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January 18, 2017

Rebounds Kill Pitt

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 7:24 am

Rarely does a box score show as simply how Pitt lost as the one from Pitt-NC State. Pitt shot better than NC State. From inside the arc, outside and the free throw line. Pitt had a slight edge in turnovers, but it was essentially even. Pitt even blocked more shots.

It was all offensive rebounds and the extra shots they produced. NC State got 18 offensive rebounds to a paltry 6 from Pitt. Their young Turk, Omer Yurtseven had more offensive rebounds (8) than the entire Pitt team. Those offensive rebounds became the extra possessions. The extra shots the Wolfpack needed.

So Pitt could have the slight edge in free throws and threes made, but thanks to 14 — 14!!! — more shot attempts, NC State won on volume.

It wasn’t Pitt being worn down. NC State had 4 players of their own logging more than 30 minutes in the game. Yes, Yurtseven had a clear size advantage on the court, but all too often there were no Pitt players near the basket for offensive rebounds.  NCSU had a 6-1 freshman guard (Markell Johnson) grabbed 3 offensive rebounds, when no Pitt player had more than 2 (Chris Jones).

Everything else falls to the side. Pitt made no attempt to battle on the offensive glass, and were outworked on the other end to allow second chance opportunities.

Pitt wasn’t outplayed. They weren’t dominated by a superior team. At the end, they were just outworked.

Looking back over the board for the last 60 days or so, there are myriad perspectives on how, why, and who is responsible for the shitstorm now appearing at the Pete. There is no consensus. You have the Dixon loyalists and the Stallings apologists with a hefty dose of Barnes disgust thrown in for good measure. The trend of posts suggests most have dug their heels in on their perspective. Fair enough.

So, while we don’t all agree on what got us in this hot mess, our mutually shared passion for Pitt athletics does have us all in the same boat insofar as our utter disappointment and disgust with the current state of affairs. This can lead to downright depression if one dares consider the near term prospect of anything changing for the better anytime soon. It’s no fun staring down the barrel at several years of mediocrity at best. And I still keep coming back to the most cheated constituency of all-the students. Something is seriously wrong with Pitt’s approach to athletics. They talk the talk but are nothing more than the gang that can’t shoot straight when it comes to hiring, and RETAINING, capable AD’s, coaches and staff. If the next AD is more of the same, shackled with the same budgetary restrictions who operates in the Cornhole/Barnes like echo chamber, well, Narduzzi will indeed be gone and the only thing left will be memories.

Comment by wally 01.18.17 @ 9:29 am

Wally…great Post but Pitt has always been a cluster f-ck at most everything they’ve tried! The University is run worse than the US Government. They had to hire an outside firm to run Pitt ticket sales (yes folks, those are not Pitt employees urging you to renew tickets) because they F’d it up so badly….(see Duquesne fight song playing in background while on hold)

When it comes to athletics, Pitt is even worse. Gallagher, like
Nordy before him, approves a new hire and then just turns his back hoping things will run well washing his hands of it. That Barnes is still there cashing a check is inexcusable.

Brutal loss again last night…glad I had a late meeting and missed it. What a mess! I have no answers!

Comment by Dan 72 01.18.17 @ 9:54 am

Being out worked by other teams is something that started when Zana and Patterson graduated. Prior to that very few teams worked as much as or as hard as our guys did and Pitt was the team winning games against teams with better talent through hustle.

I’m sure none of us Pitt fans are having a easy time losing like this.

Chevy Troutman, Dejuan Blair, Gary McGhee, Nasir Robinson, Jaron Brown, Sam Young, Aaron Gray, Levon Kendall, even our guards Tray Woodall, Levance Fields, Carl Krauser you didn’t out hustle or out work those guys. We lost on bad shooting nights and sometimes won on bad shooting nights.

I am not a fan of Kevin’s at all but our current players look like a group of pussies compared to anyone on the list above.

So the blame goes all around. The attitude is weak. We have a group of Primadonnas and this year they have been given the “freedom” to act like pussies.

NO ONE is ever in foul trouble because they don’t play defense. Jones and Jeter are they only ones out there hustling and that’s not getting it done.

Unless Kevin can do something to change the attitude this year is over. I think he has no handle on this team what so ever and this season is lost. Maybe he will surprise me or we will shoot lights out for a few games (these guys can shoot) but I highly doubt that will be enough to salvage an NIT bid.

Comment by Tony in Harrisburg 01.18.17 @ 10:00 am

Chas, I agree completely. And I think it has a lot to do with the frustration Dixon had last year, and that Stallings is showing this year. It really really pains me to say this, but out of the players in the starting lineup I think Chris Jones is playing the toughest. He’s the only one looking to drive consistently (which is a good thing considering his jump shot) and he got the only offensive putback in that brutal ending stretch last night. Which is why Luther’s absence is hurting – he was playing the 2nd toughest.

