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June 18, 2014

Marlon “Smoke” Williamson was introduced as a new Pitt assistant coach yesterday.

“We are excited about Marlon becoming a member of the University of Pittsburgh community and I know he is ecstatic to be coming aboard,” Dixon said. “As a former point guard with strong knowledge of the game, Marlon will help us in recruiting, scouting and player development. We are fortunate to have a coach with his well-rounded background. Marlon is also extremely excited to be a part of our staff considering his family ties to Pittsburgh.”

The former YSU point guard is openly ambitious and perhaps a little cocky.

“Actually, my pursuit is to become a great assistant coach right now. In the future, I want to become a head coach,” Williamson said. “When you say ‘great assistant,’ you have to fill a lot of bullets. Recruiting is definitely one, but I don’t want to be singled out as just a recruiter. I can get in the film room and break down Xs and Os. The relationship with the players is a huge factor for you as a coach. It’s much easier to play for someone you respect and love versus someone you just play for. That’s what I want to strive for as a professional in this business, being able to relate to the coach, co-workers on the staff, as well as the players and their parents.”

So, like [UMass Coach Derek] Kellogg before him, Williamson made a move to put his career in an upward trajectory.

“This is a big step,” he said. “When you talk about the University of Pittsburgh and ACC, you’ve got to go get players first. Our position as assistants is to put Coach Dixon in a position to be great. I look at coach Dixon as a legend. I don’t think he hired Coach Knight or Coach Barton to be mediocre. We want to give him the tools that he can go coach those guys. Our goal is to win the last game. Why not us?”

These are not bad things for a young assistant.

One other thing to note from his official bio. Even though he played four years at YSU he didn’t complete his degree at that time. Williamson, however, did go back and complete it in 2012. Another sign that he is serious about his ambitions to become a head coach. It is a little thing. But as Steve Masiello learned, it can become a huge barrier to a better job and the subsequent mess hurts the reputation.

The hiring of Williamson also means that Coach Dixon has effectively elevated Brandin Knight to the top assistant position. I guess now it’s just a matter of time before John Calipari poaches him.

2016 commit Maverick Rowan completed his play at the Adidas EuroCamp.

The U.S. team played three games and lost all three by an average of 78 points. It wasn’t a surprise because the team played against older international players, including some who could be selected by NBA teams.

“I learned to play overseas, you have to be a lot more physical,” Rowan said. “There is just more physicality compared to the NBA.”

Really? More physical than the NBA?

“You watch LeBron James. He gets touched, he flops and gets a foul called,” Rowan said. “The competition over there was just a lot more physical. Like, when they set screens, they move a little on the screen and bump you harder. And if you went to the hoop, you weren’t getting a call.”

Overall, Rowan said it was “a great experience.” He believes he played against “five or six NBA draft picks.”

Rowan was not close to the main attraction on the US team. In fact, his selection was something of a surprise. At the same time, as noted by the scores, not many of the US players were overly impressive — including Thon Maker. Rowan did make an impression with his shooting.

Class of 2016 Pittsburgh commit Maverick Rowan was the least highly touted recruit here outside of Danta Hales, but held his own. A 6’7 shooter who can also put the ball on the floor and create his own shot a bit, Rowan has a picturesque shooting stroke and nice size for a wing. He may not be a great athlete, but he plays within himself and should give Jamie Dixon’s Panthers an efficient scoring option on the wing down the road.

Also one of the younger players on the squad, so to have a shot that already looks so good is the sort of thing that should make Pitt fans smile.

Great news on both accounts. Smoke needs to find us some bigs.

Great experience for Rowan. Wish he was coming next year. If he keeps getting better, he will be an amazing freshman. Shoots like JJ Reddick.

Comment by gc 06.18.14 @ 6:54 am

apparently, his last 3 months in the AAU circuit erased any doubts about him playing against a lack of competition in high school Class A. He has more than held his own.

Comment by wbb 06.18.14 @ 7:00 am

This is a even handed in depth preview of Pitt football by SB Nation. Plenty of reasons for optimism this season even though unanswered questions about this squad abound.

link to

Comment by Dr. Tom 06.18.14 @ 7:50 am

Back to Slice: I’m still hypothesizing that he never did actually graduate from St. Francis.

While it was noted that he did on his Pitt bio, there is no mention of his degree on his UK bio.

If true, it would make Pitt look silly, correct?

