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June 23, 2014

Pro-Am Starts Tonight

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 6:44 am

The Pittsburgh Summer Pro-Am kicks off tonight.

There are seven teams. Only one lacks any Pitt players — past or present. Five of the other squads has at least one key Pitt player who will be scrutinized or have hopes projected on them.

Joseph Uchebo is on one squad, and given the way he looked afraid to run in the limited time last year, I have a great deal of curiosity as to how he will look.

Chris Jones and Jamel Artis are teamed up on another. Jones was hampered by a hand injury. If he is healthy, he could play significant time in the role that Lamar Patterson had. I am hoping Jamel Artis is working more on his inside game, not just looking to shoot from outside.

Josh Newkirk and Derrick Randall (yes, he is still at Pitt) are on another squad.

Sheldon Jeter will have to fight for his playing time when the big boys are in town. He’s on the alumni team with John DeGroat, Chevy Troutman and even Lance Jeter. Incoming freshman Cameron Johnson is also on the squad — which is probably safer for him from a physical standpoint. That will be a brutally physical team.





I like the idea of the players from the schools being split up. (Pitt will have a chance to gel in August when they tour Jamaica.)

There is reason to watch just about every game.

Comment by wbb 06.23.14 @ 7:17 am

I want to see a healthy Uchebo playing to his full potential. His performance this season will be key to a successful season for the Panthers.

On an off thread note, one of our few defensive recruits for 2015 so far in this class, Kraig Howe, gives his insights on why he picked Pitt to play his college ball in the link below. It was very interesting listening to his comments regarding the coaching staff, especially our new strength coach. Many have dissed on Ross Kolodziej because of his lack of formal education and/or certifications, suggesting that he is unqualified for the position. Howe apparently liked what Ross was feeding him during his Pitt visits however and it seemed to be a reason for him committing to Pitt.

In light of the fact that the Pitt Iron Works is about to double in size and become a state of the art facility, it all sounds good for the program to me. Personally I think that Kolodziej’s “practical” training and experience in his years in the NFL trumps any lack of formal education that his detractors use as a basis for their ridicule. I appreciate the fact that the players like the guy and that they will work hard for him to reach their full potential.

The more I learn about the way HCPC is putting this program back together, the more I like his methodology. Slow and steady wins the race often times over the long haul and personally, I think that Chryst has dedicated himself to this University for the long haul. Hail to Pitt.

link to pittsburgh.rivals.com

Comment by Dr. Tom 06.23.14 @ 7:41 am

Thanks Dr Tom, he is a very mature and thoughtful young man. Definitely the kind of guy that you want on your team.

I am looking forward to Boubacar Aw’s report on the games tonight. Interested in what guys stand out. Interested in Uchebo, Randall, Jones and Jeter in particular.

Hate the Pittsburgh papers and their lack of coverage. Makes it worse that they write articles worshiping Franklin and they have not played a game. Does he still use co-eds in the recruiting process?

From the last thread, how many more kids got abused because those men were more interested in their careers than doing the right thing, including Corbett? PSU Fans complain about the NCAA, but when will justice really be served to those that looked the other way?

Comment by gc 06.23.14 @ 8:25 am

Dixon was on ESPN yesterday morning talking about academics and Tom Izzo popped off and disagreed with JD’s comments. Izzo was real critical of what JD said and it seemed a little aggressive for such a format. I don’t think these two are buddies.

Comment by spiritofsection22 06.23.14 @ 9:19 am

@sos22, what were their angles, if you remember??

Comment by Dan 06.23.14 @ 9:36 am

Dixon said that there was a trust between the the college professors and himself. And Izzo disgareed, stating basically that academia has this notion that college coaches do not care about athletes’ classwork. (There seemed a consensus about the entire panel that coaches anymore cannot talk directly to the college professors because it has the appearance of inpropriety .. but Seth Greenberg pointed out the the athletic advisors act as a liasion.) My thought is that if the college professors don’t trust the coaches, there must be a reason.

