April 23, 2014

The ACC released the match-ups in basketball for the next two seasons yesterday.

Here’s what Pitt looks like in graphic format:


Syracuse and Louisville are Pitt’s permanent “rivalry” games. That works for me. Both very good teams. I like that Big East connection and history. Yes it means Pitt will always have a tough ACC schedule, but that isn’t a bad thing.

The next pair are the home-and-homes for the season. I assume that they are planning on rotating the pairs to some degree. Which means it could well be five years before we see a UNC or Duke home-and-home.

The next group of five are the home ACC games. Then the last five are the road games. The ACC knows Duke and UNC are still the glamor programs that will draw the crowds. Every ACC team has UNC and Duke split as home-away each year.

It’s hard to really project out how the 2015-16 schedule will look in terms of difficulty. Right now it looks a touch easier than next season’s, but that can change quickly. I’ll keep most of my thoughts to the slate for next year.

It’s not brutal, but it will be a tough one. The home slate for Pitt is obviously keyed by games with UNC, Syracuse and Louisville. After that it is ND, FSU and Miami (I think Miami will be significantly better than this year). GT, Clemson (no more McDaniels) and BC.

On the road is a different story. Duke, Virginia, Louisville and Syracuse will all be ranked teams. Florida State and NC State will have talent but who knows what kind of team shows up. Then the bottom with Wake Forest, BC and VT — all three with new head coaches.

In terms of winning percentages in conference, Pitt is right in the middle of the pack with next year’s schedule. Louisville may get a marquee introduction with its schedule, but it is also the hardest looking one.

I know I’m repeating this, but I really do like having Syracuse and Louisville as permanent rivalry games for basketball. If they are going to do two permanent ones (which is a bit of a placation to the NC schools — Wake and NC State — who would have howled forever if they lost UNC or Duke from their annual home slate), I like playing teams for which I already have a healthy hate going.

The only downside is that it gives Jamie Dixon a little more cover to schedule a bit weaker in the non-con because he can point to the conference slate with a bit more ease. Eight of the conference games are against teams that were in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. And if I’m guessing for next year’s NCAA projections, I would put it at 9-11.

Interestingly, Virginia is really being cut a break. Their schedule is automatically easier with a VT as one of their permanent rivals. The counterbalance being Louisville being slotted as their other as the Cards assume the Terrapins spot. But on top of that, they get Wake and NC State as home-and-homes. Their schedule may look more daunting if ND comes back strong and Miami is as improved as I suspect — both road games. But otherwise they have the lightest schedule for a team projected to be in the upper-half of the conference.

Syracuse gets a second straight year of home-and-homes with Duke. Overall, the Orange have to like their schedule. Virginia and Louisville come to the Carrier Dome. Along with Miami and FSU. They only have two challenging road only games in UNC and ND.

Clemson. Poor Clemson. Not only is McDaniels gone, but their road only line-up is Duke, Virginia, Pitt, Louisville and Miami. They are being set up for mediocrity as a best case scenario.

Love the permanent pairing with CUSE and VILLE

Comment by HbgFrank 04.23.14 @ 11:12 am

If we want to be considered with the big boys, we have to play with them. These games will also help get us the national exposure we enjoyed in the BE …which should help in recruiting.

Comment by wbb 04.23.14 @ 12:33 pm

Interesting that you consider Syracuse’s road game to Pitt not a challenging one. For shame!

Comment by John In South Carolina 04.23.14 @ 12:52 pm

Agree that next year isn’t as brutal as it could have been with a home-and-home including UNC or Duke along with Syracuse and L-ville. It worked out fairly well for us. I’m assuming that L-ville, even though it is losing a lot of talent, will be tougher than MD was .. Syracuse should be their usual self but probably not as tough as this year. FSU and BC should be a little improved but may not be as tough as NCSt and Clemson were this year. I see UNC as better next year so it’s good to catch them at the Pete .. Duke is Duke, not sure they necessarily are much better next year but game at Cameron will be tough. UVA should be a tough road game but I’m not sure they will be better next year. Yes, they have a large % of the starting lineup coming back but, they need to prove to me that this year wasn’t a fluke and the result of a significant over-achievement. Rest of home and away schedule is a lot of puts and takes. Can’t wait .. Hail to Pitt!

