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February 15, 2016

Dixon Stuck?

Filed under: ACC,Basketball,Dixon — Justin @ 3:37 pm

I had a thought I posted about on twitter that I wanted to elaborate a bit on but I’ll start with a few caveats. First, Jamie Dixon is a great coach and the odds are whenever he’s replaced the new coach probably won’t be on his level. Second, I do not advocate firing Dixon; he has earned the right to try and get this program back to where it was a few years ago.

But, do I think he will turn it around? Doubtful.

My thought is this: coaches, with a few exceptions, have a limit on how long they can succeed in one place. At a certain point, a coach makes a critical mistake he can’t overcome or the situation changes and he can’t adapt enough. He gets stuck in a situation where he can’t figure out what he needs to change to right the ship. For our beloved Jamie Dixon, that situation is likely a combination of recruiting and assistant coaches.

I was talking to a fellow Pitt fan about this and it hit me that Dixon’s struggles right now remind me of Andy Reid with the Philadelphia Eagles. No objective person could deny he’s a great NFL head coach. He has his flaws (notably clock management) but his resume speaks for itself. After a long time with the Eagles, he made a series of mistakes he couldn’t overcome.

I won’t dig into all of those mistakes, but failing to replace the contributions of the late Jim Johnson and Donovan McNabb are the two main culprits. The mistakes snowballed to the point where it didn’t appear as if Reid had a solution. While he’s a great coach, he couldn’t fix the situation and needed a change of scenery. Now with the Chiefs, he led them to their first playoff victory since 1993 in his second season at the helm.

The Eagles went big with their replacement, Chip Kelly, and ended up firing him after only two seasons. Kelly is not as good of a coach as Reid, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Eagles were right to move on from him. They were in a hole and Reid was not the man to dig them out.

As of right now, Dixon is in the 90th percentile of coaches in terms of tenure at one school, 34/351 on this slightly outdated list. In college football, only 3/128 would have a longer tenure (again, outdated list since it includes Beamer, Pinkel, and Richt). NFL? There are only two: Belichick and Marvin Lewis. NBA and MLB each have one. NHL has zero. Dixon is one of the longest tenured coaches in major American sports.

College basketball is the exception with coaches who can succeed over a long period of time, but that doesn’t change the fact that most coaches in any sport eventually hit a rough spot they can’t overcome. Basketball seems to be unique in that regard, but a lot of the coaches with more time at one school than Dixon also don’t have the same level of expectations. Central Connecticut, Presbyterian, Austin Peay, South Dakota State, and numerous others would have no issues with what Pitt has accomplished the past few years. Programs like Duke, ARCHRIVAL ORANGE, Louisville, Michigan State, and UNC are exceptions, not rules.

What does that mean in terms of fixing the problem? I see two solutions:

1) Give Dixon everything he needs to build the program back up until it’s blatantly obvious he’s not the man to do it. If/when it gets to that point, fire him.

2) Lower our expectations for the program.

You shouldn’t fire a great coach while doubt remains. I’d love to see my two year old son in the Oakland Zoo as college student watching a Dixon-led team (I have a hair less than seven months to teach him to chant Penn State sucks). There’s still an opportunity with different assistants and a new recruiting plan that we could be rooting for a Pitt team to make a run in the NCAA tournament instead of hoping to just make it in and maybe win the first game. If in two or three years that still hasn’t happened, we have a choice. Pitt can fire him and likely get an inferior coach to replace him or everyone can lower our expectations.

It’s not an easy decision. As I stated above, I do not advocate firing Dixon at all. There’s still a chance he can get the job done. Give him two or three more years with all of the resources he needs. At that point Scott Barnes will have to decide on whether or not an above-average team is acceptable.

Is an above-average program acceptable to you?





No… He deserves fired. Most schools who demand a winner would can his ass. Do we not demand a winner? That is the conversation. We are just happy with good kids that don’t get in trouble. It is damn near embarrassing at this point. I’d offer him 1/2 his contract and let him take another job. I’d give him by April 30th to do so or be fired.

Unless he shits gold the program will be a loser for another 2-3 years at least.

Then we are shitty for 8 of last 10 years.

Good Luck Jamie… No school would offer him more than 1.3M a year after becoming irrelevant.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.15.16 @ 3:43 pm

I just can’t understand why we are unable to recruit any “decent” big men over 6′-10″. I’m not asking for superstars, just big bodies with respectable skills. I see them all over college basketball in inferior conferences and teams and I don’t get how we’re unable to bring any here. The only one in a long time would be Steven Adams, who of course was in the superstar category. We seem to excel bringing power forwards and point guards.

Comment by Dave 02.15.16 @ 3:56 pm

Upitt – most schools wouldn’t have let an outgoing AD pass out a 10 year golden parachute that makes it nearly impossible to fire him.

Tough to pay Dixon $3M annually and still afford a replacement.

Comment by BostonsCommon 02.15.16 @ 3:57 pm

I wanted to elaborate a bit on but I’ll start with a few caveats. First, Jamie Dixon is a great coach
——————

How is Dixon a “great coach”.. When he’s only average at best.. At one of the most important aspects of his job which recruiting…

Comment by NickC 02.15.16 @ 4:04 pm

To answer a question with a question, what are the objective reasons that Pitt needs to be satisfied with just being better than average? They play in an elite conference, the school has an outstanding reputation academically, and the team plays in a great venue.

Why do we have such a difficult time getting the outstanding players to commit to playing at Pittsburgh? Is it because we play by the rules and the other schools do not? Is it because we need to attract better recruiters and assistant coaches? Is it because of monetary restrictions within the basketball budget? Is it because the educational requirements are more stringent than other schools? Is it because the current coaching staff is not targeting the elite players?

As I alluded to in an earlier post, Jamie Dixon did not suddenly forget how to coach. I think all of us who played competitive sports at some time stepped onto a field of play and realized immediately that their team just did not matchup athletically with the team they were going to be playing. And all of the coaching in the world was not going to change the eventual outcome of that contest.

For the program to become more then just “better than average,” the people in charge have to figure out what the problem is and fix it. There will be no major improvement until they get a higher quality of athlete playing here.

Comment by doczac 02.15.16 @ 4:16 pm

While I agree that Jamie did great things for Pitt Basketball, how great is a coach that kids don’t want to play for?

After the few schools that attract kids because of their basketball history, it gets down to, can you see yourself playing for this coach for years?

For whatever reason elite players are not coming to Pitt.

I think that is where the Andy Reid analogy breaks down. There is a draft in the NFL, it is a level playing field.

No doubt Jamie has probably accomplished more with less talent than almost anyone. Primarily because of his system, when the kids bought into it and fit in it.

For many reasons it has not worked for some time.

I certainly hope they choose option 1 over option 2.

UPitt’s option 3. is probably not going to happen this year. Although, I think it may get discussed.

Comment by gc 02.15.16 @ 4:19 pm

Maybe Mike Haywood is available to coach hoops? Pitt, in a down year, is also receiving votes category in the poll.

Comment by Kazak 02.15.16 @ 4:20 pm

Excellent questions DOCZAC

Comment by gc 02.15.16 @ 4:22 pm

His stubborn use of JR is mind blowing. That alone should get him shit canned. Give Wilson some real court time and stop wasting time with JR. His stat lines are horrible. Dixon sat MY when he should be sitting JR.

Comment by Pittastic 02.15.16 @ 4:32 pm

Why do we have such a difficult time getting the outstanding players to commit to playing at Pittsburgh? — doczac

Elite-talent kids do not want to play slog ball. Which leaves one alternative: recruit kids who mature and get dramatically better as players within the system. And that takes a very special kind of talent spotting (see: Izzo and Bennett, and Mich State football). Pitt used to be able to do that (especially with the NYC pipeline), but those days are gone, long gone.

Comment by PetePitt73 02.15.16 @ 4:36 pm

I think there is another unknown. Jamie’s style worked very well in the old Big East, not as much in the NCAA’s. The unknown is twofold, would Jamie’s old style work in the ACC, or would Jamie be able to adapt styles better suited to the ACC?
Better players would be irrelevant if neither is true.

Comment by gc 02.15.16 @ 4:37 pm

Why do I keep hearing from people the “Dixon has earned the right..” to take 3M a year from Pitt for X number of years no matter how much he stinks?

I see good CEO’s replaced, NFL & NHL coaches who have won championships replaced, MLB managers who have won World Series replaced….but Dixon is somehow too great to replace….

Then you say “But, do I think he will turn it around? Doubtful.” So Pitt should still pay him 3M a year anyway? Some people are sure free with other people’s big bucks…

Dixon could coach for another 40 years and he still won’t be able to recruit. Recruiting takes salesmanship. Maybe Emel will come back for a post or two to help better explain this…

IMO Dixon can’t evaluate talent well either. That’s 2/3 of being a coach, and it at the present doesn’t make Dixon a great coach.