Jamie later pointed out that he has a team goal of a 3.0 GPA, and that the biggest motivator is peer pressure among the teammates, putting the pressure on any one of the players that may be keeping the cumlative GPA down. Based on the fact that Pitt BB did very well academically this past season, it appears to be effective

Comment by wbb 06.23.14 @ 9:57 am

sos22

i saw that too. and agree that it was pretty over aggressive for a round table format.

in a nutshell, they were talking about how coaches aren’t allowed to talk to or interact with professors (or as izzo kept saying, “profs”) at the university. izzo was saying it was because there is no trust between the academic side and the athletic side. jamie said that he disagreed and that at pitt there is a lot of trust between the sides via the provost and academic adviser. it was kinda funny because izzo went off and came off like a fool. the way he got aggressive almost over the topic kinda reinforce to me how coaches shouldn’t be trusted with academics a la joe pa.

Comment by usd121 06.23.14 @ 10:04 am

sos22 – I saw that interview. Dixon certainly handled himself in a more mature and professional manner than Izzo. I always liked Izzo and do appreciate his openness, but he handled that like a whiny baby. As far as their points, I have no problem with either approach. Izzo preferred to be more involved in player academics but that’s because he has a background in education. In contrast, Dixon’s approach to delegate more to specialists is probably a better administratively. If I were a coach, I’d prefer to delegate more, ala JD.

Comment by 1618mt 06.23.14 @ 10:06 am

JD was fine with coaches not being permitted to speak to professors on the players behalf. He felt there was trust between the coach and the University on academics. Izzo was adamant that it was a lack of trust that caused the rule and felt that if we was going to be accountable for the players academic success he should have access to the professors giving the grades. Izzo also also through in some crap about the Big 10 schools as if they are held to a higher standard. Jamie looked a little surprised by Izzo’s comments and kind of babbled a bit in his retort. The long and short of it is Jamie was upstaged by Izzo. The reality is Pitt has a glowing academic record in hoops, probably way better than MSU.

Comment by spiritofsection22 06.23.14 @ 10:07 am

Wow, all 4 people who actually watched that stupid show are Blatherites.

Comment by spiritofsection22 06.23.14 @ 10:10 am

The real under lying question is what the hell was going on at UNC. They are supposed to have such a great academic institution but they were allowing athletes to matriculate without being taught anything. What was Roy Williams doing and what did he know. How could it have happened without his involvement. So far he has denied any knowledge but something doesn’t add up here.

Comment by spiritofsection22 06.23.14 @ 10:25 am

sos22, we are probably the 4 Blatherites who weren’t suffering from a Sunday morning hangover

Comment by wbb 06.23.14 @ 11:24 am

sos22 – you’re right about the trust issue being key to the discussion, I forgot to include that, but it’s all related to the delegation issue of course. It’s also true that JD was taken off guard, but disagree on your upstaging comment. As I said, Izzo came across as an immature baby, not sure who that impresses. Not me.

Comment by 1618mt 06.23.14 @ 11:30 am

Again, I liked the part later on what JD said about teammate peer pressure concerning the GPA. And it is apparently working.

Comment by wbb 06.23.14 @ 11:32 am

I go with JD because his results speak for themselves. At Pitt us engineers had to take a physics course and the physics professor loved the physics majors but us engineers were looked at as second rate.

The O’Bannon trial will totally reshape college athletics. The colleges have been using the athletes as money makers. The colleges better change as to where the money goes.

Comment by Frank MD 06.23.14 @ 12:01 pm

I could be wrong, but what I’m picking up sounds like Izzo was talking about college basketball in general, and Jamie was talking about his personal situation????????

Yay, Nay??

Comment by Dan 06.23.14 @ 12:04 pm

Dan, it didn’t seem to turn out that way. JD seemed to be talking about his own situation, and Izzo retorted wiht what appeared to be a generality …. and then there was no further distiction made. Much of the talk was focused about the seperation between the coaches and academics.

Comment by wbb 06.23.14 @ 12:19 pm

Back to the topic of this blog … here are 5 things to watch out for in the Summer leasgue. BTW, this is the 2nd article this guy wrote about Young this week, and he seemed to forget about Young playing with a broken bone in his back the last 2 1/2 months of last season. If he is healthy, he will be more agressive.

link to cardiachill.com

Comment by wbb 06.23.14 @ 12:30 pm

I came away feeling Izzo made it a debate while the rest of the coaches were just trying to add their perspective. I can understand where some might have thought JD came across better but it struck me the other way. It wasn’t friendly chat however and I was surprised to see Jamie put on the defensive. He did take it well and his peer pressure within the program formula made sense. Like I said though it only mattered to the half a dozen people who saw it.

