt some needed depth inside for the next two years. Randall is a low-risk, moderate-reward pick-up.

In other player news, Kevin Gorman of the Trib tweeted that freshman shooting guard Detrick Mostella is still coming to Pitt. He hasn’t (and won’t) sign an NLI but will be attending and playing at Pitt. He has apparently had some family issues that kept him from getting to the campus this past week.

And then there is Sheldon Jeter. Speculation had grown in the last week that he would be attending a junior college for a year. That way he could accept a full scholarship the following year. He has done exactly that.

Jeter, a former star at Beaver Falls High School, is at Polk State College, a junior college in Winter Haven, Fla. Jeter is taking classes at Polk, but will not play basketball this season.

Polk coach Matt Furjanic, former coach at Robert Morris, said Jeter has re-opened his recruiting. Furjanic, who has been at Polk for 14 years, said Jeter does not have academic problems, and, if he graduates in the spring from Polk, Jeter can accept a full scholarship to any college, including Pitt. By not playing this season at Polk, Jeter will have three years eligibility remaining. He is permitted to practice at Polk.

Jeter has ties to Polk.

His cousin, Brock Van Lier, is entering his second season there as a player after playing two years at Beaver Falls. Another cousin, Ramone Shepherd, is a student-coach at Polk.

His cousin Lance Jeter also attended Polk before transferring to Nebraska. Quite the volume of family ties at Polk.

The decision not to play at Polk is interesting, though. It’s a move designed to give him three years of eligibility at his next school (Pitt). Being able to practice with the team will be important, but Jeter will have a lionshare of the responsibility for his conditioning and staying sharp.

As noted yesterday, we finally have the full schedule for Pitt. Non-con and ACC. There are some stretches that are tougher than others, as expected with an unbalanced schedule.

As if playing an ACC schedule isn’t challenging enough, Pitt has three short turnarounds that add to its difficulty. It follows a noon Saturday game at N.C. State with a 7 p.m. Monday game against Maryland; a 6 p.m. Saturday game at Maryland with a 7 p.m. Monday game against Duke; and a 2 p.m. Saturday game at Notre Dame with a 9 p.m. Monday game against N.C. State.

“You’re going to have some of those,” Dixon said. “A while back, I recognized that this isn’t going to be easy. … We’re in the best conference in the country. That’s a good thing to be part of.”

This is really nothing new. The TV demands the best games for the weekend and Monday nights so there will be plenty of that kind of scheduling happening to all the better teams in the conference. Just take a look at the full ACC schedule if you doubt it (PDF).

It is clear that the ACC basketball schedule did not generate the same excitement that the ACC football schedule did. Partly because we all knew about the Big Monday Duke game. But also, the simple fact that despite all the warts on the old Big East; the basketball was always top notch. So, the ACC schedule is nice but not a completely different animal.

“It is more of the same in terms of being a part of the best conference in the country, some are saying the best collection of teams in history,” Dixon said.

Been there. Done that.

The primary talking points had to do with the non-con and trips to NYC.

“Our non-conference schedule covers a lot of the things we needed to get done, it enabled us to play some rivalry games in Duquesne and Penn State and play some different styles of teams and, of course, play in some great tournaments as well.

“I think it is great when you look at the names of the teams and realize what some of them have accomplished in terms of winning over the course of the last 100 years of college basketball. And I think that playing on national television is something you can never take for granted, so it says a lot about what we are trying to accomplish that we have so many opportunities.”

Pitt’s first trip to New York will be Nov. 25-26 when the Panthers compete in the Legends Classic at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Pitt will play Texas Tech Nov. 25 then either Stanford or Houston Nov. 26 in consolation or championship game.

The Panthers second trip to New York will be Dec. 17 when they play Cincinnati as part of the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m.) as part of a doubleheader that also will pit Florida against Memphis.

“We are going to try to continue to play in New York City as much as we can,” Dixon said. “I think part of that is the best events are in New York and the fact that we’ve been invited to play in two of them this year is great for our program.”

Dixon also said that the inability to schedule Robert Morris was out of his control. Not sure I buy that. In fact it would seem that scheduling RMU over the students’ winter break would be a smarter play as it is more likely to bring in a local crowd.

Last week, ESPN.com had their “summer shootaround” series hit on the ACC.

Jay Bilas did a power ranking (Insider subs). and put Pitt 6th in the conference.