I have endured his being out coached to a fault in March for years too….and many times from lesser schools like Pacific, Kent St., Wichita St., Butler, Xavier, Bradley, etc. A ‘great coach’ would at least have one win against a higher seeded opponent in the NCAA’s. Dixon has zero.

An above average program is acceptable to me, but that won’t happen for Dixon now in the ACC with his current rep among young players. Also, I would like to root for a team that at least has a chance to recruit a great HS player here. That’s a zero chance for Dixon.

Pitt FB will be above average, but I’m excited because from time to time I can watch great players play here.

Comment by Jackagain 02.15.16 @ 4:40 pm

Beating Duke at the Garden seems like Eons ago.

Comment by Pittastic 02.15.16 @ 4:40 pm

I watch great coaches who stand up 5-10 times a game.

Dixon runs around like a dork screaming. No one listens to him it is obvious.

He coaches a level of ball that is not exciting.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.15.16 @ 4:41 pm

My opinion, obviously some, maybe many, will disagree, is that Jamie is a very good basketball coach, and a lot of peers and analysts would say the same. But the problem is recruiting, and that’s not something new. Even much better teams weren’t filled with elite recruits. Blair was the best of all, but he was local, and mix in a few foreigners (one that he had a special relationship with, another a bit of a wuss), and there we have it. His prior success was built on getting a certain type of player, which he has not gotten recently. In other words, the only way to fix the problem and keep Jamie is to get him recruiting support. Quite frankly, my question would be: Is the administration going to be active in supporting this to make it happen?

Comment by 1618mt 02.15.16 @ 4:42 pm

And more thing, any power 5 school with at least a decent basketball reputation (ex., not name Penn St. or Nebraska) CAN win a national championship in basketball. There are only 5 starters and 7-8 key players per team, all you need is the right coach. So in my opinion, that’s what the expectation should be- a serious run at that.

Comment by 1618mt 02.15.16 @ 4:44 pm

The sick part is these tools like Dokish swing off Dixon’s sack and the cattle listen to him like his opinion is special.

You perform you earn the money and all is good.

You don’t and you get your ass canned. Nothing good comes from keeping someone around you don’t want.

A good AD could call 5-10 of the Top Donors and tell them we need to raise 5-8M to buy out Dixon. That is chump change.

Tell them a list of who you want to bring in to do so.

Dixon won’t turn down 8M.

He wears cheap ass suits and looks like a humble guy. He can take over SMU or TCU and make 1.3 a year and drink Shinerbock.

3 years ago I said he deserved to be fired. I was told I was crazy. I would of saved us 3 years of shit.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.15.16 @ 4:50 pm

I just can’t understand why we are unable to recruit any “decent” big men over 6?-10?. I’m not asking for superstars, just big bodies with respectable skills. I see them all over college basketball in inferior conferences and teams and I don’t get how we’re unable to bring any here. The only one in a long time would be Steven Adams, who of course was in the superstar category. We seem to excel bringing power forwards and point guards.
Comment by Dave 02.15.16 @ 3:56 pm

My brother & I have been wondering that since Pacific cleaned Dixon’s clock back in 2005 with a decent center. As for Adams, Dixon was lucky that a former teammate of his who was his coach hand delivered Adams to Dixon. No one else had ever heard of the kid.

Good post gc @ 4:19 pm, and another good point Pittastic about benching JR instead of MY, his best player. What a message to send to the team and future recruits. All that micromanaging and ranting on the sideline may be making Dixon crazy….I’m sure it’s wearing thin on his players too.

As for slogball…how well did Virginia do in the NCAA’s last year? This year I’ll be watching them and rooting for them too…but…

Comment by Jackagain 02.15.16 @ 4:52 pm

So part of being a good coach is recruiting. Probably 70% of it.

So who gives 2 shits about X’s and O’s. I’m not even convinced he is that good but even if you think it.

I could beat Dixon if I recruited 3-6 Studs.

It is about talent.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.15.16 @ 4:58 pm

Blair wanted to play close to home and he was undersized for the position so few top programs wanted him. He was the Aaron Donald of BB. Like Adams he was an easy get for Dixon. They were both sold almost before being recruited. For Adams it was his local coach who talked him into playing for Dixon.

Most of Dixon’s good to great players were recruited by assistants.

Comment by Jackagain 02.15.16 @ 4:59 pm

BTW Justin, it’s Pitt and the fans who are stuck, not Dixon….thanks to the borderline criminal contract his pals Nordy & Cyanide drew up before heading off to the sunset….

Comment by Jackagain 02.15.16 @ 5:10 pm

Jack – Great Point.

I think there are photos of Jamie, JR, Cyanide Steve and a Midget Stripper somewhere. Only logical solution to how any of them have a job or start.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.15.16 @ 5:15 pm

We need guards too, not just centers. We have not had a good point guard and shooting guard in 5-6 years. You cannot win in today’s game without good guards.

Comment by Rayhpgh 02.15.16 @ 5:16 pm

Funny thing when I look at this coaching staff which reminds me of our former football coach PC, who on this staff has he gone out and gotten that he hasn’t had direct ties with? Brandon Knight, loved him as a player, has recruited 0 stars and we have only seen our guard play continue to spiral downwards since he was brought onto the staff, etc.

Comment by tedsptman 02.15.16 @ 5:18 pm

Worrisome is the comment: We got outplayed in every facet of the game.
Didn’t he say this after NCSt.
Didn’t he say this after UVA.
I see a pattern. Duh.

And not too sound like a bigger ass than I usually am, but does anyone know the true details of his contract?
Length?
Buy-out?

If in fact it is for a decade, that is on the Board of trustees and not just Norden-twit and Smiley. They were chicken-shit that he was going to bolt and they gave him the keys to the kingdom.
Bad, bad move…if it is true.

Comment by Gasman 02.15.16 @ 5:19 pm

Did Smug give him this deal after he made his only Elite Eight???? LOL….. If that was the case then Archie Miller would have a 50 year contract.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.15.16 @ 5:25 pm

UPitt, he got the extension in March of 2013 soon after getting waxed by lesser seed Wichita State.

link to cbssports.com

Comment by Jackagain 02.15.16 @ 5:32 pm

Jamie is utterly dead on the recruiting trail. When Khem Burch left, he and his posse just ripped Dixon in public and in the AAU. It has gotten worse with others like Uchebo et al.
Players want to show off individuality and Jamie sniffles that in favor of a system. Word is out and has been out on Jamie.
Pitt is forever done on the recruiting trail as long as he is coach. Liked the Andy Reid analogy but I’ve seen it umpteen times in the corporate world.

Exceptions rule like at Duke but Coach K went away from the 1-4 offense to the Flex (NBA style) just to attract top notch talent. It is a freer sysrem that allows individual talent to shine

While a lessor part of the problem, Dixon uses the same system, same plays and same inbound plays he’s used for 10 years. He thinks it’s like the old Green Bay Sweep… Unstoppable no matter who the players are…. But players and coaches are so smart today. It’s just one more knock on Dixon on the recruiting trail.

Comment by Dan 72 02.15.16 @ 5:37 pm

Chuck Noll was a great coach (no, I won’t say ‘too’), but as Terry Bradshaw pointed out in the mid 80’s, the game had passed him by.

If the Rooney’s can show Noll the door for being stagnant like they did in the late 80’s, then Pitt can get rid of Dixon now without apologies. Anyone care to compare Noll’s post season record to Dixon’s?

Comment by Jackagain 02.15.16 @ 5:46 pm

Thanks Jack!!

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.15.16 @ 5:47 pm

And the first Vegas line on tomorrow night’s loss has Pitt -11
or favored by 11 for those who don’t gamble.

I’ll tell you this. Wake plays with a ton of heart!!

Comment by Dan 72 02.15.16 @ 5:49 pm

Some on mentioned Khem Xavier Birch is a Canadian professional basketball player who currently plays for U?ak Sportif of the Turkish Basketball Super League. He played college basketball at Pittsburgh and UNLV before going undrafted in the 2014 NBA draft.
In looking back at Paul Evans, at the end he could not get along with his players. I remember at one game he crouched down to face Bobby Knight? (6’10” Center McDonald AA) and Knight slapped Coach’s hand away. Evans set the last play before the half for Knight, which he missed. Anyways my point, I think at the end it is obvious, when the coach disses the players and the players just can’t do what coach wants. Unfortunately, I think Jamie is there. Unlike Evans he will land on his feet and get a great job some where else. I don’t think he will any trouble finding some thing good.
Pitt players ALWAYS played to the end, just could not get it done. Speaking of JR I think there would be a lot D1 teams be glad to have him. Is he super elite no, but who is? .

Comment by pittlc 02.15.16 @ 5:57 pm

Give Dixon what he needs
Lower expectations

What Dixon needs is his ASS fired. Better assistants wont help. The problem is HIM. And he aint about to change.

I expect a $3M dollar coach to reach elite 8’s each year. Lower my expectation. Bull Fuckin Shit.