Comment by spiritofsection22 06.23.14 @ 12:32 pm

We probably have a pretty good team GPA due to the fact we’re not bringing in the real primadonna’s that everyone bends the rules and bends over backwards for. For the most part. The ones that sometimes aren’t even really academically qualified to be in college.

Didn’t see the show, but I’m sure Calipari and Huckleberry Hound weren’t on it.

ESPN likes to pretend it’s into real journalism while they are the ones that have helped create this giant money machine for the colleges further corrupting them and of course made billions for themselves.

Comment by Emel 06.23.14 @ 12:41 pm

Here is tweet from Pantherlair:
Chris Peak @PantherLair @emptynetters Pitt writers and Pens writers should form a support group, er, club. Call it Coaching Hires And Odd Searches. CHAOS for short

It appears that the Penguins are in the middle what Steve P pulled back in 2010 … firing a coach with no set plan to replace him. Now, they are even getting rejected by minor league coaches. And to think, the Pens are regarded as one the of the best franchises with talented players … go figure!

The Pens lost in a 7 game series to the NHL runner-up this year, and lost in conference finals last year … but apparently thought they could do better, yet with no replacement plan.

This is like a war … it’s much easier to start than to end. Likewise, you can easily fire someone, but you also have to replace him.

Comment by wbb 06.23.14 @ 12:45 pm

another off-topic link that many here may find interesting:

link to pitt.247sports.com

Comment by wbb 06.23.14 @ 12:52 pm

Emel, I think the only reason they had the show was because what is going on at UNC. They wanted to make the point that coaches shouldn’t be held accountable for academics. Lord forbid a coach like Coach Roy would get in trouble because his players don’t get an education.

Comment by spiritofsection22 06.23.14 @ 1:16 pm

So in effect ESPN want to offer ‘alibis’ or excuses for the coaches.

Who after they get fired for various shady things they do in college ,they hire on ESPN for big bucks, like Bruce Pearl the last couple years.

Now he’s back coaching at Auburn. Great place for him !

Comment by Emel 06.23.14 @ 1:47 pm

Emel, Not for “the” coaches, For coaches that they choose to defend. Some are part of the ESPN clique and some aren’t. I think Coach K could get away with murder at Duke and they would defend him. I wonder how many Paterno like skeletons are buried in athletic closets across America? College sports have always had a smelly underbelly, but don’t count on the media to uncover it. They are making bank on the status quo, and won’t rock the boat. If they can bypass education at UNC it can happen anywhere and probably does.

Comment by spiritofsection22 06.23.14 @ 2:03 pm

Well you know it does.

As for ‘the’ coaches. Some of them have ‘brands’ like some of the various basketball programs.

And ESPN is going to protect those ‘brands’.

As they say, money corrupts everything and that goes all the way down to even AAU.

Comment by Emel 06.23.14 @ 2:26 pm

The Pedo-Gazette and the Trib are doing their best to help resuscitate the Pedo State ‘brand’.

Guess it’s a prerequisite that the Charlatan’s pic appears on EVERY article concerning PITT.

link to triblive.com

Comment by Emel 06.23.14 @ 2:35 pm

Somebody has it in for us on this website, cause some of this is OLD NEWS :