Sure, Jeter gets a lot of rebounds but I think that’s based on his initial positioning, I don’t see him FIGHTING for them. Young, Artis, Johnson, and Jeter are all perimeter players at heart, this year and last year. THAT is the problem with this team, not the coach. The coach this year and last year pleaded for them to play inside, it just wasn’t happening.

Comment by KeyboardKev 01.18.17 @ 10:01 am

The team is one-dimensional. It shoots very well – at times. But it does not defend, rebound, post-up or drive to the hoop.

Comment by wbb 01.18.17 @ 10:13 am

I guess I have checked out, totally forgot there was a game last night, and didn’t remember till I saw the paper this morning. Glad I did.

Way more than enough blame to go around. Two ACC level players just not enough. Especially when one is injured. The only competent bench player is injured. No guard, no center.

Changing from a system of ultimate micromanagement to one of ultimate freedom, not an easy transition.

Blame whoever you like, you can’t be wrong.

Total rebuild next year, we haven’t bottomed out yet.

Comment by gc 01.18.17 @ 10:58 am

Not playing Nix last night was about as dumb as it gets. Yurseven is out there grabbing rebounds all over the place & Our 7′ who has 60+ pounds on him is watching from the bench. He may not add much offensively, but he can box out the big guy & grab rebounds.

Comment by Nick 01.18.17 @ 11:00 am

Although Jamie had jumped the shark here because of his inability to recruit, he is obviously the best coach we ever had. Not a surprise when a guy isn’t able to follow a legend. I think Stallings tenure will be short. Odds are very long that he can recruit well enough to make us competitive again.

Pitt Fans and media will not be as complacent as Vandy. A half filled Pete won’t sit well with the Administration for long, and it may be worse.

Comment by gc 01.18.17 @ 11:07 am

Take at look at the standings and I can’t remember the last Pitt team, that was at the bottom of the conference standings in Middle January.

link to

Comment by EMel 01.18.17 @ 1:19 pm

I don’t know much about basketball from an x’s and o’s standpoint but I never miss a Pitt game. I feel like the team and fanbase had a great amount of confidence about this season and for all of us, it went down the shitter during the first half of the Syracuse game. Between MY”s injury and being totally embarrassed at the Carrier Dome, something in attitude has changed. Every game now feels like a loss before we play. What can Stallings and the boys do to get back to the way they were when they beat UVA and Maryland?

Comment by AJ 01.18.17 @ 1:26 pm

I guess that disastrous 2011-2012 team (Birch’s third of a season and Gibb’s Senior yr) started the conference slate 0-7.

That team sort of burst the Pitt bubble, no they did burst the bubble.

Started the double digit losses every year. We were no longer near elite.

Portend of things to come.

If you have a Corvette, do you put retreads on it ?

Comment by EMel 01.18.17 @ 1:26 pm

That team had to have the leftover hangover effects from the very disappointing loss to Butler in the 2nd Round of the NCAA’s the previous season.

After Pitt was a #1 seed. That Pitt team was in the Top 5 the whole season, except for one week at #8 in mid December.

The Halcyon days of Pitt basketball.

Comment by EMel 01.18.17 @ 1:32 pm

~ AJ

The only kid we have who can post up is MY and he is now ‘gun shy’ with the broken orbital thing. Not that he was keen on posting up this year anyway and KS seemed to be alright with that.

When the other teams tighten up their defense, these guys outside shots start clanging off the rim.

You see it before the end of the 1st half in just about every game and usually the last 10 minutes of the game.

Syracuse & L-Ville came out the shoot playing tough D and therefore the struggles, when they had a HUGE leads built up, they backed off and we started making some. It’s as simple as that.

Comment by EMel 01.18.17 @ 1:40 pm

As far was what they can do, to get back to where they were. Not much, imo.

Since we have basically no bench now (with Luther out) and not much of a bench even with him, that limits what you can do.

Somebody mentioned that Artis & Young don’t pick up fouls or defend. That is correct, however if they did defend more, they would get more fouls and we’ve seen how horrible a team we are with either on the bench. So not that they were great defenders before, but I’m sure KS doesn’t want them getting into foul trouble. For that is an instant loss.

There are no competent backups at so many positions, it’s almost surreal.

For those that say we wouldn’t have lost these games this year with Dixon as HC, I think we would have most certainly. Dixon lost as many as 17 games in one year.

There is no one on the bench for Dixon to micromanage with. This team in a halfcourt game is bad, Dixon is halfcourt minded. Does Dixon use Artis at PG, I doubt it. Kithcart isn’t a D1 player, this year. He might be down the road, by he isn’t this year. And really no one on the bench is at this point.