My solution is FIRE HIS ASS!!
Not in 2 years but after THIS Year
Replace with a $5M dollar coach
Pitt will have no trouble finding a coach well worth those G’s

Comment by TX Panther 02.15.16 @ 6:01 pm

How much has Dixon’s recruiting been hurt by the increased importance of AAU teams and the sneaker companies and his reported unwillingness to play their games?

Comment by Shaef 02.15.16 @ 6:02 pm

I like Shiner Bock UPitt. Dont be dissin the common man beer now.

Comment by TX Panther 02.15.16 @ 6:05 pm

LOL – A lot of teams wanting JR.

Yes, You are right. Gannon, Cal U, West Virginia State, Frostburg State, Edinboro….

No one in the ACC as every PG beats him in every game.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.15.16 @ 6:07 pm

3M is a lot of mula for the results PITT has been getting the last 4 years.

Comment by Pittastic 02.15.16 @ 6:07 pm

TX – I love Tito’s!!!

Let’s grab some lunch this week dude..

mehalovich@hotmail.com

Email me.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.15.16 @ 6:08 pm

Upitt,
We have both been on the same page it’s a shame it’s gotten this bad, I never thought pitt basketball would get to this point

I remember being so gitty and pumped for big games, I now watch ALOT of these games with zero emotion!

Something needs to happen fast, the PETE is already a shell of itself and the fans are making a statement by not showing up

Pitt had a great thing going and then control freak, stubborn ass Dixon F’d it all up!!

I hope one day to get back to where we were

Comment by Keith 02.15.16 @ 6:12 pm

Dixon is like Tomlin. They both inherited great teams and kept it going for awhile. Great coaches build their own program neither has done this. Go get a coach that has built a program. He will repeat the process.

Comment by Steve h 02.15.16 @ 6:16 pm

In the last 3 years (soon to be 4) JD’s players stopped listening to him, and the way he coaches I don’t blame them. When he let’s them play (rarely) they play pretty decent – Syr. and ND…come to mind. It is time for a change.

Comment by markp 02.15.16 @ 6:26 pm

Assertions aren’t facts. What has JD accomplished to be granted “great” status?
He certainly isn’t in Boeheims class. Boeheim disproves the length of time argument as well.
The worst argument conceivable is “he is Pitt’s all time winningest coach and Pitt will never do better”.
For goodness sakes, that attitude has saved Pitt coaches forever. Performance be damned.
He is paid to perform. He hasn’t. Whether he stays or goes, that has to be the sole criterion.
This ain’t T ball, we are keeping score.

Comment by Sfpitt 02.15.16 @ 6:31 pm

A very diplomatic approach and the same one I advocated last year. Which again takes us to Barnes. After last season’s putrid finish, Barnes should have been on point.

Dixon has been a good coach, not a great coach.

The company line on Pitt hoops is Dixon will fix it. He needs money, direction, and high expectations. Hello, athletic director?

Comment by Tony77019 02.15.16 @ 6:38 pm

A couple years ago when the USC gig opened I had said I don’t think it would be a bad thing for Dixon to have a change of scenery. I had felt the program was trending down. Never thought it would get like this. I work some weird hours so unlike football I don’t get to watch every hoop game. Yesterday for the 1st time in a long time I just chose not to watch. I had nothing preventing me watching, just chose not to.

I do though agree a combination of him having enough past success and the length of contract left now is not the time to make a move. I also agree I don’t think he rights the ship and it doesn’t end well for Jamie. Which is a shame.

To those that are surprised that Wilson has not taken minutes from JR…why?? Remember Sam Young had to sit behind Levon Kendall, when it was obvious Young’s ceiling was much higher.

I still hope he turns it around. A staff shakeup and more money for recruiting is a good start. But if Jamie’s handshakes are any indication of his personal skills, good luck.

Comment by Pap76 02.15.16 @ 6:42 pm

Dan72, Keith & others get it. At some point Pitt is riding high on its dead horse once again.

Comment by Tony77019 02.15.16 @ 6:43 pm

UpPitt:

Dokish is full of shit when he talks about Pitt basketball. Best he stick to football recruiting.

Comment by Tony77019 02.15.16 @ 6:51 pm

Part of Dixon’s problem is that his successes were built on having physical defensive teams in the very physical Big East. That type of basketball is now being phased out with the changes in NCAA rules. Since these rule changes Pitt has been having a lot of problems and I do not see that changing. Pitt used to literally beat much more talented teams into submission.

Comment by John the Listener 02.15.16 @ 6:54 pm

As a post script, the crowd could get quite ugly on Tuesday. Those who show will give Pitt a very short leash.
If they Boo, it will reverberate to all in the ACC and to the Pederson residence.
Were Nordy, SP and JD the unholy Trinity of Pitt athletics?

Comment by Sfpitt 02.15.16 @ 6:57 pm

It is troublesome that we are not even competitive against the good teams anymore….and too many games are over by halftime…not sure that giving JD more time is the answer…
his ability to adjust during games is questionable…his substitutions are often so random and puzzling…plus not starting MY against UNC…I was sat the UVA game and Artis, MY and Jeter were all on the bench at the same time…plus why does JR have the ball in his hands when the shot clock is under 10 seconds…he is not a good shooter and can’t drive to the basket…if we had a 2 guard who could score JR’s limitations would not be so obvious.

Comment by Jerry S 02.15.16 @ 6:57 pm

You can’t beat his name, breeding and record:

link to monmouthhawks.com

Comment by steve1 02.15.16 @ 7:04 pm

agree with UPITTBASEBALL…Can anyone name a PG in the ACC that JR has outplayed this year… or even last year?. How many ACC guards have had big nights against PITT this year….Even the lesser guards from the exhibition/preseason games were lighting up our guards

Comment by Jerry S 02.15.16 @ 7:05 pm

Sfpitt,
totally agree about tomoro, didn’t think about it but it might get ugly if pitt losses to 1-13 wake forest team, wow that would make a HUGE statement!

Dixon’s style of play has worked in the past, and it is still working in the NCAA i.e. Virgina

However the word is out HCJD is an ass and recruits don’t want to deal with him, so as fans were in a lose lose situation, Jamie gets to coach and we get to watch D2 basketball, that’s why he schedules all of those rent a wins, there at his teams level!!!

Comment by Keith 02.15.16 @ 7:35 pm

Duzz comes in and gets the full backing of the administration immediately to move FB to the next level.. And based on coaching hires far more support than Coach Chryst received.. is it possible part of the basketball product we see now is due to a lack of administrative support for the basketball program compared to the rest of the conference

Comment by BigB 02.15.16 @ 7:45 pm

And he can bring his staff with him, just compare it to Pitt’s:

link to monmouthhawks.com

Comment by steve1 02.15.16 @ 7:49 pm

I look at what Virginia does in the ACC and see no reason why Pitt can’t bring their old Big East style to the ACC. That’s basically what the Cavaliers are doing and it works.

Comment by Matt 02.15.16 @ 7:50 pm

UPitt,
You sound like a badly scratched .45 record: “Archie Miller…Archie Miller….Archie Miller…..Archie Miller……”

You know what UPitt? “You’re right…..You’re right…..You’re right…..You’re right…….
Archie sounds pretty good about right now!

Comment by pittman4ever 02.15.16 @ 7:55 pm

Saw a tweet that said Pitt hoops is now 42-42 in conference games since 2011–which was when we hit a #1 ranking. Now, that’s obviously not good enough and not gonna cut it for us. I totally get that.

But why are we so sure some new coach will sweep in here and we will be any better than 42-42 in that coaches first 84 conference games? Could easily be worse than that.

Not a solution other than to say……maybe time to Lower Bball Expectations And Put All Eggs in our Football Basket.

Comment by VictoryLites 02.15.16 @ 8:01 pm

Boeheim had his down years before he won a title. He gets his kids to play his odd defense but lets them do their thing on offense. Why can JD not do the same thing? JD likes defense but the offense seems under orders. Set offense plays are nice but it seems if one part of it is stopped (like Young double teamed) we fall apart. If we have cold shooting, we miss layups on drives. If we fall behind, we slow up. When was the last time we had a really good play maker not necessarily a scorer? Paterson? Just my thoughts.

Comment by Frank MD 02.15.16 @ 8:01 pm

I think it comes down to 3 criteria: ability, effort and coaching.

How would you grade this year’s team (from A to F)?

Comment by steve1 02.15.16 @ 8:26 pm

What ultimately may be Jamie’s demise is lack of enthusiasm at the Pete…. Pitt’s always sold that on TV and now that too is fading. Inferior product = inconsistent attendance = less $ / national exposure = coaching change. Pitt football trend in up …. Pitt hoops trending down…….. Go figure.

Comment by Zero93 02.15.16 @ 8:27 pm

Ability- C
Effort -C
Coaching – D

Comment by Dan 72 02.15.16 @ 8:27 pm

Boeheim did have some down years but then cheated his way to get back on top.