Comment by steve1 06.18.14 @ 7:56 am

It is confirmed that Coach Smoke’s dad grew up in Garfield & went to Peabody HS (now Obama Academy). Love the local story line (lest we forget that HCJD’s grandparents spent significant time here as well & HCPC’s Uncle Barry’s from SWPA of course!). Theres good talent in MI & his time in Amherst should’ve provided a roadmap of New England Prep Schools – where theres Smoke theres Fire!
As for our 2016 recruit… not a big fan of parents that hold their kids back so they can dominate their younger classmates (& it starts in kindergarten)- but thats the world we live in. I thought the rumor was that he would have to fall off the radar & prep a year or 2 because the meter on his PIAA eligibility has been running for a long long time? I guess Lincoln Park Basketball Academy is off the radar enough? Ah heck who am I kidding, he comes from great stock, grew up Coach Miller’s lab, seems to be an absolute Pitt lock who has access to other recruits on the elite tour & his stroke is pure sugar (his court vision is legit with an improving handle) h2p

Comment by ptbreezeb 06.18.14 @ 8:45 am

Good news for me, I think–DISH has added ESPN3 access on my mobile devices. Can catch Pitt games on my i-pad and phone when traveling. Remaining downside is poor Verizon DSL bandwidth at home that makes ESPN3 reception of spotty quality (FIOS unavailable where I live).

Comment by Pitt1972 06.18.14 @ 9:00 am

Lincoln Park is very much on the WPIAL & PIAA radar. They regularly have students ruled ineligible for transferring for athletic reasons.

Comment by Nick 06.18.14 @ 9:28 am

@Dr. Tom –

There is a lot to be optimistic for this fall and especially fall of 2015. I share you enthusiasm!

While there are definitely question marks that will probably cost us an unexpected loss, every Panther fan will hold his/her breath every time Voytik drops back. We may bee thin in some area but coaches will find a way to shuffle players if need be. But you just can’t do that at QB. That’s the one major roadblock to a winning season.

Comment by Bowling Green Panther 06.18.14 @ 9:51 am

Best I’ve felt about both football and basketball in awhile.

Maybe “Smoke” knows Herron’s father too?? Herron’s from New England too isn’t he??

Still worried that Herron’s fathers friendship with Rohrsen may steal him.

NO!! I’m not saying they are both going to win National Championships!!!!!

I just think they are both in a half decent place right now. That’s all.

I haven’t had Kool-Aid since they quit making
Lime Flavored Kool-Aid in 83′!!!

Comment by Dan 06.18.14 @ 10:08 am

The U.S. team played three games and lost all three by an average of 78 points.

78 points ! Is that a typo ?

Peabody HS is now called Obama Academy ?

Oy Vey !

Is this indicative of the state of HS football in the Keystone state, losing to Maryland in the Big 33 game ?

Comment by Emel 06.18.14 @ 11:01 am

Dr Tom, that was one informative article that you linked, Thanks!

If the OL gels, I honestly believe Andersen can do a serviceable job at QB if the unthinkable happens. Again, the OL has to be good.

Emel, many of the top PA players skipped the Big 33 this year … including Bookser and Amara as well as Nicholsen, Winovich and Henry

Comment by wbb 06.18.14 @ 11:33 am

Ahh, I see wbb.

And PA didn’t have one, Tyler Boyd to score 5 TD’s this year !

As with many things Pitt, we take so long to hire someone, it almost becomes anti-climatic.

Welcome to Smoke nonetheless !

Comment by Emel 06.18.14 @ 11:37 am

And the next question would be, does Smoke have some quality recruits that he can immediately bring in, like for 2015 class ? Cause we only have Damon Wilson so far.

Comment by Emel 06.18.14 @ 11:39 am

On to baseball for a sec.

“The Pirates held a moment of silence for both Tony Gwynn and Chuck Noll prior to first pitch on Tuesday.”

I get it for the Emperor, but to my recollection, Tony Gwynn didn’t play for the Pirates, Steelers, Penguins and didn’t star in the Fish that Saved Pittsburgh. So therefore why was he included with the great Chuck Noll ?