Comment by Tomas 04.23.14 @ 12:55 pm

Concur with wbb, but just how good will the ACC be? Will it be to our benefit using addition via opponent subtraction? Syracuse looses CJ Fair to graduation and Tyler Ennis and Jerami Grant have declared for the NBA draft! You likely know that Duke’s Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood have declared. NC State (slso know as TJ Warren) will start from scratch with Warren declaring! Sorry you had till the 15th to back out guys, goodbye! Our senior grads hurt but I think UVa has been hit even worse graduating both Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell! James McAdoo declared for the NBA out of UNC and bringing in Buzz didn’t stop one of the few true VT talents they had, Trevor Thompson from transferring to OSU! Hail to Pitt. If you thought the ACC was down this season the trend continues next season, even with the Ville coming aboard.

Comment by UPone 04.23.14 @ 1:45 pm

One can’t help but be excited about our experienced backcourt next year. Unfortunately we have some major work to do up front. Unless Haughton is way better than hoped or Randall has an epiphany the 5 looks weak as hell. There is no known quantity at the 3 and hope hinges on the sophmores Young and Artis at the 4. They both were above average as freshman but there is no guarantee they can carry the freight up front. If Jeter and Haughton don’t hit the ground running this could be a tough year for Pitt. I don’t like having so much hinge on inbound transfers and sophomore improvement. Our guards better be able to deliver or 14 could be ugly.

Comment by spiritofsection22 04.23.14 @ 2:18 pm

Upone. What you omitted is nearly all the schools you mentioned have top 20 recruiting classes including Duke at #1

Comment by Chick 04.23.14 @ 2:42 pm

Recruiting classes. Duke #1, UNC #3, LVille #4, Cuse #12, NC St #15. The top programs always reload. I expect the ACC to be tougher next season. LVille for Md alone makes it tougher, even with Md bringing in the #11 recruiting class.

Comment by Nick 04.23.14 @ 2:57 pm

I suspect when it all shakes out, we’ll be at the best the 5th or 6th best ACC team next year or at the worst somewhere around 10th-12th, especially if JD doesn’t immediately plug Newkirk into the PG spot for the rent-a-win season.

With Newkirk we could be closer to the top, with JR closer to the bottom.

This team will struggle to score in the halfcourt as it did when Lamar or Zanna were on the bench this year. This year they will struggle to score even more. As they will get limited scoring from the 5, the 1, and the 3. When your only returning proven scorer is Cam Wright, well what can I say.

UNLESS they plug Newkirk in at PG and play uptempo and create easy scoring opportunities in transition, next season could be some dreadful to watch slogball snoozers.

Comment by Emel 04.23.14 @ 4:37 pm

(typo) 3rd paragraph, 2nd sentence.

NEXT year they will struggle to score even more.

Comment by Emel 04.23.14 @ 4:39 pm

Emel, You seem to have a lot of support with the Newkirk endorsement but I am not sold on him being our transition basket generator. I think the hope is we can play better defense with the often not contributing Patterson gone and a shot blocker underneath to cover mistakes. Robinson and Wright should pose a considerable defensive threat out front and a healthy Young with the shot blocking Haughton next door could cause some concern inside. Maybe we can give up less, that approach worked ok at Virginia this year.

Barring major injuries there is no way we will finish 10th in the ACC. Seriously, there is no reason to expect us to be that bad. History suggests it is highly unlikely and I am curious why you think it is reasonable to suggest it.

I would be disappointed if we do worse than last years 5th.

Comment by spiritofsection22 04.23.14 @ 5:00 pm

As stated by Nick and Chick .. take a look at recruiting classes for Duke (3-5*, 1-4* plus Obi transfer), UNC (2-5* and 1-4*) and Louisville (5-4*). Even Syracuse has 1-5* and 1-4*. Certainly all are losing some big names/starters, especially Louisville but everyone looks to be reloading as well. I expected us to be battling for a 6-7 but with MsDaniels leaving Clemson, I think we could be closer to the 5-6 position. However, even Clemson has 4 starters back and is bringing in 1-4* and 3* Gabe Devoe who was Mr. B-ball in UNC this year. All in all, I don’t see the ACC as being “down” next year, at least, not below this year’s level.

Comment by Tomas 04.23.14 @ 5:02 pm

@upone, agreed. Even bringing in top 20 classes, does not guarantee that what they are losing will be replaced with someone better, or even the same caliber.

More often than not, they don’t.

So, excellent point.

Comment by Dan 04.23.14 @ 5:07 pm

– no doubt Newkirk has a bigger upside but I can see JR’s steadiness being an asset. Newk will certainly see more minutes

– Final 4 this year: UK almost all freshmen; UConn and Wisc mostly players that’s been around 3 or 4 years; and UF that was sort of in-between but still had a couple seniors.