6. Pittsburgh Panthers

After a one-season absence from the NCAA tournament, Pittsburgh returned to form in 2012-13 with a 24-9 record and tourney bid. From a pure numbers perspective, the Panthers were very efficient on both ends of the floor and got more out of its personnel than any other team in the Big East.

Jamie Dixon lost Steven Adams to the NBA, Tray Woodall to graduation and J.J. Moore and Trey Zeigler to transfer. However, Dixon returns versatile wing Lamar Patterson and guards James Robinson and Cam Wright. Dixon has some quality freshmen, but expect the veteran players to log the majority of the minutes and carry the majority of the responsibility. Pittsburgh will bring a hard-nosed style of play to the ACC. The Panthers should be a top 10 team in the conference.

Have to disagree with a chunk of the sentiment. Freshmen and redshirt freshmen are going to have a significant impact. Mike Young will be starting at power forward. Chris Jones and James Newkirk are going to be out there.

As for the teams Bilas put ahead of Pitt, no real surprise: Duke, Syracuse, UNC, ND and Virginia. As an aside, assuming this holds true, I can’t wait for the slew of stories. Some triumphant. Some hand-wringing about how the Big East’s slower tempo is taking over the ACC. Cuse, ND, UVa and Pitt are all in the lower half of tempo.

In the best case/worst case for Pitt, well it is a sign of the respect for the program (or an indication that the bottom of the ACC is actually pretty bad) that they aren’t exactly putting the floor that low.

Pittsburgh

Best case: Like its fellow lost Big East travelers at Notre Dame and Syracuse, you almost always know what you’re going to get from Pitt: lots of hard-nosed physical play, very good offense and tons of offensive rebounds. With the lion’s share of Jamie Dixon’s trademark front-line bruisers back plus incoming standout Mike Young (whom scouts love for having an actual post game, a rarity among talented young bigs), the Panthers will present a constant stylistic challenge to the finesse-oriented denizens of the ACC.

Worst case: Still a top-half team in the league. Unless there’s some sort of adjustment period involving officiating styles — which some fans have raised as a concern; I’m not convinced — it’s hard to slot Dixon’s team any lower than that.

And a top-half ACC team is still going to the NCAA Tournament.





It disturbs me that Detrick Mostrella still hasn’t signed an NLI. Do we know if he has passed the clearinhouse yet?

Comment by wbb 08.23.13 @ 9:03 am

Mostella is not allowed to sign a NLI. You are only allowed to sign it one time, and he did so with Oklahoma State, before he was released from it. So we have to just wait til he is enrolled

Comment by Jamie H 08.23.13 @ 9:24 am

Now we are down to just needing a big body, not real encouraging. If Zanna does not live up to his potential, we are in trouble.

Comment by gc 08.23.13 @ 9:41 am

Chapman has been dismissed from the program per the Trib.

Comment by ECH 08.23.13 @ 10:27 am

link to post-gazette.com

I have nor problem with the decision, only the timing. If Pitt was really interested in his best interest, they would have let him go 3 weeks ago .. if not before.

Comment by wbb 08.23.13 @ 10:51 am

I think the quick turn around games (Saturday then Monday) are good thing to have on schedule..it’s what you’ll face in the tourney..minus travel of course.

As far as Robert Morris, I still recall reading an article a while back where Robert Morris didn’t want to play that game anymore…which is maybe what Dixon is referring to about out of Pitt’s hands.

Comment by milobloom 08.23.13 @ 10:53 am

I am still mourning Adams leaving although I think it was a good decision on his part. It was obvious he was underutilized as well as restricted by Dixon on offense indicated in the combine, Addidas, and against Noels in prep his ability to score facing the baskety from 15 to 20 ft. If he stayed any improvement in his statistics would have had to come strictly from him fighting through double and triple teams underneath. This could have been possible with Young whose big body could have block out the 4′s and 3′ from surrounding Adams on the Oboards instead of the weaklings like Zanna and Patterson who wer of no help inside. Since I live in ACC country and in my opinion if Adams stayed I could have possibly witnessed the first and probably only final four team at Pitt if Dixon coach differntly from last year
I am not sure if he is eligible but consider the 2G being the Alabama transfer in the backcourt with the only legitimate point guard Pitt has had since Miller. Young at the 4 who I think is a legitimate talent unlike Zanna. Zanna unfortunately IMO may have already reached his potential.
With this lineup we could suit up any of us at the 3 and be competitive.
Damn it always seems were one brick shy of a load.
In 2008-2009 we were a point guard who could shot over 33% from the field, who took over 12 shots a game to combine with Young, Blair, and Biggs whose wide body helped Blair inside.
This team has some strong players, especially if the Alabama kid can play right away but without Adams no inside presence both Young and Randall or undersized.