Comment by Emel 06.18.14 @ 11:43 am

Nick, I hear ya Lincoln Park’s “charter” seems to be hoops which is just groovy EXCEPT its a tax payers burden. Fishy. Heron is from NE, he too has changed prep schools a couple (2 or 3 times). As we have all heard (& Dokish confirms) UK hasn’t offered… yet. Best we can hope for is that those in the backcourt they offered choose to go to Lexington leaving MH on the outside looking in. Its a romantic notion to think Slice left the table set for us. We are still a long shot IMO for him as he should get some top tier offers. I would be thrilled to be wrong. Yes Emel, how you take a name brand like Peabody & vaporize it is beyond me BUT its gone – long gone (along with Schenley & Rizenstein). The ‘Dice Rolls on. Speaking of pigskin, Kevan Barlow hailed from there (as did David Logan & Mel Bennett) & I think he played Pee Wee in Garfield – where Smoke’s dad is from! While Mr Conner doesn’t remind me of Barlow identically, I love our legacy of big backs who know just what to do when the get past the front 7! This O line has to gel & take advantage of these next 2 seasons. If they come around we will all be worried that the “charismatic” HCPC will be wooed away & all us pessimistic Pitt loyalists will be tossed in tailspin (for a change). But if he pulls down 17+ wins over the next 2 seasons it will only further solidify his rep as a QB wizard & someone will want him…

Comment by ptbreezeb 06.18.14 @ 11:46 am

They use to wait unto people died before naming things after them, like buildings, highways, aircraft carriers, etc.

But I forgot Obama is beyond most humans.

Comment by Emel 06.18.14 @ 12:01 pm

if HCPC is wooed away, that means he probably has been successful here, and the program is in good shape. (half full)

Comment by wbb 06.18.14 @ 12:21 pm


Not exactly true. My nephew is a Navy jet pilot on the George H W Bush carrier, today deployed in the Persian Gulf. So, some things are named after living people on both sides of the aisle.


Comment by pmdH2P 06.18.14 @ 12:24 pm

Actually, the Pens must be taking a course from Pitt coaching hiring!!

Comment by Dan 06.18.14 @ 12:52 pm

Of course the George H.W. Bush Nimitz class Aircraft Carrier. Just got redeployed closer to that mess in Iraq.

I don’t agree with naming that after a living person either.

So I’m fair….on both sides of the proverbial supposed aisle. 🙂

Comment by Emel 06.18.14 @ 12:55 pm

You’re on your toes pmd….I included aircraft carrier in that abbreviated list to see if anyone would pick on that. ha

Did you learn how to wash your Pitt undies yet ?

Comment by Emel 06.18.14 @ 1:01 pm

Hope they keep your nephew ‘out of harm’s way’, btw.

Comment by Emel 06.18.14 @ 1:05 pm


Ah, yes, the “blue and gold” boxers. I had hidden in my undies drawer and was planning to not take them out until football season started. But, then it occurred to me that they may have some value during recruiting. So, I have been torn.

Plus, I tend to buy in quantities and stock up on things. When I got out my summer stuff from storage, I found a whole bunch of boxers that are still in their original packages. And, amazingly, there is a back-up pair of “blue and golds.”

Life is very good. And, to answer your question, my wife still does not trust me near the clothes washer. She does welcome me every night to help make dinner—so I am not a total slug.

And, yes, on my toes. Need to be to keep up with you and my other fellow crazies on here.


Comment by pmdH2P 06.18.14 @ 1:09 pm

I think it was 78 points total. One link I found said they lost one game by 10 points and the other 2 games by 34 points each.

Comment by Tomas 06.18.14 @ 2:06 pm


Yes pays to have a ‘backup’ pair !

You can wear those if Anderson ever gets to play a game this year. ha

Comment by Emel 06.18.14 @ 2:24 pm

The Pgh Public schools are in shambles. Peabody was closed & then reopened as Obama. Schenley closed, moved to Reizenstein, then that closed. South High closed about 12 years ago. Oliver closed & those kids now go to Perry. Langley closed & those kids go to Brashear, then Langley was repurposed to a k-8. The old Milliones middle was closed then reopened as a 6-12 & renamed University Prep. Dozens of elementary school have closed. People have flocked to the suburbs to get out of the school district. It’s gotten pretty bad over the last 10 years or so.

Comment by Nick 06.18.14 @ 2:50 pm

“Rowan…may not be a great athlete….”

Man, that’s not what I want to hear.

Comment by Jeff 06.18.14 @ 4:47 pm

Dokish has some good recruiting news on panther prey

Comment by Old School Panther 06.18.14 @ 6:19 pm

Jeff, he looks athletic enough for me

link to

Comment by wbb 06.18.14 @ 6:38 pm

Emel, I may mis-remember this, but I think they let the students vote on the name of the Obama Academy. I also think it ended up at the old Peabody HS because whatever building it was previously located in was sold, resulting in Obama relocating to Peabody HS, which had already been closed.