In ACC, champ UVa certainly didn’t have the recruiting classes that teams like Duke, UNC ad Cuse has had the past few years. Bottom line is there is no set formula for success.

Comment by wbb 04.23.14 @ 5:15 pm

@ sos22

You seem to contradict what you posted at 2:38. that being; “Our guards better be able to deliver or 14 could be ugly.”

So what is it, 5th place or ugly.

We are also counting on the unknown of Haughton being a quality player who you can immediately plugin and get results. That’s a big if. Based on what? One year at junior college.

There’s just way to many if’s for next year to conclude, at least for me, that we’re going to be better than this year. We had 2 very good 5th seniors on the team this year, none next year. Are you expecting Wright to be a ‘go to’ type of player ?

Other than Wright, the others have not shown any propensity to score. As you say it could be really ugly.

Comment by Emel 04.23.14 @ 5:26 pm

The last 2 years you could get away with JR at the point since he didn’t do anything as far as directing the team once past halfcourt.

2 years ago, he would give up the ball to Woodall, who promptly lead the team in scoring and assists as the 2G.

This year he would give up the ball to Lamar who lead the team in scoring and assists.

Both of those guys were 5th year seniors who got substantially better in their last year out of necessity. mainly because the PG couldn’t produce much offense, get any dribble penetration, etc.

I don’t think you can get away with him being the PG next year. Perhaps against certain teams and certain situations, but overall, not enough production.

Comment by Emel 04.23.14 @ 5:39 pm

He’s the worst shooter on the team as well.

Comment by Emel 04.23.14 @ 5:41 pm

@upone and @dan .. agree, you never know until these guys hit the court whether their star rankings are correct and/or will they adequately fill the shoes of the guys lost. Plus, stars are subjective. However, I like the recruiting classes of the other guys, especially UNC … even if the guys don’t measure up, they have a deeper class and more room for error. Let’s say all 3 of UNC’s 5* recruits should be 4*, AND, all of Pitt’s 3* should be 4*. Do you think we are even ? What if all of Pitt’s 3* are really 2* ? Ouch .. No one ever knows how these kids will do .. but .. seems to me we’d have a little more breathing room if we could get several true 4* (or higher) every year.

Comment by Tomas 04.23.14 @ 5:44 pm

Changing gears, more sickening news from Creepy Valley.

“Two alumni already have received the OK from the borough to install a projected $300,000 life-sized bronze sculpture downtown, about two miles from the original site. And they’re hoping the statue, which will feature Paterno sitting on a bench reading Virgil’s “Aeneid,” will be installed by fall of next year.”

link to

Comment by Emel 04.23.14 @ 5:44 pm

Tell Kentucky that 5* recruits don’t matter. Yeah they had a bad year 2012-13 but give me a few 5* s any day

Comment by Chick 04.23.14 @ 6:05 pm

Emel, I see ugly as not good enough to make the NCAA tourney. 12th place in a 15 place conference is beyond my imagination though. I obviously am aware of our weaknesses as you pointed out, but as I recall things looked even worse at this point last year. I think we are more likely to compete for the top 4 than drop to the bottom 4. Duran is coming back and Young might be a real threat if healthy. The Jones kid might be able to help too. We have a lot of question marks but JD has consistently found solutions.

Comment by spiritofsection22 04.23.14 @ 6:35 pm

We lose 30 points per game between lamar and zanna. JR has to go from 8 to 12 pts but i dont see more than that. Cam goes from 11 to 16. Young goes 6 to 12. Nuke goes from 5 to 15. DJ goes from 9 to 15. You are at 29 pts per game right there, not considering jones or artis. Or jeter. Or make your own prediction!!

But in short, we can “recover” the 30 pts per game.

Comment by DD 04.23.14 @ 8:12 pm

Appreciate all the comments re: certain ACC teams incoming classes and their rankings. No omission on my part, well aware of them. Kindly name a few who will be of the caliber of Parker, Warren or Ennis! Just pleased that those enormous talents have departed for a different league. I know that return from injury is never certain but I think we undersell the potential Of Johnson. What this unfortunate injury masked this year was DJ’s coming out party as a potential all-ACC talent. Maturity was beginning to set in but not contain his spirit! He has a chance to be a “special” player. I haven’t felt this way about a Panther since BK willed us to a championship! Hail to Pitt! UPone

Comment by UPone 04.23.14 @ 8:39 pm

There is zero chance that JR is not our starting PG next year. IMHO that is how it should be. JN will see more minutes, with some of those perhaps as a 2.