6/23/2014 – 2014 PG Alex Robinson (6-1, 175, 4*) | Overall Rank: 56 | Position Rank: 13 committed to Texas A&M. – Per Scout
6/23/2014 – 2014 PF Josh Martin (6-8, 220, 3*) | Position Rank: 39 has trimmed his list, and removed Pittsburgh from consideration. – Per Scout
6/23/2014 – 2014 PF Bonzie Colson, Jr. (6-7, 220, 3.3*) | Overall Rank: 153 | Position Rank: 36 has trimmed his list, and removed Pittsburgh from consideration. – Per Scout
6/23/2014 – 2014 SG Detrick Mostella (6-3, 175, 4*) | Overall Rank: 84 | Position Rank: 37 has trimmed his list, and removed Pittsburgh from consideration. – Per Scout
6/23/2014 – 2014 SG Elijah Stewart (6-5, 180, 4*) | Overall Rank: 64 | Position Rank: 12 has trimmed his list, and removed Pittsburgh from consideration. – Per Scout
6/23/2014 – 2014 SG Isaiah Whitehead (6-4, 205, 5*) | Overall Rank: 15 | Position Rank: 3 has trimmed his list, and removed Pittsburgh from consideration. – Per Scout
6/23/2014 – 2015 PF Dererk Pardon (6-8, 215, 3*) has trimmed his list, and removed Pittsburgh from consideration. – Per Scout
6/22/2014 – JUCO PF Justin Jamison (6-9, 260, 2*) has trimmed his list, and removed Pittsburgh from consideration. – Per Scout
6/22/2014 – 2014 SG Christian Wilson (6-2, 180, 2*) has trimmed his list, and removed Pittsburgh from consideration. – Per Scout
6/22/2014 – 2014 PG Robert Cartwright (6-3, 168, 4*) | Overall Rank: 71 | Position Rank: 18 has trimmed his list, and removed Pittsburgh from consideration. – Per Scout

Or they didn’t like JD’s interview over the weekend. :-)

Comment by Emel 06.23.14 @ 3:12 pm

It’s Monday again and another week has passed without Frankcan. Sure hope he just broke his computer or got tired of the site. In other words I sure hope he is OK. Hell he finally figured out how to capitalize and use punctuation, then he disappears.

Comment by spiritofsection22 06.23.14 @ 4:23 pm

Yea and there’s been lots of recruiting news on football and that was FRankCan’s specialty.

Hope is alright as well.

Comment by Emel 06.23.14 @ 5:14 pm

Example of how the Pedo-Gazette will slant a story line for Pedo State.

Just heard on the radio, which is a national radio network the Pedo State news today.

The gist of their quick report was there was a 3 year lag in the investigation of PedoGate.

So this is how the Byline was titled on the Pedo-Gazette:

“Sandusky report finds no sign of politics in handling of investigation”.

MSN’s byline (MSN of course isn’t invested in nor employs Pedo State ppl in high positions)

“Official report into Sandusky case finds ‘inexplicable delays'”.

3 years is a long time, and Sandusky got his claws upon a few more kids while they dawdled. And of course the dawdling of the investigation just by chance allowed JoePedo to reach 400 wins.

You don’t think do you…….

Comment by Emel 06.23.14 @ 5:25 pm

Several Pennsylvania prosecutors said the review reeked of politics. “To us, career professionals who investigated and prosecuted this case, the report was clearly born of political opportunism and posturing,” they wrote in an addendum.

Corbett, a Republican, has struggled with poor approval ratings and is seen as a highly vulnerable incumbent.

Penn State’s former president, former athletic director and former vice president face charges including endangering the welfare of children, obstruction of justice and criminal conspiracy.

Comment by Emel 06.23.14 @ 5:44 pm

The scum of the earth. Lord have mercy on this slime when they come face to face. These people make me ashamed to be a human being.

Comment by spiritofsection22 06.23.14 @ 6:22 pm

Frank Can must have worked for Lois Lerner and his computer crashed.

As for ESPN, I must agree with Emel. ESPN protects their brands. UNC hoops is one of their brands.

I wonder if the cheating went on at say South Florida or say, Minnesota? Would ESPN have a stake in this scandal for the protection of Bulls football? Gopher football??

Comment by Tallahassee Panther 06.23.14 @ 6:29 pm

If what happened at UNC happened at Pitt we would be on probation and Dixon would be out of work.

Comment by spiritofsection22 06.23.14 @ 6:37 pm

I think, in this case, the nCAA with the help of UNC alum, John Swofford, is glossing over this. To its benefit, it brought down heavyweights USC and OSU, and lowered the boom on Ped St (no-brainer), yet I think it would be a disgrace for 2 NCAA title teams to vacate its championships.