Comment by pittisit 08.23.13 @ 1:04 pm

Gotta admit as much as I love the football schedule, the hoops schedule pales in comparison to the Big East. No UConn, no Nova, no Georgetown, no Marquette, (no WVU). Other than Duke and UNC, I can’t get excited. Clemson, Va Tech, Wake, Ga Tech, zzzzzzzz……

Comment by Iron Duke 08.23.13 @ 6:33 pm

Mostella is coming in as a freshman not a transfer. Also, he will be totally new to the team and Dixon will have to integrate him. On his tip he met a number of the players at Greentree and said he felt right at home. But still, he will have to adapt.

The primary things Dixon will have to work out are the inside rotation and who the starting SG is. Also, the rotation on the perimeter.

If he puts it all together this could be a very good team. You got good players in Zanna, Patterson, Robinson, Young, and a lot of young players with significant potential. So, a matter of how Dixon puts it all together more than anything else.

Comment by Zaratoughda 08.24.13 @ 7:31 am

I did a comparison of the ACC and the BE re last year’s seasons, and the ACC had 6 teams that were not NCAA Tourney contenders, while the BE had 5. On the other hand, the ACC had 6 teams that WERE NCAA Tourney contenders, while the BE… had 10 (!), and that would be 11 if you count WVU.

But now, the ACC has added Cuse, Pitt and ND so that would push them up to 9 NCAA contenders which is getting close to the old BE.

But Miami graduated their 6 top players, and NCS lost their entire starting lineup. So, expect both of these teams to regress.

Bottom line, unless some of the bottom tier programs in the ACC take a step up this year, will be a step down from the BE.

Comment by Zaratoughda 08.24.13 @ 7:51 am

Z, I agree with you in both of your major points. This appears to be the type of team Dixon can do well with and the ACC as constituted this year looks easier than the Big East of last. I am still disgusted by the home non/con schedule this year and feel shorted by the total lack of competitive teams we will play at home. I am glad the coach recognizes the importance of a NYC presence, when will he start appreciating the importance of the season ticket holders by playing somebody at the Pete that is worth seeing in Nov. or Dec. Other than Penn St., who we were forced to play, there isn’t one preconference game I would pay more than 5 bucks to see. Furthermore if we are so cash strapped that we can’t afford a home and away series with some real teams isn’t it about time we tell the Dukes to play at our house or get lost? The Pete will be half empty until January again and that sucks.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 08.24.13 @ 10:57 am

pitisit, You underestimate Patterson and Zanna. Both players might not have played at an all conference level but they could be very successful this year with a little more consistency. Zanna has always rebounded well and at times been an effective scorer. To say they were “no help inside” is absurd. Last year there were times when both started to take over games and with another year and the responsibility of being seniors I don’t see why we shouldn’t expect to see more from both.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 08.24.13 @ 11:47 am

What they should do is sell ‘season’ tickets for the conference games and ooc games separately…. then they could charge more for the conference games and it would be hard to sell the ooc schedule and… then it would be worthwhile to make home and away agreements with teams like G’Town, UConn, Marquette, etc. You would pull in more revenue for a game like that then TWO of the Howards, Savanah States, etc, of this world.

I just looked at the schedule and we got TTech and Houston/Stanford at Barclays and Cincy at MSG… so those are some good ooc games. But, they are ALL on neutral sites NOT at the Pete.

Also, I just looked at the conference schedule and we will get Cuse and Duke at home… and that’s about it for games where will not be favored by a lot… assuming Dixon puts this squad together so it is maxing out.

Comment by Zaratoughda 08.24.13 @ 11:57 am

Z, I get season tickets because I like to see good college basketball and the excitement and color of the event. This schedule means that unless I want to spend $500 on a room in NY then I will have to wait until January. I would gladly pay more for season tickets and even be willing to increase my contribution if they would play somebody before New Years. These games are against a bunch of rental victims and only exist to milk the faithful out of money for an inferior product. The lion doesn’t fight the bear every day but we could at least have a game or two scheduled at the Pete that are worth seeing. It isn’t too much to ask.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 08.24.13 @ 12:10 pm

Well, they exist so you can build up that top W/L percentage and toot your horn as to how good you are.