Comment by EMel 01.18.17 @ 1:50 pm

@Chas It is indeed rather stark when you look at the box score. Pitt outshoots NC State across the board but NC State with 15 more FG attempts. NC State with 12 more offensive rebounds.

@Tony It’s true regarding Zanna and Patterson. Zanna a very good rebounder. Zanna averaged 8.6 rebounds his senior year and more than a third were offensive. He average 6.4 as a junior and almost half were offensive. Jeter and Young are averaging 7.6 and 7.4 respectively this season. Jeter just under a third offensive.

@Emel 2011-2012 also the year after McGhee, Brown and Wanamaker graduated. The two returning starters were seniors Ashton Gibbs (a defensive liability) and Nasir Robinson (a 6-5 power forward). 2011 recruiting class a total write-off. 2010 slightly better. Truly was when things started to change.

Comment by Barvo 01.18.17 @ 1:59 pm

Although it’s not fair to judge Stallings yet in my opinion, I’m concerned that he will not work out, based on: his historical performance at Vandy, and the apparent lack of defensive philosophy. Pitt’s zone is still bady over-rotating and leaving uncontested shots with regularity.

Young is very much like Zanna, a power forward asked to play Center because we don’t have a Center (except Nix, who is not playing). But what I miss most as a fan is the toughness we used to play with. If there’s one thing I’d want to restore asap, it’d be that.

Comment by 1618mt 01.18.17 @ 2:41 pm

Still not sure I buy that Pitt doesn’t have a bench. They have guys recruited to play at Pitt by the previous coach.

In the 6 conference games:

Milligan has played a total of 19 minutes
Wilson has played a total of 27 minutes
Nix has played a total of 6 minutes
Manigault has played a total of 17 minutes

Each player hit their high game during garbage time in the Miami blowout with Young impaired and Luther out. Wilson also served as designated fouler against Louisville and Syracuse.

Given the very limited playing time it seems that a lot of faith is being placed in Stallings judgement not to play them when claiming that Pitt has no depth.

Let’s take the case of Damon Wilson. Wilson averaged almost 11 minutes a game last season as a true freshman and he was injured the first few weeks. He’s averaging just over 6 this season and has been healthy as far as I know. Did Dixon overuse him last year? Has he regressed? Is Kithcart or Jones demonstrably better? Is the team demonstrably better? Kithcart getting nearly 15 minutes a game and Jones 32.

Wilson was a consensus 4 star with numerous ACC and SEC offers. Milligan was an accomplished JUCO player on a good team who was originally offered by Tennessee and Creighton. He was also recruited by NC State while in high school.

Personally I see the depth things as a choice rather than being imposed. For example Dixon played McGhee when spelling Blair. McGhee was nowhere near the player as a FR and SO that he became as a JR or SR. Wanamaker played for Fields as a FR and SO. I know McGhee and Wanamaker made some cringe when they entered the game as FR and SO but it certainly worked out in the long run.

Comment by Barvo 01.18.17 @ 2:56 pm

Barvo – Unfortunately, Wilson has not looked good when he’s been in the games, this year or last. He doesn’t have a very good handle, so I think for him to contribute he’d need to shoot it well, and unfortunately he doesn’t do that either. Seems like a great kid, I hope he develops his shot. My guess is he transfers…

Neither Manigualt, Milligan or Nix have gotten a fair chance to show what they can do in live competition, so this must mean they haven’t earned their chances based on practice, in the coach’s opinion. From what I’ve seen, Milligan is a better player, right now, than Kithcart, it is befuddling as to why he doesn’t play more. Maybe he keeps tying Stallings’ shoes together in the locker room?

Comment by 1618mt 01.18.17 @ 4:04 pm

My guess for a starting 5 for Dixon would be Wilson, Jones, Artis, Jeter, & Young in that order. Then you would have Milligan, Johnson, Luther, & Nix off the bench with Young & Jeter switching between the 4 & 5 depending on who else was in there, & Artis doing the same between the 2,3, & 4. Pitt would probably be 2-4, everyone would still be pissed off, & not going to games.

Comment by Nick 01.18.17 @ 8:55 pm

Playing defense in basketball is more about playing hard than it is about coaching or talent. Tony’s right, what this team has demonstrated so far is that they are soft and lazy on defense. You can score a lot of points and still play a tough, aggressive defense (see Lville and WVU to name a couple).

Comment by HbgFrank 01.18.17 @ 9:17 pm

Need Luther back- soon

Comment by joec 01.18.17 @ 9:56 pm

You might be right Barvo…about the lack of minutes for the bench.

I’m assuming they aren’t doing much in practice to warrant any playing time.

Some of them did play earlier in the non-con and didn’t perform to well from my recollection.

Pitt had big leads in some of those games, put the subs in, only to see it dwindle and ended up having to put the starters back in to ..close it out.