Comment by marcus of schaumburg 06.18.14 @ 6:56 pm

Pittbreezeb,Darryl Sheppard.

Comment by alcofan 06.18.14 @ 8:16 pm

Who is Darryl Sheppard?

Comment by marcus of schaumburg 06.18.14 @ 9:04 pm

Alcofan – good looking out! I remember the sax playing Shepherd!
link to

Heck of an athlete.

Comment by ptbreezeb 06.19.14 @ 7:32 am


The Pirates give a moment of respect to one of the game’s greatest players and ambassadors….and you are upset because he didnt play for a Pittsburgh team?

Congrats for the absolute dumbest thought of the entire week

Well done.

Comment by Tallahassee Panther 06.19.14 @ 11:34 am

Darryl Sheppard was one of the best City League hoops player ever. Went to Duquesne before their program totally collapsed, and then did a very wise thing………..

…..Darryl transferred to PITT.

Believe he played 2 years for us ! Was a nice player, could shoot it pretty well mid-range.

Comment by Emel 06.19.14 @ 1:11 pm

Next to yours Mr. Tallahassee.

Bravo !

Comment by Emel 06.19.14 @ 1:13 pm

P.S. I was actually more upset they did it at the same time they gave a moment of respect to Chuck Noll.

If that makes any sense to you.

Comment by Emel 06.19.14 @ 1:16 pm

Nice link ptbreeze.

Some great players of BigEast lore mentioned in that above story, Chris Mullin, Ed Pinkney, Walter Berry, Dwayne McClain, Reggie Williams and Patrick Ewing.

Think I disliked all of them intensely as they were all nemesis’s of PITT.

And Lorenzo Charles of NC State is mentioned, he of the game winning slam in the NCAA championship against heavily favored Phi Slamma Jamma (Houston).

Comment by Emel 06.19.14 @ 1:23 pm

ESPN is doing position ranks for college football since 2000. Pitt only makes the top 10 once, #3 for receivers, but we make top 40 all of the rest.
Kicker – 18
Defensive back – 40
Linebacker – 22
Defensive line – 15
Offensive line – 31
Tight ends – 29
Wide receiver – 3
Running backs – 23
Quarterbacks – 37
That’s not bad for a school that has struggled for decades. How got 37 for quarterback is beyond me.

Comment by Caw Miller 06.19.14 @ 1:39 pm

Heroin still a solid commit for JD’s panthers…wheeew!!

Comment by Keith 06.19.14 @ 1:46 pm

here is an article that will please many of you … just hope he continues to feel this way

link to

Comment by wbb 06.19.14 @ 1:46 pm

Upset that the Pirates and MLB gives a Moment of Silence honoring the passing of its greatest hitter since Ted Williams? Just like Coach Noll, Gwynn’s greatness as a person far outreaches his accomplishments in sports.

A Moment of Silence. Just one moment! Can you stand it?

Comment by art 06.19.14 @ 1:59 pm

For what it is worth, I think you some of you are missing the point that Emel is trying to make. Chuck Noll is Pittsburgh. He is part of who we are as ‘burghers.

Emel is not denigrating Tony Gwynn. It just strikes him, and me, that Noll deserved his own, separate, very special moment of tribute in our city.

In any case, we need more people in sports like both of them.


Comment by pmdH2P 06.19.14 @ 2:43 pm


It is interesting to read his comment that the team interacts like “family.” So similar to what we are hearing the recruits say about our football team.


Comment by pmdH2P 06.19.14 @ 2:45 pm

Noll died on Friday, Gwynn on Monday .. and the Pirates returned home on Tuesday

Comment by wbb 06.19.14 @ 3:08 pm


The Pirates are connected to Gwynn by virtue of the game.

They are connected to Noll by virtue of location.

Why would anyone be upset they were honored together, both for legitimate reasons as related to the Pirates?

The notion that Noll had to share some type of spotlight with gwynn, or vica versa, is ridiculous.

Only the mouth breathing yinzers would find something to complain about for a moving gesture by the Bucs.

Comment by Tallahassee Panther 06.19.14 @ 3:12 pm

Where there’s “SMOKE”… there’s a HIRE.