Yeah, other teams like The Hall, Rutgers, etc, have cushy OOC schedules but they then go out and lose a few of those games. That’s because they are BAD teams.

Cincy… also tends to play a cushy OOC schedule. They win all those games typically BUT… then they pay for it when it comes to NCAA selection Sunday.

This year we got 5 returning players and SEVEN that did not play with the team last year. 4 freshmen, 2 transfers and a RS freshman. So, for THIS year, maybe it is good to have a cushy schedule early on so the team has time to come together.

Lets see… we got 2 exhibitions and then 4 cushy games all at home… and THEN go to Barclays to play TTech et all… and it would be nice to come out of there with two Ws and the 2 exhibitions and 4 cushy games will give us time to come together.

Then we got the Dukes and the… Pedophiles… at the CEC and at the Pete.

Then we got 2 more cushy games and then Cincy at MSG… again… IMO we would want very much to come out there with a W.

Then another 2 cushy games, all at the Pete, and then open ACC play at NCS.

IMO… those 2 cushy games at the end are the problem. The ACC is not as good as the BE was and we don’t need cushy games in there. Would be better to have two home and aways set up and just one competitive game at the Pete. Would help us a LOT in NCAA seeding as well… yeah… something like Ollie and UConn at home and Thompson III on the road. Better than… good grief… Albany and Cal-Poly at home.

They are putting the hype of a high W/L record ahead of a more competitive schedule and the advantage there in the NCAA seeding… and a lot of other programs do this as well and that is why it goes on. Sad but that is the way it is.

Comment by Zaratoughda 08.24.13 @ 2:28 pm

Z,I disagree, the reason they do it is so they can cram as many home games in as possible, because any real teams want you to reciprocate by showing up at their place occasionally. No problem at Pitt though because we are only too happy to screw the season ticket holders and make them pay to see and endless array of lumps and dufi so they can fill the coffers at our expense. They had better keep winning because this will come back to haunt them when and if they ever slip. The place is half empty until January, what a waste of time, money and talent.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 08.24.13 @ 3:25 pm

Z, Don’t be surprised when shower buddies from happy valley give us all the game we can stand. They are on the improve and are getting a European tour to gel.We won’t be ready for a real game off of our pathetic schedule. I think it is a mistake to play them. They have nothing to lose and even if we beat them it was expected of us. If we are going to risk losing we should play somebody with a resume so at least it isn’t an embarrassment. This game was forced on us by the ACC, otherwise we probably would play Westminster or Sacred Heart.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 08.24.13 @ 3:36 pm

A friend of mine sent me an article about Caliperi from an ESPN writer. She is a big Kentucky basketball fan. After reading it I could not help but remember Pitts best team was the one he recruited. I also could not help but compare Calipari and Dixon and why Pitt will never see the final four with Dixon IMO.
Here is part of the argument about Calipari and my response to my friend . “What John Calipari does is unique to college basketball. He recruits the absolute best players in the country, players that ANY coach would love to have, and he tailors his coaching and style of play to their strengths.”
(My response to my friend based on the premise of the article that Calapiri is one of the top 5 coaches).
My response to my freind who sent the email Most coaches fall prey to their own arrogance. They believe they are bigger than the game and the players playing it. Dixon is a classic example. Last year he pushed himself into top ten of the system coaches with his missuse of Adams. Twenty three minutes a game for a number 12 NBA draft pick. A walk up and down the court style with the most quickest true center in college basketball built like a pro at 19 7′ 250lbs of with an incredible upper body. Not since James has any one that age had a pro body at 19.
Consider Kentucky last year with Adams who despite his lack of experience was superior player to Noels as evidenced in their one on one Prep school encounter. Calipari would have used Adam’s strength the quickest 7′ 250lb. center in college and let the horses loose. No center in college basketball could run with Adams. No NIT appearance rather for Kentucky but another strong run in the NCAA’s. Another consequence would have been Adam’s a top 5 draft pick and Kentucky contining to get the best players while they do not even consider Pitt. Why because Dixon has no interest beyond keeping his job by a weak non-conference schedule and a system designed to play 500 in conference. He has not shown that he has an interest in utilizing the strenghts of his players and deveolping a style based on those strenghts.
The best team Pitt ever had was recruited by Calipari when he was assistant coach; Charles Smith, Jerome Lane, Sean Miller. If he had been coached that team instead of Evans Pitt would have at least one NCAA title (2 first team All-Americans) and first round NBA draft choices. He may have stayed on as head coach and won other titles.
As the article said you may love him or hate him but you cannot deny he is one of the top 5 coaches because he is willing to adapt the style of the team each year to the strengths’ of his players.