I had been calling for more minutes for Rosie since he’s a big body, that would clog the middle, a spaceeater if you will. Kid always hustles and goes after rebounds.

I would have had Nix playing more in the non-con, so MY could be at the 4…but again I don’t see what they’re doing at practice.

All rather perplexing. I thought Wilson would be a contributor as well. He seems really ‘out of sorts’ when he’s in there and gets the quick ‘hook’. Milligan has a decent outside shot, but against larger players he has trouble getting it off. Kitchcart can’t shoot, but can drive, but doesn’t do much of that either. Whether any of them develop under Stallings is very much in question.

Comment by EMel 01.19.17 @ 1:43 am

Was listening to XM84 radio last night on the way home from the airport – several discussions involving college BB by Seth Greenberg and Marc Packer that involved Pitt, TCU, wvcc and psu.

Pitt: two callers and several points made – in summary, Seth says a new coach must have a vision/plan, communicate that vision/plan to the fans and then go execute that vision/plan. The results then should mirror that plan for you to last longer than three years.

Did we get a vision and/or plan?

Seth also said if you don’t get the results that match your vision/plan, you better have a tight relationship with your AD – lmao.

They then referenced recruiting and said if you miss one year with recruits, you are set back two years. So, we missed at least three – a set back one year is hard to deal with, but six?

Oh, and you have to have a point guard – Artis and Young can’t bring up the ball like they have – direct from a Seth.

All this was said over a period of about an hour and HCKS’ name was never mention – just that Pitt is in trouble AND can find a way our this year because of Young/Artis.

TCU – both said Jamie can coach and is proving it.

wvcc – chance this year to be NC. Ugh!!!

psu – up and comer – good but struggle to score, like Wisconsin last year.

Good teams Pitt beat this year – MD, UVA were also mentioned as teams that could make a deep tournament run this year, as was nd in that same conversation.

My question this morning is this: Who is Kevin Stallings accountable to with no AD?

If there was a vision/plan presented by HCKS, can someone direct me to it so I can be better informed – thanks…

Comment by Erie Express 01.19.17 @ 6:19 am


Interesting comments.

I don’t agree PSU is an up-and-comer in hoops, that was just the guys being ‘nice’; they got 2 good recruits that are helping them this year, but that’s from one assistant, and both players came from the same high school I believe? In order for them to become somewhere near an average program, they’d need to recruit well longer term, and something would have to change pretty dramatically for that to happen.

Regarding Jamie, of course he’s a good coach, everybody knows that. The difference now is he hired some staff to help him to recruit. For some reason he was not willing to do that at Pitt, so it was time for him to leave. No regrets, he did have to go, since he couldn’t recruit here at Pitt any more.

Regarding the Mounties, they have a good team, but not great. They lost last night to a decent team, but on their home court. They play in a pretty weak conference, they will get their wins.

Needless to say, we need to make the right hire for our next AD, then develop a replacement plan for bringing in a new coach. Our program has much more potential in hoops than any of the others mentioned above.

Comment by 1618mt 01.19.17 @ 8:22 am

PSU may well be an up-and-comer simply because they finally realized that they had to hire a coach with Philly connections. Think what a fertile recruiting ground Philly/NJ is, yet they had never tapped into it.

PSU currently has 3 freshman from Philly (I believe all went to the same school) who are playing well. Also, they just beat MSU in a game played at the Palestra .. a league game!

If PSU can continue recruit Philly area, then it can succeed. FWIW, this is the main reason for Pitt’s current downfall IMO … we can’t recruit the NYC/NJ/Philly anymore

Comment by wbb 01.19.17 @ 8:30 am


You hit the nail on the head.

Why didn’t Stallings play Manigault, Wilson, etc. more during the crap games? They can easily give some minutes and the experience wold have been great for them.

That is the most puzzling thing about this coach.

Comment by notrocketscience 01.19.17 @ 8:31 am

notrocket, you may remember that in many of the pre-season games, we took a big lead in the 1st half but then had to hold on to win them. I always thought that part of the reason for that was that the starters were getting too many minutes, and were losing their legs as the game progressed. I couldn’t believe that the younger players didn’t get more PT, if just for 3 minutes stretch.

Comment by wbb 01.19.17 @ 8:43 am

BTW, just checked PSU stats this year. The top 5 scorers are either freshmen or sophomores … 4 of them are from Philly .. 3 of them are from Roman Catholic HS.

Comment by wbb 01.19.17 @ 8:45 am

wbb – yes, they would have to continue to recruit well. They are better this year already, if they want to rise to level of average B10 program, they would need to continue getting players. The 2 good philly players I believe were the ones from Roman Catholic, due to one assistant with ties. Not exactly a trend yet.

Comment by 1618mt 01.19.17 @ 8:52 am

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