Couldn’t resist. Probably should have.

Comment by PittofDreams 06.19.14 @ 3:39 pm

And for those convinced James Conner is SLOW… even for a BIG BACK.

“Every time I tell myself I’m going to do something, I do it,” (James Conner) said. “Before the bowl game, I said I want to leave with the MVP, and I did that. I said I want to run a 4.4- (second) 40-yard dash, and I did that (in the spring).

And if you’re still a DOUBTER… take a look at the NEW Leaner Version of PITT’S 250 Pound “PANTHER BEAST MODE.”

WARNING! Image may be disturbing to ACC Defensive Backs.

link to

Comment by PittofDreams 06.19.14 @ 3:49 pm

You won’t find a bigger Tony Gwynn fan me, but calling him the greatest hitter since Ted Williams is comical. Tony Gwynn was a contact hitter — a great one, but a contact hitter nonetheless. To start, I’d take Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez, and Albert Pujols. And Tony Gwynn would agree — he said as much when talking about Bonds.

Comment by denny 06.19.14 @ 3:51 pm

I love these clowns that come on here once in a blue moon and pick a fight over nothing !

And if you don’t like yinzers stay the f*ck out of Pittsburgh.

Comment by Emel 06.19.14 @ 4:45 pm

Pitt of Dreams @ 3:39 … very nice .. what about getting another coach nicknamed Mirrors ? Then we would have something !

Comment by Tomas 06.19.14 @ 5:08 pm


Buddy. Be nice. We all are in the same row boat here. Oy vey, what if the food is not kosher?

The important thing is getting quality kids to represent our school and kick ass. Particularly, Notre Dame’s ass.

I am going to have a great dinner and signing off boys (and girls, maybe).


Comment by pmdH2P 06.19.14 @ 5:49 pm

Here are some of the rosters for the Summer Pro-am … note the names of DeGroat and Troutman among others. Other notes that Haughton has to take a summer class (on no!) before comingto Pitt and Shaq Doorsen will not be in this summer bus supposed to enroll in the fall. (T J McConnell also is suppsoed to play in Pgh Pro-Am)

link to

Comment by wbb 06.20.14 @ 6:15 am

two more rosters, includes D Randall

link to

Comment by wbb 06.20.14 @ 6:19 am

Pitt has never had a 6’7″ PURE shooter. Rowan can be a very valuable contributed for his four years. The way the game is played in the ACC, you need a guy who can knock down three’s.

He reminds me of Luke Hancock, who played a big role in Louisville’s national championship run.

Montour Monday!

Comment by Boubacar Aw 06.20.14 @ 6:20 am

How tall was Billy Knight? 6-6?

Comment by Pittman4ever 06.20.14 @ 8:27 am

Even tough I am in my late 40’s, I must admit, I never saw Billy Knight play. If he was a pure shooter, I’ll stand corrected and modify my statement. Pitt hasn’t had a 6’7″ pure shooter in the last 40 years. 🙂

Comment by Boubacar Aw 06.20.14 @ 11:40 am

Mooney was 6’6″ tall.

As was Larry Harris who was also a pure shooter.

Comment by Emel 06.20.14 @ 12:30 pm

Larry Harris? Again, before my time. The first Pitt game I attended was 1984/85 Georgetown game at the civic arena.

Comment by Boubacar Aw 06.20.14 @ 5:15 pm

Harris was a better pure shooter than Knight. Knight shot well but was a heck of a slasher. I considered him to be more of a score than a shooter. He was also a very good rebounder, I still consider Knight to be the best Pitt player ever (never saw Hennon play)

Comment by wbb 06.20.14 @ 6:42 pm

Larry Harris came to Pitt right after Billy Knight graduated.

He became Pitt’s leading scorer is Sophomore Year, the 1975-76 season. He averaged 22.1 ppg and 6.4 rpg which was 2nd best.

1976-77 season Larry averaged a little more at 22.9 ppg and 6.5 rpg again 2nd on the team.

His senior year ’77-’78 his average dropped a little to 20.6 ppg as Sam Clancy arrived on campus and Larry got a few less shots with Sam averaging 14 ppg. Larry’s rpg dipped a little to with 5.2 rpg as Clancy ripped down over 12 rpg.

As you can see Larry Harris was a very consistent scorer and rebounder and I consider him to be among Pitt’s top players ever.

Comment by Emel 06.21.14 @ 12:04 pm

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