Comment by pittisit 08.24.13 @ 3:57 pm

Starting five next year: C Zanna, PF Young, SF Pattersn, SG Johnson, PG Robinson Bench Randall, Artis, Jones, Newkirk

Comment by marcus of schaumburg 08.24.13 @ 4:28 pm

You forget Mostella Marcus. Also forgot Wright who may not be a major offensive threat but is probably gonna be a way better defensive player than the freshman.

IMO, Jones is gonna get some PT early but not a regular rotation player. This based on his play at Greentree.

We have no idea how all the freshman are gonna look defensively as they do not play defense at Greentree.

With Mostella, we have no idea how he is gonna look at all on either side of the court.

Comment by Zaratoughda 08.24.13 @ 6:28 pm

pittsit–Keep living in your fantasy world full of unprovable hypothetical opinion. Lets just say I disagree with your theses close to 100%.

Comment by pitt1972 08.24.13 @ 7:22 pm

Zaratoughda, I don’t think I did.

Comment by marcus of schaumburg 08.25.13 @ 1:10 pm

Zaratoughda, I agree. Don’t forget Mostella, a huge talent. And don’t forget Wright!

Wright will start because he plays defense. Dixon’s toughest job this year will be teaching defense to five new players. They won’t get many minutes until they learn to play defense.

I agree with Jay Bilas when he wrote, “expect the veteran players to log the majority of the minutes and carry the majority of the responsibility.”

Dixon’s going to start a small but veteran lineup: Zanna, Petterson, Johnson, Wright and Robinson. Young will play a lot of minutes, but he won’t start.

Comment by Howard 08.25.13 @ 7:44 pm

I hear Mostella won’t be here, and Howard, barring injury or something along that line, there’s no way that will be the starting lineup.

Comment by marcus of schaumburg 08.25.13 @ 10:09 pm

I don’t think Wright will start because we need a go-to scorer to go along with Patterson and Robinson. Also, I don’t see Patterson playing at PF, maybe not at all this year.

So, I see the same starting lineup as Marcus… Zanna, Young, Patterson, Johnson and Robinson.

But, after that, IMO we won’t be seeing much of Jones but rather Wright, Newkirk and Mostella off the bench on the perimeter and Randall and Artis as the subs inside.

Yeah, assuming Mostella indeed shows, he is probably gonna have a contest for PT with Jones. My feel is Mostella will eventually win out but it make take a while to adapt.

If Dixon tries to start Wright it will become obvious that we need a go-to scorer to start with Patterson and Robinson… so the only question will be how long it takes Dixon to realize this.

Comment by Zaratoughda 08.26.13 @ 6:49 am

pittisit, Your if Caipari came to Pitt scenario only holds water if he doesn’t get us suspended. Which isn’t all that likely given his history. Though he may pattern his coaching to his players, he patterns his recruiting without a lot of respect for the rules. Jamie has his faults but at least he keeps the program clean, with some pretty impressive results.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 08.26.13 @ 9:06 am

My guess is Zanna starts at center, Robinson at point and Patterson at SF. Beyond that everything else is up for grabs. I think that there is room for guarded optimism however as long as Zanna takes a step forward as a senior. He has the potential and needs to arrive. If that doesn’t happen this will be a long year. Dixon is going to depend on his seniors and the team will be as good as Patterson and Zanna make it.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 08.26.13 @ 9:18 am

I dunno spirit… Mike Young is a top recruit and was very good and dominant at times at the Greentree summer league.

I really see Young and Zanna starting inside.

In comments Dixon made a month or so ago, seemed almost like he was leaning at playing Young at C and Zanna at PF.

The problem is that both Young and Zanna are PFs. Well, Zanna has looked good at C when he has spelled there but not looked good when starting there, and Young is 15 pounds heavier than Zanna. But, Young’s natural position is PF and he can put in the 3 ball.

What I think he should do is play Zanna at C and Young at PF, on offense, but have Young play C on defense with Zanna at PF.

Randall seems like he is gonna be good enough on defense but is not gonna score much.

Artis looked good at the Greentree summer league, almost as good as Young… so he should be ready to spell at PF but… he is just a freshman so we will have to see.