Comment by HbgFrank 04.23.14 @ 8:40 pm

I think Zanna’s and Patterson’s rebounding will be harder to replace than their scoring. The other problem is with Haughton or Randall in to rebound and JR at the point you only have three guys in that can score. Against smaller teams you can have Young at the five, but he has not shown great skill at rebounding. We will really miss Zanna’s put backs, I don’t see anyone with that particular talent.

I think Newkirk has to take more of JR’ and CW’s minutes. JR is a great ball handler, but without the ability to finish. He will have to step up a great deal if he is replace some of Lamar’s leadership. Will he make more of his threes and finish more of his drives? If not Newkirk needs to split time with him. How much will Wright improve? If he takes another step like last year, he could be the go to guy.

We really are counting on DJ and CJ to recover, they can both shoot from outside and drive the lane. DJ has to overcome an ACL, no guarantee. CJ has to rehab a hand, same thing.

The wild card is Jeter.

Can’t wait for the summer league.

Comment by gc 04.23.14 @ 9:07 pm

Good point gc….next year could be the worst rebounding team in the Dixon era….hopefully young and artis learn to crash the boards over the summer.

Comment by DD 04.24.14 @ 6:58 am

Savage to Patriots?
link to

Comment by MariettaMike 04.24.14 @ 6:58 am

Wright doesn’t have much of a shot beyond 12 feet, so most of his scoring is fast break or pull ups. You can only score so many points that way. He can improve at the foul line but I think what we saw this year is what we will get next.

Robinson has the heart and the presence to excel, but he has never learned how to finish and could do a lot better shooting too. He really needs to improve in one of those areas if not both for next year.

Newk shows immense potential, and could emerge as a real scorer next season. I agree with Emel that he is a key to next years team. He is one of the few players Pitt has that has the quickness coveted in the ACC.

Duran’s healthy return opens another avenue of potential that could be enough to lead next years team. He was just starting to make major conference noise when he got hurt.

Young had a respectable freshman season and considering he played with a broken back I would side with an optimistic position forecasting his sophomore year. This is a third area of large potential.

Jones played well at times with a broken hand and is an interesting question mark that could also yield large improvement.

Artis showed surprising shooting at times as a freshman and should benefit with experience.

Randall has had moments when one wondered if he might develop. Worst case scenario he should be an even better back up next year.

Jeter and Haughton arrive with expectations they can both contribute.

Comment by spiritofsection22 04.24.14 @ 9:17 am

The statue should have also Sandusky sitting on that bench reading Eurpides, Plato or some other Greek

Comment by wbb 04.24.14 @ 10:12 am

3 guys on a bench, Sandusky hands covering his privates, Paterno hands covering his mouth, Saner hands covering his wallet pocket. Do no evil, keep it quiet, and cover our ass so we keep making plenty of money.

Comment by spiritofsection22 04.24.14 @ 1:21 pm

@upone …. Okafor, Jones and Winslow for Duke and Jackson and Pinson for UNC … all have the potential to replace big name talent leaving for NBA. Obviously, we won’t know until they actually play but .. you never know.

Comment by Tomas 04.24.14 @ 2:50 pm

lol that would be perfect sos22, Pedo State’s version of the 3 mystic apes.

Comment by Emel 04.24.14 @ 3:31 pm

AS far as Newkirk, I think JD must realize that he must play more, as his minutes dramatically increased in the last couple weeks of the season.

The kid showed he can shoot 3’s (46%) and he also has the quickness & hops and ability to penetrate and finish. And he will get better at finishing at the hole with added strength, maturity.

While I like JR, he just doesn’t have much hops at all and gets stuck a lot when he attempts to penetrate. As he doesn’t have the hops to finish at the rim or the quickness needed to beat the bigs to the rim.

Comment by Emel 04.24.14 @ 3:36 pm

Emel, It is the penetrate and finish part that we need. If we have to depend on the 3 we aren’t playing good enough D, but when we can drive and draw a good result 1) score 2) dish to an open man 3) draw contact while shooting It all comes together and we win. Newk is close to being able to do that.

Comment by spiritofsection22 04.24.14 @ 4:40 pm

@Tomas, you are correct, agree totally. Always want the best talent. Say it all the time in football, give me eleven 4’s and 5’s, and I’ll whip your teams butt made up of 2’s and 3’s.