Pitt’s old thuggish playing style doesnt work in the ACC. Pitt needs athletes and shooters. It needs an up temp game with good man to man. You get that with athletes. Pitt will not win any officiating calls going up againt the blue bloods so talent and coaching need to be elite.

Neither talent or coaching is any where near elite. Thats the problem.

Pit’s players are very good at beating average teams, but if you want to beat very good teams, you need to have very good players.

And a Coach that is not stagnating. Dixon is very much like Andy Reid. Its time to move on.

Comment by TX Panther 02.15.16 @ 8:29 pm

We were predicted to finish 10th in the ACC. We are currently ninth. Guess they knew what they were talking about.

Comment by gc 02.15.16 @ 8:51 pm

This Pitt team seems intimidated by the better teams. They can shoot lights out against the nobodies but throw a real team at them and most of them get a lump in their throat.
Is that coaching, or lack of confidence. Probably a little of both and also the coach having the ability to identify and recruit the correct players.
Artis and Robinson look totally overmatched in the ACC. Seems like Luther, Jeter and Young should be starting up front and at guard you might as well go with the kids. Robinson and Smith are not going to improve.
Also the wonderful idea of keeping Young on the bench was a beauty at the start of the UNC game. Give Artis that slot and tell him he can play when he gets his head out of his butt. He must be listening to all the announcer say how wonderful he is, along with mr. Assist to Turnover.

Comment by Jimbo 02.15.16 @ 8:59 pm

I concur with Dan72, C,C,D.

Comment by Jackagain 02.15.16 @ 9:05 pm

The hint of the basketball program collapse started in Dixons first few years. Every time we faced a hot shooting 3 point team in the season or NCAA’s we got beat.

All that thuggishness and physical play of Pitt was laughed at by Pacific, Wichata St et al as the stayed out of the paint and rained 3’s down on a bewildered Pitt team and coaching staff.

Comment by Dan 72 02.15.16 @ 9:17 pm

Villanova is still ranked #1.

Hmmmm, coaching, recruiting and players respect = Jay Wright.

When a small suburban Philadelphia school is at the top you have to ask>>>why is it that we are worried about the possibility of losing to a bunch of Humpty Dumptys from tiny Wake Forest.

I wonder how much Jay Wright gets paid.

Comment by isnore 02.15.16 @ 9:43 pm

I think Jamie’s biggest issue is the inability or unwillingless to recruit,”The Guy”…meaning that scorer that just can take over at certain times but can’t really guard anyone…Might be oversimplifying but this is a great supporting cast if it had a scorer that could take pressure off everyone else and they could just be secondary scorers that could step up from time to time..Paul Zeise made an interesting comment prior to the NC State game….that it may have worked out better for Jamie and Rowan that he ended up at NC State…kinda implying Jamie doesnt like a guy that is really just a scorer and not an all around player and Rowan realized Jamie was not gonna let him play unless he improved his all around game. I dunno…if Jamie can’t work a guy like that into his rotation, alot of other High School “scorers/shooters” may avoid PITT leaving us without a pure scorer that you have to hide defensivily…Jamie just doesn’t either want that guy or can’t get him….and Jamie, for the love of God, playing zone is OK if your group can’t play man….

Comment by Greg 02.15.16 @ 9:57 pm

Wow. Factcheck.org would have a field day on this thread.

Elite players never did and never will want to play in JDix’s system. His system requires battled tested (in practice) juniors and seniors.

Having said that, I think he’s changing his system. Unfortunately, most of the players do not fit his old system or whatever one he is trying to change to.

I do think he deserves another year or two to change styles/players to fit today’s game. And for the record, Scott Barnes was Utah State’s athletic director when Pitt lost to George Washington in the NIT last March. He’s been Dixon’s boss for 9 months and would be an idiot to fire him after 10 months on the job for that reason alone, not to mention the ridiculous buyout hanging over them both.

Some of you need to talk to my UofA relatives and friends and ask them what they think about Sean Miller’s six straight top 5 recruiting classes, 2 missed tournaments and 0 final fours.

Comment by cnorwoodaz 02.15.16 @ 10:10 pm

One thing I have noticed and I wonder if anyone else thinks this. Has anyone noticed how we get pushed around by all teams we play?? Physically we get killed. I mean manhandled, and this is by ACC teams which have historically been finess teams!!

We do not have a single player who can overpower their man, weak weak weak!

Was there a change in conditioning coaches, does anyone know, because I look at body types and see no improvement over the past three years or so. Am I wrong on this?? Kids that had poor body types still do, skinny kids still are, and overweight is still overweight!

Comment by JoeKnew 02.15.16 @ 11:02 pm

If Dixon was a stock, should have sold in 2011. Now it is to late to make money. You have a loss. Accept it and move on.Never hold on to losers. they stay losers. Dixon has to go. No way he turns anything around. No way any good coaches are coming to Pitt. Now can Barnes bring in a couple of hungry young guys to beat the bushes? Yes but the fact remains Dixon is late in grasping his maniacal constant micro coaching is not a good look.

Comment by Chethejet 02.15.16 @ 11:09 pm

I checked Factcheck and Arizona is ranked #12 and is going the NCAA Tournament. They also said that Dixon has been here 13 years and hasn’t been to a Final Four either.

Miller went to an Elite 8 at Xavier of all places and lost to the #1 seed. Dixon in his only Elite 8 lost (as usual) to a lesser seed. Miller has been to 4 Elite 8’s to Dixon’s 1 in less time coaching.

Miller has missed the Tournament his first year at Xavier and his first & 3rd year at Arizona. He made the Tournament (including this year) every other year as head coach.

Since his NIT invite in 2011-12 he has been 27-8 (Sweet 16), 33-5 (Elite 8), 34-4 (Elite 8) his last 3 years and currently he’s 21-5 and ranked 12th.

I’m guessing you friends are either happy with Miller or need sedated…

Comment by Jackagain 02.15.16 @ 11:13 pm

C’mon Jack, If Miller was Pitt’s coach with that exact same record we would all be on here calling for his head because he “can’t win the big one”! We are Pitt fans…far more aggressive in our criticisms than we are exuberant in our praise.

Comment by HbgFrank 02.15.16 @ 11:27 pm

LOL Frank….but signing day would be a real blast!

Comment by Jackagain 02.15.16 @ 11:41 pm

Naw, as Pitt fans we would point out his SOS out of conf is 221, and the teams he played have a winning percentage ranked 171st. We’d say it’s typical rent a wins and not getting to final 4 and being able to recruit but not coach. And he was stealing his money . (Lol and I have known Sean since he was a little kid!!)

Comment by JoeKnew 02.15.16 @ 11:52 pm

Oops, can’t hit the right keys, that’s 230 on OOC SOS and 112 teams winning percentage, sorry Sean!

Comment by JoeKnew 02.15.16 @ 11:55 pm

Jack – And Archie is ranked like 14th and going again. After an Elite 8 and making it last year.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.16.16 @ 12:00 am

Wow. Factcheck.org would have a field day on this thread.
Elite players never did and never will want to play in JDix’s system. His system requires battled tested (in practice) juniors and seniors.

———–

Pitt’s lack of talent has nothing to do w/ their style of play.. Michigan State & Wisconsin(w/ Bob Ryan as the HC) play defense style.. When Ben Howland was at UCLA he didn’t have problems recruiting Russell Westbrook & Kevin Love(plus other future 1st round picks Farmer,Afflalo & Collison) to play “slog ball”.. Even now Howland is getting top talent coming to play for him at freakin Mississippi State.. In ACC Virginia plays nearly the exact same style as Pitt use to be able to play.. And yet they have more talent & better athletes then Pitt.. To me it comes down to a coach in Jamie Dixon who can’t sell himself or this program.. A perfect example of Dixon’s inability to sell this program.. Is Steven Adams.. Dixon finally gets a NBA lottery player.. Yet where was Dixon at the NBA draft.. Why wasn’t Dixon seated next to Adams.. To make sure he got face on TV.. He’s friends w/ Andy Katz.. Why didn’t ask his friend to do him a solid and interview before or after Adams got drafted.. So he could talk up his player,himself as coach and the program.. Look at what Coach Cal does anytime has player who’s going to drafted.. Cal is right there sitting next to the players family.. He’s seating next kid about get drafted.. Then doing interviews talking up the player.. Also just as important in those interviews his constantly selling himself and his program.. Dixon on the other hand like I said doesn’t do that.. If you hear him on local radio interviews he sounds unsure of himself.. He also comes off as not wanting to answer kind of questions.. When does some national tv interviews he along stammers answering questions.. Any talented kids who watching him and want play big time college basketball they are not going to be you enamored w/ guy like that.. Dixon hasn’t developed any type of persona like some of the other coaches out have like a Cal or Tom Izzo etc etc.. IMO.. Pitt is going have to cut the check and go out get two young and hungry up coming assistant coaches.. Just like they had back in the day when Calipari & Seth Greenberg were here.. Who have some good AAU connections so they can recruit better talented players and some more athletic players who aren’t one dimensional.. That’s only way this program is going get back on track…

Comment by NickC 02.16.16 @ 2:30 am

Trump would get rid of JD’s system because it’s a terrible system, and put in a great system (no more info) … but it will make Pitt BB strong again. And will threaten to sue the officials after every loss.