My guess is it is gonna be a while before Uchebo can contribute. He is gonna start practicing with the team… in September. But, you don’t wanna rush that knee back too fast and on top of that he is gonna be really raw. Could develop into a very good player but it is gonna take a while so I see minutes here and there for big Joe, not a regular rotation player going into the season.

Comment by Zaratoughda 08.26.13 @ 10:28 am

I suppose there is a chance Zanna will start at PF instead of the middle but wouldn’t guess at this point who the other 2 starters would be. My guess is he would play center. Patterson and Robinson both would have to be unseated to not start but everything else including the bench is to be determined. What happens in Greentree will not be a factor and Dixon will lean on his seniors and grudgingly give newcomers minutes. The ones who play will play D and not turn it over. His recipe rarely varies. Playing all these softies can be as much of a curse as a blessing.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 08.26.13 @ 10:44 am

I don’t know much about basketball, but why does Pitt have to play a center? Why can’t we go with three forwards, sort of like going with the short team with guards?

Comment by Caw Miller 08.26.13 @ 11:48 am

Caw, I am probably not the best person to explain this to someone new to the game but I will try to help you. The Center is the middle of the offense and often plays with his back to the basket. The forwards usually flank the center and face the basket. The center takes most of his shots from close range, while the forwards often shoot from a longer distance. The center has to be a strong rebounder and defender, while shortcomings in these areas though never good can sometimes be tolerated at forward. Finally centers are generally the biggest and strongest players, while forwards can be smaller and overcome any size disparities with quickness. These are general descriptions and there are exceptions to the simple overview explained here. A few years ago Villanova had a lot of success starting 4 guards as an example.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 08.26.13 @ 1:26 pm

Jay Bilas said Dixon would rely on his returning players but… last year Dixon started two freshman, Adams and Robinson, and Adams started over senior Dante Taylor and Robinson got the nod over junior transfer Trey Zeigler.

So, Bilas is behind the times on this one.

Robinson (PG), Patterson (SF) and Zanna (PF or C) are gonna start. After that, it is not a matter of who is returning (which just means Wright and Johnson), but who the best player is.

Given he is the highest profile player of the new players coming in, ya gotta believe Young is gonna start. The only alternative to that is starting Randall at C and Zanna at PF. With this, you are playing Young starter minutes off the bench at PF and you are going with just 3 players inside. Artis would get RSed. I can’t believe you can even consider this unless Uchebo can handle regular rotation minutes so to me… this one won’t go.

Newkirk is gonna spell Robinson. There really isn’t anyone else unless you play Wright some there (which IMO is a good idea) or possibily Mostella (probably NOT a good idea).

We are gonna need some scoring off the bench at SG and Mostella is the man for that… so he is gonna play also (if he shows up).

We will have to see how good Newkirk and Mostella are defensively… but they are probably gonna be terrible. So, you are gonna have to have Robinson or Wright out there when you got either of these two out there. Probably the same re Johnson (who will probably not be terrible at SG). Then, Robinson or Wright can cover the other team’s best guard and that will make it easier on Newkirk and Mostella.

Comment by Zaratoughda 08.26.13 @ 3:55 pm

It is really hard to predict what the rotation is going to look like in January, too many unknowns. The weak non-con is probably a good thing, allows them to sort things out before the ACC season starts.

Uchebo is the first question. If he is 100% then he clearly starts at center. He is the only true center on the roster and was very highly regarded before getting hurt. Unfortunately, all indications are he is still working his way back and not there yet.

So Dixon is going to play extended minutes with two power forwards on the court. Young and Zanna are the most talented. Jamie prefers to have an experienced power forward, Zanna has continued to improve so I would guess Jamie would leave him there and have Young play center. Randall will get back up minutes at both spots. Artis will get what’s left.

Mostella is the other big question mark. How quickly can he fit in? Can he defend? Wright is the incumbent and he’ll get first shot at the starting spot. I don’t think he’ll keep it. Pitt is going to need some scoring/shooting from the two.

Robinson and Patterson will start. Johnson will get plenty of time, he is the best shooter on the team. Newkirk is big time. He will push Robinson.

How will Dixon adjust to the ACC, if at all? If he decides he needs more speed, Mostella, Newkirk and Johnson could play much bigger roles.

Seeing how all of this unfolds could make the non con schedule almost bearable.

Comment by Boubacar Aw 08.27.13 @ 7:46 am

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