However, my point agreeing with UPONE, the top 2 or 3 teams are losing NBA talent. Maybe they will get Jabari Parker’s, Fair’s, Ennis’, and players to replace them. That’s possible, maybe not. My point is, Duke and North Carolina getting top 10 talent doesn’t really effect Pitt.

We finished 5th in the conference. Not bad out of 15 teams. Duke and UNC get great recruiting classes?? Old news. They’ll probably finish above us again next year right??

The way I read UPONE, next year will probably be like this year. I tend to agree with that.

Dixon himself will have a top 10 recruiting class in 2 years, if they all stay committed.

@Tomas, glad to see you posting here. Very well thought out posts, look at things from both sides, very good posts. Excellent.

@TROLL, I didn’t see anyone on here say they don’t want 5’s. Where is that said. By who. Don’t change people’s words, to fit your arguments. Thank you.

Comment by Dan 04.24.14 @ 5:34 pm

While we all love Durand Durand, fact is he only shot slightly above 40% FG and 34% from 3, which is actually slightly lower than JR from 3.

So while I do agree we need a penetrate/finish/ordish guy and Newkirk could be that, we also need one of the guards to be able to hit 3’s at a higher rate than 34%. And Newkirk was much higher than that from 3. Wright was only 23% and JR was 34%.

All of the returning players for next year, Nuke has easily the highest 3 point %. Even had the best % this past year.

So really how can you not start him. Get him all the starting PG experience he can get in the non-con.

Comment by Emel 04.24.14 @ 5:37 pm

@ Dan-o

The UNC’s, Duke’s, Cuse’s & Ville’s are going to get their 4 & 5 star players all the time.

What we need to do at Pitt is to make sure we’re not passed up by the Florida State’s, the Virginia’s (might have already happened),the NC State’s, the Miami’s and the Notre Dame’s, etc.

Cause those teams are not going to have the one & done turnover rate like the schools in the first grouping.

Comment by Emel 04.24.14 @ 5:47 pm

JD has not shown much proclivity (outside of the manchild Blair) with knowing what to do with 5 star recruits (Adams, Taylor & Birch come to mind).

So if we do ever land any more, he must get better in that area if we ever hope to attract more than 1 every other year or three or four.

Comment by Emel 04.24.14 @ 5:51 pm

Emel, I’m not swallowing the 5 star shot the way you dished it up. Birch was a jerk, Taylor was way overated and didn’t have the talent and Adams was greener than a Leprechauns balls.

If you closely scrutinize Coach K or Roy Williams their 5’s don’t all pan out either. I don’t see where your “come to mind group” would have done any better playing elsewhere.

Dixon might not attract the 5 star to peoples liking but he gets plenty out of his players. To suggest he has to step up in handling them isn’t really justified IMO. He does enough wrong we don’t have to hang imagined crap on him.

Comment by spiritofsection22 04.24.14 @ 6:47 pm

Emel, Newkirk indeed did have a good year behind the ark in a small sample. He also didn’t draw much attention outside like Duran does. Next year he might well draw more attention , wouldn’t you agree. Wright will never shoot the 3 well and Robinson isn’t going to shoot 40% from 3.Newk needs to polish his foul shooting up and continue to shore up his D.

Comment by spiritofsection22 04.24.14 @ 6:58 pm

Imagined ? lol

None of the 3 I listed did much at Pitt, that isn’t/wasn’t imagined.

All of them were 5 star rated players. That wasn’t imagined either.

Comment by Emel 04.24.14 @ 7:07 pm

Emel, What evidence do you offer that any lack of success they had was due to JD not knowing what to do with them? 5 stars beside your name doesn’t guarantee squat no matter who is coaching. Every other kid on the UNC roster was some kind of All American. Half of them never pan out, leave, screw up etc. and some prosper. When Jabari sucked this year was it Coach K’s fault.

You are correct JD doesn’t bring many elites to Pitt but to say he has mishandled those that have been here isn’t real fair IMO.

Sleepy could have been coached by Wooden and it wouldn’t have made any difference.

Comment by spiritofsection22 04.24.14 @ 7:32 pm

@Emel, Coach K had a couple 5 star NBA guys on the roster this year and didn’t get any further than us with none. Does that mean he doesn’t know what to do with the 5 star prospect?

Comment by spiritofsection22 04.24.14 @ 7:43 pm

Always thought Sleepy was played out of position.

Didn’t have a Center’s game. I bet Wooden would have done wonders with him.

Wooden always adapted his style play to the talents of the team. Not the other way around.

When they had Gail Goodrich and Keith Erickson they pressed full court and won the National Title in 1963-64 season.