Bernie will have an open forum with the Zoo, the Blather, the Lair and the Digest for their suggestions on what offense to run before every game.

Cruz would hold prayer meetings instead of practice.

Rubio would provide nothing but coachspeak.

Jeb would hire W and Dad as assistants.

Hillary would join the likes of fellow ACC coaches Pitino, Boeheim and Williams and of course will claim innocence.

Comment by wbb 02.16.16 @ 6:46 am

…. and Kasich would never argue with the officials.

Comment by wbb 02.16.16 @ 6:50 am

Excellent, wbb

Comment by steve1 02.16.16 @ 6:59 am

ben howland

Comment by paul shannon 02.16.16 @ 7:23 am

Howland is gainfully employed at Miss St.

Article from Trib … Artis is 4 for 18 from the field the last 2 games … and hasn’t been to the foul line …0!

JR in big games: 0-for-6 outing against Louisville, 0 for 7 against Virginia, 3 for 9 against Miami, 2 for 10 against Notre Dame, 3 for 12 against N.C. State and 6 for 19 against North Carolina.

Young had 4 rebounds vs Miami and 6 turnovers vs UNC.

These are supposed to be the team leaders.

Comment by wbb 02.16.16 @ 7:36 am

Maybe they should count JR’s misses as turnovers … same effect. Nobody is playing well but IMO that is a reflection on the HC and the senior PG .. more than anyone else.

Comment by wbb 02.16.16 @ 7:39 am

Dixon ain’t going anywhere with a $3 million per year guaranteed contract. So unless Pitt is willing to oust him and pay him at that rate, we will have to live with him for many a year going forward.

Comment by jrnpitt 02.16.16 @ 7:45 am

@@@@@

It not the style of play its lack of talent.
Too many one dimensional players.
JD excellent bench coach needs an
ACE recruiter.

Comment by JR 02.16.16 @ 9:03 am

Me:

B ability, I think we’ll still make the tourney

B- effort, the UNC game was an anomaly

D coaching. Jamie’s trying unsuccessfully to mold Bs into As. How do you not start Michael Young? Given lack of foot speed, why not play zone the whole game? Why not give more time to guys WITH foot speed and a future, eg., Wilson?

Comment by steve1 02.16.16 @ 9:05 am

Dixon the man, neighbor is a great fellow and men like Pitino disgust me. Dixon blew opportunities that truly very good (not even great) coaches capitalize on. He made wrong moves at critical times, he proved to be incapable at moments that separate winners from losers. He was an assistant, ran Ben’s model in the BE on auto pilot. His run is over, he cannot and will not win again. He has been exposed, he has alienated his market for talent; see KB fiasco. He is living a delusion and wasting precious time and resources. We need a bright assistant coach from the ACC that has the hunger and motive to build Pitt’s program within a new prototype and get the players that can execute it. A guy that wants to hand Duke VA NC a loss on their home courts.

Andy Reid a great coach? Efficient and organized maybe. Like JD he also has a reputation for making a critical mistake that’ll cost has team. Reid has been clock challenged but not to the extent Tomlin is.

Comment by Old School Panther 02.16.16 @ 9:23 am

excerpt from Trib today:

Virginia guard London Perrantes let it slip how ACC teams are defending Pitt during the Panthers’ three-game losing streak.

Most important, Perrantes explained following Virginia’s 14-point win Feb. 6, the decision to deny the ball to leading scorers Michael Young and Jamel Artis, and allowing James Robinson, who’s shooting 36.8 percent, to fire away.

It has been a proven strategy against the Panthers (17-7, 6-6). Robinson totaled more shots than Young and Artis in losses against No. 7 Virginia, No. 11 Miami and No. 5 North Carolina.
———————

so where are Sterling Smith and Shelden Jeter?

Comment by wbb 02.16.16 @ 9:48 am

wbb: great.

Comment by Tony77019 02.16.16 @ 10:12 am

Pitt an 11 pt favorite tonight vs Wake Forrest. Call it a must win.

Comment by alcofan 02.16.16 @ 10:13 am

wbb, we have all recognized that for a long time.

So why hasn’t Jamie? Why hasn’t he told Robinson to get the ball to Smith, Jeter, Johnson? Why hasn’t he told them to take the shot? Why does Robinson, who knows he can’t shoot, who is supposed to be a leader, figure that out himself?

Why not set up plays to take advantage of the double teams?

Terrible coaching and selfish play from the big three, especially Robinson.

Comment by gc 02.16.16 @ 10:16 am

GC – Because he is a pet.

Any Coach in America would bench JR.

Emel – Come out of hiding and at least share this sentiment. We knew JR was terrible for 3 years.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.16.16 @ 10:19 am

Randon thoughts: crowd tonight will be on the light side. Bad weather, bad opponent, bad play by Pitt will keep people snug inside their homes.

Did anyone see the comment on Zeise’s article about tonight’s game? AD seen in Dayton?

Comment by Tony77019 02.16.16 @ 10:23 am

Random…that is

Comment by Tony77019 02.16.16 @ 10:23 am

Guys, you are going overboard again. JR is not terrible. Yes, he is a below average college point guard. But who is better on our team? Wilson has been a huge disappointment. The more he plays against ACC competition the worse he gets. Would anyone still rate him a 4* guard coming out of high school today. I would not. I know he can get better but he has a long way to go to become an average college point guard next year.

Comment by rayhpgh 02.16.16 @ 10:34 am

And… to make matters worse, Jamie insists on playing Maia and Ododa a combination of 23 minutes per game. One more guy that can not shoot and doesn’t have to be guarded. Taking minutes away from Jeter and Luther who both give a better scoring option.

I am not saying that Robinson does not have to play, he does, Wilson was 0-6 in the last game. But he should be taking 5-6 shots per game unless he is hot early which rarely happens.

Comment by gc 02.16.16 @ 10:37 am

I think Wilson’s upside is much better than JR. JR refuses to make mistakes but doesn’t make anything happen either. Wilson seems to try too hard to make things happen and needs to let the game come to him more … reminds me of Wannamaker in his first 2 years (a turnover machine.)

Wilson has a much smoother shot and is quicker and more athletic. Mark my words .. he will become a deadly corner shooter, maybe as early as next year.

JR improved very little in his 4 years; I’m willing to bet that DW’s career will be quite different

Comment by wbb 02.16.16 @ 10:41 am

The other thing that you notice is how many guys are standing still on offense. When Young or Jeter get trapped, no one gets open for a pass. Every time Young tries to back into two defenders, someone should get behind him for an open shot, they all just stand and watch.

Comment by gc 02.16.16 @ 10:42 am

The style Pitt plays isn’t the issue. Neither is the lack of big men. You don’t have to have a big man to win in college.

Dixon is struggling coaching and recruiting.

I like the Archie Miller suggestion, but there is no evidence he would even sniff the Pitt job.

Comment by notrocketscience 02.16.16 @ 10:44 am

Agrre wbb, Wilson has shown moments of brilliance, and has a lot of tools. Hopefully he develops like Wannamaker and not like Newkirk.

But already he shows he can shoot, pass, drive to the hoop. He has excellent court vision and is fast. He needs to improve his ball handling and decision making.

Comment by gc 02.16.16 @ 10:49 am

What are some actual names of potential coaches that would be both A) a realistic hire and B) better than JD?

Archie Miller? That Miller name is the only name I ever hear on here and from what I hear that is simply not going to happen at any point in the near future. So….any other thoughts??

It’s easy to scream Fire Dixon, but what are the alternatives right now??

Firing Dixon could result in the bottom falling out of Pitt basketball. On the other hand, if JD stays for another decade, we might just be stuck with .500 seasons in conference play. Yikes either way!

Comment by VictoryLites 02.16.16 @ 10:52 am

Wilson is why I have some hope for next year. With an off season to work as the court general, we have the potential to be much better. I look forward to seeing some serious alley-oops to the forwards, especially Jeter.

Comment by gc 02.16.16 @ 10:53 am

I wouldn’t play a PG. Let another SG bring the ball up.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.16.16 @ 10:53 am

Why would AM hire not happen?

Wife from NC, met her at school. Get’s him in ACC.

If we don’t hire him soon Michigan or UNC will after another 1-3 Years of outperforming expectations. Look at their record this season.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.16.16 @ 10:56 am

Agree on the talent (or lack of) discussion. I see this as Dixon’s major flaw. Every year for arguably the past 5 at least, the talent of incoming players has degraded. They are average to above average but not the talent that wins in the ACC or even the old/new BE. No specific knock on the players – they represent Pitt well, but just cant win at this level. You see the results in our W/L record slowly descending and lack of post season appearances and success. Even when we did not have marquee players, there was a toughness, grit and cohesiveness to them that I no longer see.
Tonight’s game should be an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and get a fresh start in the win column. What I am expecting is completely different. I expect WF to get their first win in past 11 starts against us. If this happens, I fell the season is over with this team.

