June 16, 2014

It’s been something of an open secret for at least a week or so. One of the lead candidates to join Jamie Dixon’s coaching staff has been Marlon “Smoke” Williamson. An assistant coach on the UMass staff.

Williamson is an interesting choice, and not exactly what was expected. He’s a Youngstown State grad and his ties in recruiting are more midwest. Especially the Detroit area as he is reasonably tight with the AAU program known as “The Family.”

Williamson had spent the previous nine years working with The Family, an AAU program in Detroit, Mich. where he served as President of Youth Operations and Head Coach.

Williamson’s duties with The Family included opponent scouting, practice scheduling, monitoring of the athletes’ academic progress and counseling them on educational programs.

Some of the top players to emerge from The Family include Joe Crawford (Kentucky), Jordan Crawford (Indiana & Xavier), Chris Douglas-Roberts (Memphis), Draymond Green (Michigan State) and Malik Hairston (Oregon).

Both Matt Steinbrink at PantherLair and Chris Dokish have been tweeting about Williamson being a lead candidate, and today ESPN’s Jeff Goodman also tweeted it.

The upside is that Williamson is young — about the same age as Brandin Knight — and ambitious. He has AAU ties, which are a definite plus. The negative is that he’s still fairly new and has not shown track record of bringing talent yet. Plus his base for recruiting ties is not an area Pitt has mined — and has some stiff local competition with Michigan and Michigan State.

Young and hungry often gets the food over old and fat. Give me a young and hungry guy with potential. He will make mistakes but enthusiasm and passion are contagious. Focused aggression is good. Now let’s unleash hell on recruiting.

Comment by TX Panther 06.16.14 @ 9:16 pm

surprise surprise.. I tend to over react when it come to pitt basketball…I will always have question marks about JD until he changes with the evolution of these players these days..

However, I am pleasantly surprised with the hire of this dude…his AAU roots and his hunger for the game is refreshing to me…

Now lets get back to the pitt basketball that I fell in love with years ago…h2p!!

Comment by Keith 06.16.14 @ 9:26 pm

Welcome to the Pitt family Smoke! H2P!

Comment by Gordo 06.16.14 @ 11:29 pm

I like kids whose roots were street ball, kids that want out, kids that took the advice of a family member, or pastor or some involved adult that saved them from street life. Notown is a field of diamonds.

My daughter’s summertime job is working with kids from tough backgrounds, below the poverty line. She arranged for me to run a b ball clinic yesterday. This kids are fantastic, desperate for adult involvement. They’re bright, learned ball handling & shooting immediately, they’re about 7 and some of the boys had spring and quickness that was shocking. Pure skill sets. I was disgusted that they have no access to a court except at this limited summer program; the gym at their overcrowded school has to be used as a lunchroom. They were so hungry for more ball clinic they cried when it ended. This is obviously beyond Pitt having a new asst coach that will canvass a new territory. This rant is about the stupidity of the scumbags and vipers that reside in DC & state caps and lie & deceive while they steal billions and set people against each other.

Comment by Old School Panther 06.17.14 @ 5:55 am

Good ties to the Detroit area .. just what Calipari will be looking for

Comment by wbb 06.17.14 @ 6:10 am

Marlon looks anything but hungry, Tex.

Comment by steve1 06.17.14 @ 6:27 am

I thought this coaching seat was usually filled by a former head coach (or very experienced assistant coach) who could provide another perspective to JD. In terms of recruiting, there is Barton with ties to New England, Knight covering NY/NJ, Regan with ties to PA, Richards with ties to NC and now Smoke with ties to Detroit. Does it seem odd that an ACC team’s best connection to most of the ACC recruiting area is through their Video Coordinator? I know that’s simplifying it a bit (and not all the guys can actually recruit) but I’m not impressed with this potential hire.

Comment by CalvinHobbes 06.17.14 @ 9:03 am

Calvin, I was actually thinking the same thing. Further, the video coordinator is not allowed to recruit.

I would like to see Barton departing and replaced with someone with Philly/Balt-DC ties.

Comment by wbb 06.17.14 @ 9:29 am

Pitt needs better talent in order to truly compete for an ACC championship and a final four. Recruiting has to improve, On the surface, it looks like Jamie hired Smoke to recruit.

I agree with you guys, Pitt needs to recruit Philly, DC and Baltimore HARD. All the conference upheaval has created an opportunity in those areas. The ACC is the big dog now and is a big draw in those areas. The big east is way down, hurting nova and gtown. Maryland is moving to the big10, which won’t help them. Plus, Pitt has had some recent success there with Johnson, Robinson and Artis.

Would probably have been smart to grab a guy, like David Cox, with strong ties to that area.

Six days until summer league, if you’re counting.

Comment by Boubacar Aw 06.17.14 @ 11:31 am

Detroit is pretty strong, they can’t all want to go to Michigan and Michigan St. I agree with BA, Philly, DC and Baltimore are ripe.

Comment by gc 06.17.14 @ 4:15 pm

Per dokish our new assistant will recruit new England based on his umass ties.

Comment by pitt1972 06.17.14 @ 5:30 pm

So we basically traded Slice for Smoke…

Comment by Jackagain 06.17.14 @ 7:37 pm

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