March 21, 2016

Here’s a simple reality. It is very likely that Pitt basketball is going to slip a little further in the short term before it improves.

Complain about the disappointments of this season, but there aren’t that many examples of programs that lost their head coach after being in the NCAA Tournament — and improving immediately. Let alone tread water. In the last five years, the only examples that spring to mind are just this past year: Shaka Smart to Texas, Iowa State under Steve Prohm and Will Wade at VCU. And again, all three didn’t do dramatically better. They stayed constant.

There are just so many changes. From style of play, lost recruiting class, transfers, graduations.

If you have been saying that the problem with Pitt under Dixon in the last few years is the talent on the court, then whoever the coach is won’t be able to do much about that for next year and possibly the year after.

It is very likely that Pitt will lose at least one member of the present recruiting class. And you may not think that highly of the class, but the program still needs players. At the very least it was a solid 3-4 star class.

Justice Kithcart had a fantastic senior year, and has been rising in recruiting rankings. ESPN already upped him to a 4-star and Rivals is expected to in their final rankings. If he asks for his release — and the absolutely right thing for Pitt or any program would be to grant it after a coaching change — the demand for his services will be big at this time of the year. It almost certain that coaches from other programs are indirectly reaching out to him even as you read this.

Corey Manigault is giving thoughts to his future.

Crisshawn Clark is unknown, but I have to imagine he is giving it some serious thought.

I don’t think there will be much in the way of transfers with the way this team is constructed. Young, Artis, Jeter and Jones will all be seniors. Luther and Johnson are local kids. You have the JUCOs in Milligan and Nix who both sat out this year. Unlikely that they would want to lose a year and sit. The only possible question mark could be Damon Wilson, but given how much playing time he is in line to get, that seems unlikely.

No matter who the next coach is, the pressure is huge for the 2017 recruiting class with 4 open spots (possibly 5 or more). The team is in decent shape for next year, but then the players really turn over.

Dixon is using I’m going back to my alma mater as an excuse. Nobody that’s good wants Dixon right now.

Comment by Steve h 03.22.16 @ 3:44 pm

And that includes AD Barnes

Comment by Steve h 03.22.16 @ 3:45 pm

Good reads guys. I never expected any Miller to come here and never really wanted them either…but I didn’t not want them.
The beauty of this is that great coaches ARE OUT THERE. The challenge is that most of them look odinary unles you hunt for the proven beauty queens.
Barnes reeks with confidence and more importantly, he has wisdom.
I have no idea who will be named coach. But I know we will get a good coach who will motivate these guys to play hard in 16-17 and will recruit his but off.
Those are 2 skill sets that have been lacking the last 5 years.

Comment by Sfpitt 03.22.16 @ 5:53 pm

BJ – I think you need to listen to Barnes’s press conference again. He talked for a full day with Dixon trying to keep him at Pitt. If Pitt didn’t want Dixon there would be a three sentence exchange.

JD: TCU offered me and I’m going to take it.

SB: OK, have a good time at your alma mater.

JD: Thanks – I’ll have my office cleaned out by the end of the week.

Let’s don’t think that this was a Paul Chryst type of move where everyone and his brother saw it coming as soon as the current HC at Wisconsin moved on… Hell, we knew he’d take that Wisconsin job after his 2nd year at Pitt.

Paul Zeise clearly relays some of the conversations he had with the Pitt administration in this blog excerpt:

“As of Sunday night, most of the people I talked to said Dixon would not leave Pitt. But Monday morning, I had some of the same people saying “well, he is considering it but I don’t think he will leave” and then by noon it was “he is going through the process but ultimately he will change his mind and stay.” By early afternoon it was “actually, he is really leaning that way and it will take a real change of heart for him to stay.”

Now, read that three times slowly and you’ll see that Pitt very much wanted Dixon to stay and were trying to talk themselves into believing that he’d do so.

Again, Pitt fans need to look at things squarely as the actually and not try to spin things the way they themselves want them to be.

Dixon bagged on Pitt – it certainly wasn’t the other way around.

Comment by Reed 03.22.16 @ 6:30 pm

good riddance. his teams never could beat a higher seed in the tourney..

Comment by goalie44 03.22.16 @ 8:25 pm

Chas, the main reason things will get worst was the poor recruiting. The new coaches should not make that much difference the first year.

7 and 5 that’s the years Dixon was at PITT. Seven good, five not so good.

I’m starting to realize why Barnes cut him (Dixon) loose.

I an a Dixon guy.

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 03.23.16 @ 12:55 am

Never won a NC and with an impressive resume (per standard media deception) and neither too old nor too young he takes a step down to a lower rung on the ladder, going to a program that has no chance of winning a NC. Indicates to me he has no intention of winning a NC. Says it all. I maintain he couldn’t handle the pressure. His comfort level was BE gyms, where his initial conditioning was as asst to a real coach. The right guy is out there. You couldn’t bring in A Miller after his bro declined. PN has a burning desire to win which implies wanting a NC whether stated or not. Barnes needs to hire a man with the same fire who views Pitt as the vehicle and can import and resupply the talent. By moving to TCU Dixon is abandoning the quest that drives the great ones.

Comment by Old School Panther 03.23.16 @ 6:48 am

Pitt’s AD had to correct a wrong that his predecessor made. Jamie is a good coach, just not a $3M type of coach with a career-ending contract. The stars were aligned for Jamie, TCU and Pitt. Jamie took Pitt as far as he could. The next “CEO” will be someone who can take Pitt to a higher tier in the ACC and NCCAA in general.

I give AD Barnes credit for saving Pitt $$ and giving him freedom to move Pitt’s program up a notch. It may take a year or two (or even a coach or two) but Pitt will compete for an ACC championship just as they did in the Big East.

Blatherites working in corporate America know the drill — what have you done for me lately.

Jamie had a good run at Pitt and will have another good run at TCU.

Comment by MariettaMike 03.23.16 @ 7:35 am

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