Comment by Pitt IT is 02.16.16 @ 11:13 am

Fortunately I did not see the North Carolina game. However the loss to Miami was a VERY TOUGH LOSS. They played well for most of the game only to a coast to coast buzzard beater in the moments before halftime and they gave up the tip-in in the final seconds of the game. I felt that need to win 2 out of the four games in the Virginia Tech, Virginia, Miami, and North Carolina stretch. They were clearly out-classed by Virginia and North Carolina. The Miami game was crucial and they let it get away. Things don’t look so rosey coming into the final part of the ACC regular season. In my opinion they need to win a least 4 more game and 1 or 2 in the ACC tournament. You have to wonder if this is even possible.

Comment by Justinian 02.16.16 @ 11:14 am

Agreed must win tonight. I would sit JR and super glue him to the bench. I would start Artis at the PG and give him a ton of help bringing the ball up.

Pitt has much more talent than WF but WF is all heart and they smell blood in the water. Pitt 59-WF 61 as Dixon is finally called for a technical foul for being on the floor!

Comment by Dan 72 02.16.16 @ 11:15 am

I think we find out tonight if Jamie has lost the team. I don’t expect Jamie to change a thing, he will still run his offense through JR.

But how about this for a lineup:

5 Jeter
4 Young
3 Johnson
2 Artis
1 Wilson

Run the offense through Artis like they did through Patterson when JR was a freshman.

Comment by gc 02.16.16 @ 11:31 am

Get Artis more involved in the game to get him out of his funk.

Comment by gc 02.16.16 @ 11:32 am

FWIW – link to athlonsports.com

Not defending, just providing info. Don’t shoot the messenger.

H2P!!!

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.16.16 @ 11:32 am

Yes Brad Wannamaker comes to mind when you think about players who didn’t look very good when they first came here, but developed into very good players. But that could be said about a lot of Pitt basketball players. I wasn’t impressed with Lamar Paterson when he came here and he developed into a terrific player. One of the comments I remember during their glory years in Big East play, was that they recruited piano carriers not pianists.

Comment by Justinian 02.16.16 @ 11:33 am

Meant to add – JD is #20 – look who is above him and especially who is below him.

Want a coaching suggestion besides someone named Miller? Tommy Amaker – once of Duke, now at Harvard.

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.16.16 @ 11:34 am

Gc, I like the idea or running the offense through Artis. Pitt did that effectively in the past with Brad Wannamaker and with Lamar Patterson. They were able to provide a scoring threat and draw defenders while effectively distributing the ball. However James Robinson and not Wilson will start tonight.

Comment by Justinian 02.16.16 @ 11:46 am

Justinian, without a doubt

Comment by gc 02.16.16 @ 12:06 pm

Regarding JR and scoring, it used to be the 2 was called the shooting guard. Don’t know who Pitt’s 2 is?

Comment by pittlc 02.16.16 @ 12:24 pm

Some of you guys crack me up. Yes JR often deserves critics ism but the last shot stuff is BS. He often is forced to take it because he does get the ball to one of the so called big scorer and they dribble, hold the ball as clock winds down and get it back to him with 5 seconds or less. The reason he gets the ball back is because he is the only one who is moving. Hate when he deserves it ( and he often does) but get a clue and watch the game.

Comment by JoeKnew 02.16.16 @ 12:26 pm

Almost any non Power 5 coach can be had. An opportunity to coach in the ACC is a draw.

Comment by Pittastic 02.16.16 @ 12:27 pm

Curly left Marquette for basketball power VA Tech.

Comment by Pittastic 02.16.16 @ 12:35 pm

And one other thing, someone mentioned no ally oops etc. well there is no Chris Taft, Aaron Gray, Chevy Troutman, D. Blair G Magee etc. he has MY who is softer than Gumby and Artis who has single diget BB IQ and couldn’t make a sharp cut with and Exacto knife!

Comment by JoeKnew 02.16.16 @ 12:36 pm

Say we are able to lure a Buzz Williams-level coach here. What has Curly done that JD hasn’t? Career winning percentage of 59.6% vs JD’s 73.3%. Curly’s best NCAA tournament finish was 1 single Elite 8 appearance. (Same for JD of course.) Most wins for Curly is a single season is 27. JD has hit 31 wins in 2 different seasons at Pitt and JD averaged 26.2 wins per season thru his first 10 years at Pitt. I just don’t see how someone even as high profile as a Buzz Williams does more for us than JD. Maybe we do just need a breath of fresh air and the recruiting has gotten so bad that we need a dramatic change…..but just be careful what you wish for.

Comment by VictoryLites 02.16.16 @ 1:00 pm

And definitely not saying the situations are the same…..but I hope Pitt Football and the firing of Wanny at least taught us why it’s important to really consider all options before firing a coach. It has taken us several years to rebuild the football program after axing Dave, and if we do fire Dixon, all I’m saying is just be prepared for a few REALLY bad years before this gets any better at all.

If JD stays and gets some better recruiters doing the dirty work in the trenches…..maybe that’s a better bet than blowing this whole thing up.

Comment by VictoryLites 02.16.16 @ 1:11 pm

Every ACC team knows each other by now. Certainly the coaches. Talent now reigns. We must try a few new things or get the players to do exactly what they are told to do. We must score on every transition and foul shot.

Comment by Frank MD 02.16.16 @ 1:11 pm

–Pitt’s whole downfall has been recruiting. I think Coach Dixon has not been able to bring in good centers because of the way he handled Steven Adams.

–Adams was a case where Jamie needed to go outside his comfort zone – but instead he treated Adams – despite his obvious physical skills and advantages – just like any other “project” to be coached-up to be a good player by the time he’s a junior.

–That model was a disaster with Adams. After every Pitt game early in the season I would shake my head that Pitt was not feeding the ball into Adams and getting him 10 shots per game. He needed to be fed the ball to get acclimated, but in those early games he rarely touched the ball.

–Has to be tough for Jamie to overcome that on the recruiting trail – I’m sure other coaches use this type of stuff against him.

Go Pitt.

Comment by MajorMajors 02.16.16 @ 1:15 pm

So Joe Knew is defending JR and calling Michael Young soft. JR is wide open because opposing teams don’t have to cover him. They want him to shoot. Michael Young is taking on guys that are much bigger than him, because we have no center. Jeter could easily have several alley oops a game if JR could pass, and Jamie could draw up a play. Of course no use drawing up a play that your point guard can’t execute.

Comment by gc 02.16.16 @ 1:17 pm

agree with wbb…missed shots should count against
JR’s assist to turnover ratio…it’s obvious that other teams don’t respect JR at the offensive end and JR’s not being an offensive threat creates double teams against MY and Artis…It’s time to increase Wilson’s PT…Also, I like the lineup of GC above

Comment by Jerry S 02.16.16 @ 1:23 pm

Perhaps Big Steve Adams wasn’t utilized as he should have been while he was here. However, he was still drafted #12 overall after playing one season at Pitt in which he started 32 games. You’d think that would be a GOOD thing on the recruiting trail. Why isn’t it?! We should be pointing to that a reason for top talent to come here!

“Come to Pitt and start every game and get noticed enough to get picked in the top 12 of the NBA. During that short year (or two) at Pitt, play in a beautiful arena with one of the more exciting student sections in the country. We play in one of the premier conferences in the country. This is a program that landed No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament not very that long ago. Let’s get back to that level together and get you in the NBA all at the same time.”

Apparently that message is not good enough for the most talented kids. SMH.

Comment by VictoryLites 02.16.16 @ 1:33 pm

I agree MajorMajors. Not just Adams. I pointed out yesterday Sam Young sitting behind Levon Kendall was ridiculous. Wilson should be getting more minutes this year.

In this today’s one and done and grad transfer era, if you have a talented kid you play him. Deal with the growing pains and some mistakes they may make because you never know how long you are going to have them.

I think it was Dhuffdaddy yesterday that said he could envision Artis, Young, and Wilson all leaving. While unlikely, not out of the realm of possibility. Young is obviously frustrated and Jamie benching him against UNC was absurd. Artis will be 24. I seriously doubt Wilson is thrilled with his lack of minutes, especially with how awful Robinson has been shooting lately.

Comment by Pap76 02.16.16 @ 1:40 pm

VictoryLites , you’re forgetting one thing….we have Barnes & Gallagher now, not Cyanide Steve & Nordy. And it was still worth it to get rid of Wanny to wait and get Narduzzi.

Besides AM, there’s Gregg Marshal, and Shaka Smart.

I’m sure Barnes will try to get Dixon to replace a couple assistants this year, but how long do we wait before they make inroads in recruiting?

No easy solution for sure…but they fixed FB pretty fast.