When they had bigmen like Lew Alcindor they played halfcourt and won the National Title several more times.

So I think that’a huge stretch to say John Wooden, the greatest college coach who ever coached, couldn’t have done more with Sleepy.

Comment by Emel 04.24.14 @ 8:13 pm

Actually we got further than Duke, as they lost in the 1rst round to Mercer.

Coach K is also learning how to play with the one & dones.

As they have bowed out in the 1rst round 2 of the last 3 years in huge upsets. But the year in the middle they got to the Elite 8.

But again I wasn’t talking about Coach Alphabets, I was talking about JD.

Comment by Emel 04.24.14 @ 8:19 pm

Spirit. What planet are you living on Jabari Parker was 1st team All ACC as a freshman Jamie Dixon would die for anyone close to Jabari Parker

Comment by Chick 04.24.14 @ 9:42 pm

@Emel, absolutely. I have no expectations of being Duke or UNC.

However, Pitt was in a nice little niche from 04′ to 09′ being in the top 10, top 15 every year, #1 several times.

That’s the group I aspire to be. After the 5 or 6 blue bloods, being in the next group of 10.

It was done. It was done by Dixon, and it was done for many years in a row.

Hopefully with some good recruiting classes coming, (if they stay committed) we can get back in that groove.

I’m also, not saying, “uncle” to Duke or UNC. With some good classes, we can win the ACC at times. We won the Big East several times, with many years, the Big East being much tougher than the ACC is right now.

I’m just saying, to expect to get recruits like UNC, Duke, Louisville, Syracuse as you said, and on a national level, throw Kentucky, Kansas and teams like that, would be delusional by any Pitt fan.

We’ve been #1, and were pretty much known for 5 or 6 years as a top 10 team and a national power.

This is not wishful thinking, I saw it, the basketball world saw it, it is a fact.

Those are my good points. As far as Dixon.
I still have his back, but, it would also be delusional for any Pitt fan to not know, that for what we as Pitt fans have come to expect……….

the past couple years have been mediocre. Mediocre for us that is.

Dixon is going to need to adjust and adapt, and step up his recruiting.

These are facts too. Now, compared to about 300 other Division 1 programs, they would kill to have Pitt and Dixon’s program.

We are humans though. Human nature says, once you attain something, you want more. You want to take the next step, or at least maintain.

It does say a lot for Dixon and the program though, that winning 26 games and getting to the tournament is a “lull” for the program.

But, it is. We were top ten, went to the Elite 8, several sweet 16’s.

One or two and done in the tourney ain’t gonna cut it now.

Comment by Dan 04.25.14 @ 8:22 am

@Emel, You are without a doubt one of the posters here that I think has a keen sense for hoops and I always look forward to your opinion, but if you think Sleepy laid a turd because he was mis- coached you are badly confused on the issue and I couldn’t disagree more.

When coach K’s 5 stars don’t lead to success he is learning how to coach them, when JD’s don’t work out he mishandled them. Thanks for clearing up the difference.

Comment by spiritofsection22 04.25.14 @ 8:23 am

p.s. Before the troll says, 10 of those wins every year are against patsy’s, yes, and every other team has 10 wins against patsy’s too, so it’s relative.

I’ve been harder than anyone on our home OOC schedule and been bitchin’ for at least one or two legit games againt other BCS conference teams.

But it is still comparing apples to apples, because even the teams that do play a couple good early season games,

still have 8 patsy’s on their schedule.

It’s not like Pitt plays 10 patsy’s, and other teams only play 1 or 2.

The difference is negligible.

I guess a better way to say it, to fend off the troll, would be to say,

since the Howland/Dixon era, Pitt has always been near the top of the conference if not winning it.

How’s that. That is undisputable.

Even last year.

5th place out of 15 in the ACC???

351 Div 1 teams, about 320 of them would kill for that kind of program.

Gotta ramp it up though Jamie, need to get back to being a top 15 program.

Comment by Dan 04.25.14 @ 8:31 am

@Chick, Please reread whatever led you to post your last post. Where did I ever imply Dixon wouldn’t want Jabari Parker?

Jabari had great games and bad games too and his team did worse than Pitt with more talent. Which is way more important than All ACC.

The subject was , was he mishandled, because his team failed?

Comment by spiritofsection22 04.25.14 @ 8:37 am

@Dan, I think if Duran doesn’t get hurt we would have been back to top 15 this year.