You know, in this age, when the vast majority of players jump at the chance to go pro, take a look at both the 05 and especially 09 Tarheel teams and just how many players decided to stay. It just didn’t make any sense. But when classes and grades wee made easy, and God knows how many other perks they were getting (probably by the boosters), it starts to make some sense

Comment by wbb 06.23.14 @ 7:46 pm

Notes/Opinions from Montour Summer League

•The brand new Montour facility is GORGEOUS, state of the art. It even has a snack bar, run by the dance team. If it only had a bar, it would be perfect. The other Intermediate gym is the old Montour High School gym, I believe. The two gyms are close enough that it is easy to walk between them.

•Coaches Dixon and Knight were in attendance. Kevin Gorman, from the Trib, was there and interviewed Dixon and Michael Young. Both Maverick and Ron Rowan were there too.

•In the first game, Derrick Randall dominated the first half. He looked strong, active and grabbed a bunch of boards. He even looked quick as he scored going to the hoop. Certainly having walk on, Aron Nwanko, guarding him didn’t hurt. I can tell why Jamie is looking the other way on his DUI, drug charges. As of right now, Randall is the best option at center.

•I wish the news on Uchebo were better. While better than last season, he still looks hobbled. He wasn’t wearing a brace or a sleeve on his knee. But he has no lift or strength in his legs, he doesn’t get off the ground. He lost the opening tip to Sheldon Jeter. He had a pretty clear opportunity to block one of Jeter’s shots and never even got off the floor. He had a pretty easy opportunity for a dunk and layed it off the glass.

•Michael Young looked skinny, but healthy. I had heard somewhere that he lost 15lbs. It certainly looks like he did. He played well, but mostly from the perimeter. He acted as if he were allergic to the paint. He shot, and made, a bunch of outside shots. He did have a few dunks, all of cuts or drives to the hoop. He never posted up or looked to attack the boards.

•Jamel Artis is going to be tough to keep out of the starting lineup. He looked quick, aggressive and strong. He’s a talented player.

•Nolan Kressler, the kid who went to Cornell and transfered to Vandy after reportedly considering Pitt, is a much better basketball player than Chris Jones, period. He has a smooth, quick, pure jump shot. He has a nice handle and can get to the hole. He certainly would have been a nice addition to Pitt’s team. His shooting alone would made him valuable. Jones looks to be healthy and strong. But he just isn’t quite there as a hooper. He missed some easy shots, he doesn’t quite get the basket quick enough. He is not a viable Patterson replacement, nowhere near the game.

•Sheldon Jeter is long, atheltic and he has a nice jumper (although he was slightly off tonight), not text book but effective. He is not a threat to beat out a healthy Durand Johnson, but will help Pitt this season. D. Johnson was there, he looked good. No noticeable limp. He hit a bunch of jumpers from out of bounds on the baseline. Jumper looked good. Encouraging to see him look so good only a few months removed from Surgery.

•Cameron Johnson stole the show tonight. He is a legit 6’7” and plays like a guard, with a good handle and good quickness. He scored 20 in the first half of his game. He knocked down a bunch of threes, made a bunch of buckets on the break. Even though he looks like he’s 12 years old, he looked like he belonged. Pitt may have found a diamond in the rough, especially if he grows another inch or two and adds some muscle to he frame, which absolutely looks possible. He probably won’t help this year, but he oozes potential. On the flip side, Ryan Luther looked a little over-matched athletically.

I’ll probably go back wednesday. Still looking for a bar close by……..

Comment by boubacar aw 06.23.14 @ 9:36 pm

Sorry…I meant Nolan “Cressler”, not Kressler, brain cramp. I really should start to proof read before I hit Submit. And yes, I am sober, unfortunately.

Comment by boubacar aw 06.23.14 @ 9:43 pm

Thanks, boubacar

Comment by steve1 06.24.14 @ 5:37 am

boubacar, thanks for the report. It is very much appreciated.

Comment by Howard 06.24.14 @ 5:39 am

Boubacar mentioned that Gorman was there interviewing people. He wrote a nice article about Jeter:

link to triblive.com

Comment by Howard 06.24.14 @ 5:46 am

Thanks a bunch Boubacar.

Note that one reason Young may have been on the perimeter too much last night was that his point guard, James Robinson, was in New Jersey attending a Nike Camp for point guards.

Comment by wbb 06.24.14 @ 6:26 am

Thanks for the report Boubacar.

Comment by spiritofsection22 06.24.14 @ 10:43 am

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