Comment by Jackagain 02.16.16 @ 1:40 pm

Some people show emotions/frustrations more than others. Young is one of them, but I don’t believe it is for a lack of effort and certainly not being soft. Young has had to constantly battle players who are bigger and stronger, especially last year.

As mentioned a few times, I give JR a lot of credit for effort and would hope people would also think of that instead of a guy who was often overmatched.

Comment by wbb 02.16.16 @ 1:53 pm

Gc, so they double MY every time he has the ball, even at half court. It isn’t to let JR be open, it’s because Young holds the ball way too long and is terrible making decisions. And ya, he’s soft, saw it his whole career, he was soft in HS and soft in summer league games, and soft all over. Don’t bring JR into it, that’s a different story, the point was he is soft. And if you think Artis can do that, why isn’t he doing it when Wilson is running the team?? If it’s Dixon why did he let Fields and Brad and the rest do it??

Comment by JoeKnew 02.16.16 @ 2:04 pm

And also, who was the last hard nosed kid we had?? Really, how far back do you have to go to find a tough kid? THAT I will place on Dixon! You’d think we would have at least one kid who would be able to play D ??

Comment by JoeKnew 02.16.16 @ 2:09 pm

Sorry JoeKnew, you have completely lost me. I do agree that Young holds the ball too long at times and has made bad decisions, but I don’t see where he is soft. I would say he is the most physical guy on the team and would be even more so if it were the old Big East, when they let them play that way.

The fact is that for three years Jamie has run everything through JR and now he takes 19 shots in a game. A few were when the clock ran out. By the way, for a point guard JR holds the ball much too long too.

Comment by gc 02.16.16 @ 2:13 pm

JoeKnew, how many times did you see Young playing high school?

Comment by wbb 02.16.16 @ 2:15 pm

Michael Young is not the problem on this team. Yes he does try to do too much at times, primarily because the guards stink and can’t score.

Comment by gc 02.16.16 @ 2:15 pm

RE: Ability. With perhaps the exception of Wilson everybody else is a step slower than “A” competition.

You cannot blame the players for this.

Comment by steve1 02.16.16 @ 2:17 pm

@ VictoryLites —many schools can say that so it’s not like Pitt is special in recruiting.

If Robinson is going to take 19 shots a game he better be making most of them…you can’t blame recent down turn on just one guy but I do put more of it on JR since he is the PG and the senior leader.

While I would like to see Wilson get as much experience as possible; the offense looks really lost when he is running point so hsi play should be limited at this time.

Comment by milobloom 02.16.16 @ 2:27 pm

If you guys don’t think Archie Miller has a significantly higher upside than Dixon then I don’t know what to say.

Look at his age and Dixon’s.

The further both have been is a Elite Eight.

Archie is 37.

Dixon has to be damn near 50.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.16.16 @ 2:30 pm

MYoung is a stud. The only one on this team. The reason we can’t get the ball to an open man when he’s double teamed is simple. The defense is sloughing off JR and basically playing
5 on 4 on the others. In basketball lingo, the defense is flattening out. JR is no threat to score, penetrate and dish or hit a 3 so he stands on he perimeter with the ball while Artis and MYoung draw the double team. Both are DT’d so closely, they cannot even move, thus it appears they are standing around. The problems JR creates on both ends are insurmountable, thus the blow outs. He must sit for Pitt to have any chance! No wonder he takes so many shots!

Comment by Dan 72 02.16.16 @ 2:31 pm

LMBO

Dixon makes 3.2M and some of you guys think he deserves it.

His performance deserves 250k and a shitty chevy.

link to pennlive.com

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.16.16 @ 2:32 pm

wbb – your Trib post at 9:48am today may be why MY was benched – he may have pointed that fact out to Jamie.

Now that the Trib printed how the ACC teams are defending Pitt, let’s see what Jamie’s counter move will be tonight.

Let’s get back to winning…

HTP!

Comment by Erie Express 02.16.16 @ 2:34 pm

As far as talking about Dixon being let go…it’s not going to happen this season; next season or the season after that…After that then it could happen if team keeps missing NCAA’s. So really not worth the time talking about much.

For every school that made a hire that allowed their program to get to the ‘next’ level. I’ll match 15 others where the team stayed same level or team became worse so it’s a crap shoot to make the change and Dixon not even close to where make a panic move like that..especially when you consider contract and he runs clean program with good kids.

Just need to look at Pitt’s own history when they fired Evans for Ralph Willard and enjoy one NIT bid in 5 years and some crooks on the team.

Comment by milobloom 02.16.16 @ 2:43 pm

Panic Move?

He sucked since 2011.

Pitt Fans are like battered wives… Think they deserve shit and don’t think good men exist.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.16.16 @ 2:53 pm

what are the odds?

1) an OCS at Pitt

2) JD being fired

3) me sleeping with Jennifer Lawrence

Comment by wbb 02.16.16 @ 2:58 pm

I gotta go with #2 as the favorite wbb…then #3… 😉

Comment by Jackagain 02.16.16 @ 3:00 pm

Great line UPitt.

While I would not have any problem with Jamie leaving, primarily due to his inability to recruit, I don’t see the Board of Trustees approving a buyout.

Milo, I think the Pitt job would have some very good coaches interested. But obviously never a guarantee that you get a real winner.

And yes UPitt, I like Archie and his trend line looks better than Jamie right now.

Next year’s recruiting class will be a real turning point for the program.

Comment by gc 02.16.16 @ 3:02 pm

If you guys are going to be throwing out facts and opinions about Pitt BB here is a website you should have in your bookmarks bar.

link to sports-reference.com

Comment by Reed 02.16.16 @ 3:03 pm

Yeah wbb actually on that list..it is #2 by a lot.

Comment by milobloom 02.16.16 @ 3:04 pm

An OCS in 15 years
JD being fired in 2 years
NEVER

Comment by TX Panther 02.16.16 @ 3:04 pm

While I’m pulling for you wbb, you’ve got no shot, ever. The odds of number two within the next 5 years are pretty good. I’d give you a 30 year horizon on the OCS.

Comment by gc 02.16.16 @ 3:06 pm

This was said when a team fired a coach who had gone to NCAA’s two straight years.

“The decision was based on the overall performance the past three years,” Wellman said. “I looked at our February and March records and how the performances declined rather dramatically. We were 16-17 in February in those three years and in March 4-7, and 1-6 in postseason play, including the ACC tournament. In six of those losses, we were the higher-seeded team or better seeded in five of those losses. Yet the games weren’t even close.”

Wellman admits at some point he had to ask himself “can that be rectified or should we move in a different direction. I chose to move on.”

That team was Wake Forest 5 years ago….haven’t had one winning record since that time 17-16 and haven’t even made the CBI tourney in same time period.

Comment by milobloom 02.16.16 @ 3:09 pm

good data Reed … Buzz Ridl started 4 and 20 in 68-69 and finished with 25-4 and 18-11 in 73-74 and 74-75. He wasn’t the best coach but was the most important coach at Pitt.

Comment by wbb 02.16.16 @ 3:10 pm

Thanks Reed. So, to summarize, in 109 years Pitt was ranked in the final AP poll 8 times under JD, twice under Ben Howland and only 3 other times. Hmm. (Of course the AP Poll is only 66 years old – started in 1949.) I agree the trend lately is bad but can it be turned around?

H2P!!!

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.16.16 @ 3:15 pm

meant to write one
winning record (17-16)

Comment by milobloom 02.16.16 @ 3:16 pm

@Reed..Been using that site for a few years now…one my favorites….the baseball version is amazing…only place I get stats anymore.

Comment by milobloom 02.16.16 @ 3:17 pm

Milo, the same thing could be said about BC and Skinner. So you have a point. But the clock is ticking.

I think Jamie saves his job if, we make the tournament next year and if Jamie recruits a decent class. If he doesn’t I think it will only be a matter of time.

Not what UPitt and a few others want to hear.

Comment by gc 02.16.16 @ 3:17 pm

When cars fly (or whatever they’ll be called) then we might see an OCS.

Comment by milobloom 02.16.16 @ 3:20 pm

If Jamie can some how squeak in to the tourney this year (I can’t imagine it) it will buy him more time as well.

Comment by gc 02.16.16 @ 3:22 pm

Joe Starkey is catching on too…as well as the commentors:

link to triblive.com

Comment by Jackagain 02.16.16 @ 3:23 pm

Right Milo, like George Jetson, they will build a floating stadium over Oakland, they already own the air rights.

Comment by gc 02.16.16 @ 3:23 pm

Thanks for the link Reed … Lots of mediocre basketball until Howlsnd and Dixon.. 21-0 back in the 20’s… Basketball just filled the time between many a mediocre football season back in the day.. Steelers weren’t winners, Pirates had more downs than up until the 70s.. Thank God no blogs back in those days.. Woulda had more people jumping off bridges..

Comment by BigB 02.16.16 @ 3:28 pm

@gc…..many others as well…..I was just using the two teams playing tonight :-) I think he has two more seasons after this one before it is seriously discussed at top if things continue the same…and as Wake Forest has shown just making the NCAA’s may not be enough.