Comment by spiritofsection22 04.25.14 @ 8:42 am

Trolls like to take peoples thoughts, turn them around and inside out, to fit their own argument, then spew them back out, like, “gotcha”.

Grain of salt my friend, grain of salt.

Comment by Dan 04.25.14 @ 9:49 am

Agree Dan-o, we need to get back to being a Top 15, Top 10 type of team.

2 of the last 3 years we haven’t finished ranked in the Top 25.

I am more than a little worried about next year, as we don’t have much stock piled like we usually do, due to the attrition in the program. We have one 4rth year senior (Wright) and one 3rd year Junior(JR). For the first time that I can remember, we are going to be relying much on 5 true sophomores (Y,A,N & J) and another true sophomore transfer in H.

That is a really young team !

Comment by Emel 04.25.14 @ 4:16 pm

Parker averaged 19 ppg and 9 rpg so I wouldn’t say he was mishandled.

And he’s expected to be a Top 3 NBA pick.

I didn’t say it had anything to do with whether the team failed.

Comment by Emel 04.25.14 @ 4:24 pm

Look who’s showing up on this NBA board.

Lamar is in the 2nd round.

And Khem Birch is projected to be picked ahead of Lamar.

link to

Comment by Emel 04.25.14 @ 4:27 pm

If they pick Birch ahead of Zanna they are making a mistake

Comment by spiritofsection22 04.25.14 @ 4:33 pm

Emel, This is another area we differ, the coaches job isn’t build individual stats and careers it is to win basketball games. Or is that what it takes to handle the elites.

Duke with all kinds of 4 and 5 talent and 2 early exit NBA guys didn’t accomplish squat. In fact their exit was embarrassing.

Comment by spiritofsection22 04.25.14 @ 4:39 pm

@Emel , Using your reasoning Dixon got Adams picked 12th in the NBA with no where near the rep Parker had. Was this a case of mishandling too?

Comment by spiritofsection22 04.25.14 @ 4:52 pm

Well we differ, Z never learned how to play on the block, even as a 5th year season, he would still bring the ball down low to get stripped, etc.

Several TV announcers mentioned it this year.

Now, what that poor coaching or Z not grasping it ?

Comment by Emel 04.25.14 @ 4:57 pm

@ sos22…

NBA drafts a lot on potential. Adams is one of those examples as are a lot of these Euro players they draft.

Comment by Emel 04.25.14 @ 4:59 pm

Haughton better start eating, a lot.

link to

Comment by xfmrman 04.25.14 @ 6:58 pm

It is easy to point to what the Z man can’t do, I agree, however next years biggest challenge could be finding player(s) who can do what he did do. I will be amazed if this group is able to fill his shoes.

Comment by spiritofsection22 04.26.14 @ 8:38 am

I have a concern that Haughton has no idea of how big a task he is attempting and unless Randall has an awakening Young is going to get stuck at the 5 where he is over matched. Instead of developing at the 4 he gets beat up and lost inside.

Comment by spiritofsection22 04.26.14 @ 9:27 am

Look at the schools who offered Haughton both as a high schooler and then this past year before he picked Pitt. At this point, there is no reason to sell him short.

He is here to defend and rebound, and is surrounded by 7 players who are capable of scoring double figures … being they have already done so.

Comment by wbb 04.26.14 @ 9:46 am

Randall will be better. He is big and strong, will be in for rebounds defense and a few bunnies.

Haughton is a shot blocker, something we have not had for a long time, if ever. Jamie will use these guys effectively.

Young will play the five when they go small, giving us the ability to run.

Will there be times we get outclassed in the middle, of course. Face it, we won’t be a top ten team, but we still have enough talent to be very good.

We have a lot of role players. Jamie is going to have to do his best job working the chess board making sure to take advantage of match-ups.

Comment by gc 04.26.14 @ 10:30 am

@WBB, I love the optimism and wish I could get on board but JC transfers pan out less than half the time and they have a short lifespan to adjust and produce. Add to that the fact that our improvement inside last year probably coincided with Slice’s arrival for a reason, and I suspect my fears are realistic.

There is a big step up from 300 people watching you play a bunch walk on types in Jabutkyville to playing in the ACC.

Comment by spiritofsection22 04.26.14 @ 10:30 am

Although I am optimistic that Haughton will beef-up by October, and can be effective, he was originally recruited by South Carolina as a PF.

Same with Randall at Rutgers (PF).

I think with his bulk (240#), and improvement on defense, Randall will start at the 5. Haughton will get significant minutes though.