UPitt is very emotional and wants to make a move based on those emotions. Fans are built with emotions so nothing wrong there…But, if you look at Dixon like it’s a business deal I think one would agree it’s not time to be talking about Dixon being fired yet.

Comment by milobloom 02.16.16 @ 3:30 pm

I would be totally pumped if Archie Miller was the next coach at Pitt!, not sure that would ever happen tho

Comment by Keith 02.16.16 @ 3:31 pm

WBB – I think you bang Jennifer Lawrence at the New OCS in 3 years and the news breaks Dixon is fired while you are doing it in your limo at the game. So all 3 come true and happen at same time.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.16.16 @ 3:47 pm

Milo – For every Wake Forest there is UT and Shaka Smart so that argument doesn’t fly!!!!

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.16.16 @ 3:48 pm

Milo – I’m saying can him at the end of the season after giving him 3 months to find employment and leave and agree to a walk away number. He deserves that 100%. But if he wants to fight it I’d fired him. He has no chance of doing anything for 3-4 years.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.16.16 @ 3:50 pm

Nice record stats Reed. Of course there are now 68 teams in NCAA plus NIT and the pay tournaments plus Pitt had some terrible facilities back then. But I agree JD going nowhere. Frustration has set in because we have built a great place for BB and we are beginning to slide.

Comment by Frank MD 02.16.16 @ 3:51 pm

All this Dixon talk is interesting, but academic. In in an ideal world, Dixon should be whacked….the guy has not recruited anywhere near well enough to field an ACC championship level team. John Wooden couldn’t win the talent Dixon has assembled. And UPitt is right, it is all about the talent.

But here on earth, there is no way in HELL Pitt comes up with the +$12 million (estimated) it would take to buyout Dixon’s contract. Pitt basketball doesn’t have the wealthy alum support needed to come up with that kind of scratch. We could start a “gofundme” account and maybe get things rolling, with, you know, maybe a couple grand….

Hopefully, Barnes forces Dixon to bring in some new “Shady” assistants to recruit. Every program needs a “get it done” guys, who is willing to do what needs to be done to get the next tier talent Pitt needs. Joe Lombardi was that guy in years past. I think Slice was willing to work with people too.

Worst case, some of these assistants get caught bending some rules, then it is easy to self impose a 1-year ban from the tourney and whack Dixon for cause. :)

Comment by Boubacar Aw 02.16.16 @ 3:53 pm

Only saw 3 of MY games in HS. Shied away from contact and liked the outside shot. Watched games with local HS coach who is a HOFamer and he agreed. I stand by the soft statement. Watched Chevy destroy this kid physically and did not understand why he went after him so hard until I learned he was told to try and toughen him up. Rep has always been that .

Let’s get this straight, I am not a JR apologist, it’s just some of the comments are just crazy and most likely made for effect. He is an average point guard who much, much more was expected of. I am really afraid we will miss him next year unless Wilson has an ephinony.

If you think Young is a stud you are really kidding yourself. Physically he cannot play the 4 at next level. Sorry, that’s just the truth. Let’s hope he gets it quickly, like tonight or our season is done.

Comment by JoeKnew 02.16.16 @ 3:55 pm

Dixon saved a woman from a burning car, didn’t he?

He’s a mensch and capable of doing the right thing.

Plus I don’t think he’d suffer he and his family getting vilified a bunch more years.

If it comes down to it, he’ll work out a deal neither will refuse.

Comment by steve1 02.16.16 @ 4:07 pm

I’ve reached the following conclusions based on the body of posts:
1. JD should coach Wake Forest
2. “Great” is a relative term. Because JD took Pitt to the Elite 8 once in more than a decade of coaching he is great. For the blue bloods, one elite 8 in 14 years is miserable.
3. Everyone here has read the Termination for Convenience provisions in JDs contract.
4. Pitt should be happy to be the equivalent of Cliff Robertson in the movie CHARLIE.
5. Barnes is powerless
6. Anyone from Ba Ba Beaver County with the last name of Miller should apply for the HC spot.
7. Pederson could not have screwed up more in his 2nd tenure at Pitt had he tried.

I think Pederson tried to screw it up. He wouldn’t be the first or last employee to sabotage his employer….watch Breach.
Adios.

Comment by Sfpitt 02.16.16 @ 4:15 pm

I hope we treat Wake like we did VA Tech. That was the most fun we have had at the Pete all year.

Comment by gc 02.16.16 @ 4:35 pm

I heard that Pitt’s only chance in BB is to start recruiting heavily abroad. Or maybe it was to recruit some heavy broads. Can’t remember now.

Thank goodness for Coach Duzz and the 2016 FB recruiting class.

Go Pitt.

Comment by MajorMajors 02.16.16 @ 4:55 pm

MajorMajors, we need both.

Comment by gc 02.16.16 @ 5:05 pm

JoeKnew. where did you watch these 3 games with a local high school coach? You do realize that Young played at St Benedict’s in New Jersey, don’t you?

And why are you picking on Young when Artis has attempted only 4 foul shots in the past 6 games … an incredible stat! As Starkey indicated, it’s Artis that needs to get dirty. I don’t even know the stats but I’m willing to state right now that Yonng has been to the foul line more than anyone.

Comment by wbb 02.16.16 @ 5:18 pm

Just looked it up …. Mike Young has attempted 140 free throws, Artis is 2nd with 82. Young has 162 rebounds, Jeter is second 116.

So the soft Michael Young leads the team in both getting to the foul line and getting rebounds? … by far??

Comment by wbb 02.16.16 @ 5:26 pm

Pitt is a 10 point favorite tonight. I hope Pitt can live up to their betting line.

Comment by MariettaMike 02.16.16 @ 5:35 pm

They were on TV you moron!

Comment by JoeKnew 02.16.16 @ 5:41 pm

Sorry for the moron part. Soft is soft, watch when scouting reports come out, bet Upitts goat they say soft.

Comment by JoeKnew 02.16.16 @ 5:44 pm

Hey now!! Leave my goat out of this.

Tonight is a sucker bet. 10 is way to high so I love the bet and the panthers by 10. Remember Vegas is crooked. Everyone will take WF +10.

Panthers by 13!

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.16.16 @ 5:54 pm

10 point favorite now? Wake money must be coming in… 😉

Comment by Jackagain 02.16.16 @ 5:55 pm

Must have been UPitt’s bet that dropped it a point.

Comment by Jackagain 02.16.16 @ 5:55 pm

I dont see Pitt covering. Only way Pitt beats Wake by more than 10 is if Dixon gets a T and is thrown out early on. Then Pitt plays up tempo and wins in a blow out 95-65.

Comment by TX Panther 02.16.16 @ 6:05 pm

I really am sorry about the smart ass remarks, I’m a little crispy. My big time weight lifting younger brother is with us (8th week) as he fell and ruptured both quad tendons!! Amost unheard of, and if any of you have had to take care of a sibling ( in a non life threatening way) you know what I mean!! Spent 3 was in rehab in Fla. Then med flight here! I need a vacation! (Or a Pitt win as I feel it’s been that long!)

Comment by JoeKnew 02.16.16 @ 6:38 pm

I’m late to the party here. But holy crap. Even the well-reasoned and rational article is a little off base. The comments are downright pathological.

I like the Andy Reid example. The problem is the Eagles haven’t been as good since he left. Reid leaving gave Reid an opportunity for more success but not the program he left.

Almost no one except maybe a small handful of coaches in the major sports will have consistent success as a top 10% team. To lose your mind over a couple down years is the kind of thing people that go bankrupt in the stock market do. Panic when things are low rather than riding them out. The most successful programs in all sports tend to have coaches with long tenures, despite that there were bad stretches during those tenures. Look at the Steelers. A top 3 NFL organization. They had bad stretches of multiple years under each Knoll, Cowher and Tomlin but are on the whole a top organization (or the Pats, probably top in the NFL, had at least two different years of the Belichek-Brady era where they missed the playoffs). Or look at the Spurs, the top NBA, a historically great run, and they had years where they barely made the playoffs. Example after example.

But the metaphor i think is the stock market. If you panic when things are low despite being in a by and large robust economy (US has down years, still strongest and most stable economy on earth) you will dig yourself into a hole repeatedly. Until someone can say with some reasonable certainty that there is a better coach that will come to our program, then Dixon is and should be the guy.

Comment by PantherP 02.18.16 @ 3:12 pm

metaphor extension for clarity – if Pitt makes the tourny again, they are a fairly robust and stable program despite not getting stellar results at the moment.

I just don’t want to see this basketball program go through the same embarrassing carousel that the football prgram went through until Narduzzi — who by the way, still has a way to go to actually prove himself. One decent year isn’t enough, if we apply pitt fan logic. But there doesn’t seem to be any pitt fan logic (these are the same people who chased out Wanstache because he didn’t live up to ridiculously unrealistic expectations).

Comment by PantherP 02.18.16 @ 3:16 pm

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