Add Doorson to the mix, and Pitt has a lot of fouls to give at the 5. I hope that they use the fouls (and Haughton’s shot blocking) to force the opposition to beat them at the free-throw line or shooting jump-shots. I hate seeing (opposing) teams drive for lay-ups with impunity.

I do not expect much scoring from the center next year.

Comment by xfmrman 04.26.14 @ 10:40 am

@GC, I think Randall has the ability, but can he get the focus. If he could he could make a huge difference, but he is running out of time to catch on.

Comment by spiritofsection22 04.26.14 @ 10:43 am

@X, Everything I have seen says Dohrson is too much of a project to do anything but redshirt.

Comment by spiritofsection22 04.26.14 @ 10:47 am


He was basically a freshman last year.
Stunted development at Rutgers (that surely had an effect on his confidence)…new system…teammates, and the loss of his mother.

I think he has the physical tools (remember the Kip-up).

I hope the lawsuit does not distract him from his development.

Comment by xfmrman 04.26.14 @ 10:59 am

Even if Doorson is a project, his size alone can be intimidating to a 6’2″ 185# guard.

FWIW, Doorson is 4 star per ESPN.

And I remember Gary McGhee as a freshman. 3 fouls in 8 seconds.

Comment by xfmrman 04.26.14 @ 11:11 am

And both Randall and Haughton are liabilities at the free-throw line. Not sure about Doorson.

Comment by xfmrman 04.26.14 @ 11:13 am

Let’s face it all 3 added together and throw in Uchebo doesn’t equal a Zanna.

Comment by spiritofsection22 04.26.14 @ 11:40 am

This past year, Tyrone Haughton was offered by Memphis, Tennessee, Wichita State and Pitt (and others) — 4 NCAA teams, 2 in Top 20. He is not asked to score, but to rebound and defend, something he has apparently done all his life.

He has to be quicker off his feet and a better jumper than anyone we have now, and especially Randall.

Again, at this point, there is no reason to think he will fail.

Comment by wbb 04.26.14 @ 1:25 pm

SOS22, your guy Zanna exceeded eveyone’s expectations this past year (except maybe yours) … but he is also gone.

Further, the coaching staff said on a couple of occasions that Young (broken back and all) was the best low post defender this past season.

Haughton is not here to replace Zanna … he is here to defend and rebound.

Comment by wbb 04.26.14 @ 1:29 pm

Doorson has to take a redshirt. There are 10 guys on the team that deserve playing time.

I think Jamie will have to adjust to not having five clear starters. Newkirk clearly deserves minutes. Young and Artis have different skill sets. DJ, CJ, and Jeter will all deserve minutes.

The five may be the weak link, but with the size of Randall and the hops of Haughton, we should be able to get by.

I do see Young getting minutes at the five if only to get more minutes for the other forwards.

This is a whole new team without Patterson and Zanna. Everyone will have to contribute to replace the production of those two.

Jamie will really need to be aware of who has the hot hand and who is favored by a match-up. He can’t just rely on Patterson heating up any more.

Randall will benefit from having one year of experience in the system and now being the go to guy. If Haughton passes him as the better defender and rebounder, all the better. My guess is without the bulk, Randall will play more. Unless he is wiry, 215 is a lightweight.

When will Haughton arrive on campus, I assume in time for the summer league.

Does anyone know how DJ and CJ’s rehab is going?

Comment by gc 04.26.14 @ 1:52 pm

GC, It sounds like you have a good handle on it, I agree that Randall should have the inside track. I think you hit the nail on the head about next years team being a whole new project. The one consistent element is JD has always figured out a way to make the dance.

JC college transfers are last ditch efforts to fill voids, otherwise they just don’t make sense. Haughton deserves an opportunity but despite his popularity with good teams, he is a stretch to be a big contributor. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen just that it isn’t a likelihood.

When does summer league start?

Comment by spiritofsection22 04.26.14 @ 3:29 pm

@wbb, The Big Kahuna leaving is hard for me ,you are right. Life goes on and you are right ,we don’t have to replace Zman , we just have to put a winning team on the floor. I guess we should be looking forward to enjoying the next player who will capture our imagination and charge us emotionally. HTP

Comment by spiritofsection22 04.26.14 @ 3:39 pm

Pitt played 36 games last year and 14 against teams in the NCAA. The non con was soft but still had us play sweet 16 Stanford and very competitive Cincinnati. To suggest Dixon has built his rep on softies is a stretch and as previously stated this years slate should be more aggressive.

Comment by spiritofsection22 04.29.14 @ 3:09 pm

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