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January 24, 2017

7pm, ESPNU.

Welp, this should be… something.

After Jamel Artis put the team on his back and nearly dragged them to an improbable comeback two weeks ago, you can bet Louisville Coach Rick Pitino has his team zeroed in on making sure Artis is defended at all times. Very likely with some double-teams and trying to trap as much as possible.

In theory, this should open things up for other Pitt players on the court to have opportunities with open looks and open drives to the basket. Whether that translates to points is anyone’s guess.

Of course, the game takes on a secondary feel after yesterday.

In the media availability session yesterday, Coach Kevin Stallings set the tone by talking about the team’s struggle to be willing to play defense and a lack of leadership. You can watch the videos of interviews on the game notes page.

I’m not saying all of it was laid at the feet of the seniors. But most of it was.

“I haven’t got them to buy into the way we have to play defensively,” Stallings said. “I haven’t got them to buy into the way we need to communicate, the way we need to support each other, the way we have to fight when adversity hits.”

Stallings conceded Pitt is restricted by its lack of depth, especially with top sub Ryan Luther (foot) still “weeks away” from returning. But the team does have the perceived advantage of four senior starters. Young, Jeter, Jamel Artis and Chris Jones came into this season with a combined total of 400 career games played.

“These seniors have some things they are comfortable with, but if there is any deviation, the comfort leaves,” Stallings said. “Even though it might not be the best way to attack a particular defense, I have to be mindful of putting these guys in situations that they are more comfortable in, rather than being more strategic.”

So, their comfortable with all the freedom on offense, but not so much when actually asked to do something on defense. Promising.

Senior Sheldon Jeter admitted he “checked out a little bit” in frustration during two practices after Pitt’s loss to N.C. State last week.

Senior Michael Young, a four-year starter, talked about the difficulty of setting an example for younger teammates.

Other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?

The issue, at least as far as Stallings sees it, is that the seniors don’t want to lead.

“I think what I probably overestimated would be the value of that experience and how it would pertain to leadership and how it would pertain to bringing other guys along,” Stallings said. “The successful programs I’ve been in and the teams I’ve had and the programs I’ve had, the older guys helped coach the younger guys because they had been through it. That doesn’t happen too much [here] right now.

“The idea in any program is the older guys — especially if they’re the better ones, which they are in our program right now — reach out to their teammates and help bring those guys along and help make those guys better. That part has been a little bit of a disappointment because there’s not a ton of that that goes on. You talk to guys about being more outward and making guys better. That’s just not in their nature. It’s not how they’ve been used to doing things, apparently.”

Much of that problem, as Stallings sees it, isn’t related to an unwillingness to lead; rather, it ties back to the players’ more mellow, laid-back personalities, ones that weren’t relied upon for guidance in the past as Pitt had established, veteran voices such as former point guard James Robinson.

Sheldon Jeter felt that was a little harsh, but admitted that they are missing someone to take charge.

Jeter, who said he understands Stallings’ feelings but doesn’t see that same leadership void, noted the adjustment to life without Robinson, a four-year starter, has been problematic at times.

“It was a difficult transition,” Jeter said. “Some of us are outward as far as giving energy to the team. Some of us are inward as far as … I don’t want to say worrying about themselves, but their energy is directed more inward. James was always an outward person. He was the one that would get us in huddles and do stuff like that. In some ways, we do miss that leadership, but at the same time, I think there’s still leadership on this team.”

I just can’t wait until someone tries to blame the lack of leadership on the team this year on James Robinson. “See, Robinson was too in charge. He ran things and no one else was given a chance…”

Jeter and Jamel Artis know what to say. They give honest, well-thought out answers when interviewed. Yet, neither seems to take charge of the team in the game. Mike Young, openly admits his leadership effort is by example.

“It’s really hard, individually, to come with the same energy, every day, the same fight, the same will, the same desire every day,” [Young] said. “(Leadership) is moreso being coachable. For me, it’s moreso just about being a guy the coaches want me to be.”

Jeter said leadership isn’t totally lacking.

“If he (Stallings) feels that way, as players we need to re-evaluate,” Jeter said. “He’s probably justified in feeling that way. I guess I understand it. I don’t see it.”

I have to assume some of this is calculated by Stallings to get the players fired up and focused for tonight. That in the practices for the past week, he’s seen a team that may be on the verge of totally checking out on the season. Letting the adversity, injuries and losses have them give up now.

We’ll see whether it worked. Not even in terms of winning or losing. But whether there is effort across the board. If not, undermanned or not. I wouldn’t be surprised if some players find themselves in diminished roles regardless of being better than the players behind them.

Pat Narduzzi ?@CoachDuzzPittFB 11m11 minutes ago

Pooh To Pitt!!! #H2P

And what exactly does this mean?

Comment by PittofDreams 01.24.17 @ 9:33 pm

Let’s have a playoff– Johnstown vs Bradford for a chance to play out the season. I go back as far as 1959 with Pitt bb and tonight is without a doubt the worst showing I have ever seen.
Pitt was so short handed in 1959-1960 the team used Big MikevDitka to bash heads under the boards!!

I hate to single one player, because it is unfair, however, poor Mr Kithcart is so far over his head that his performance record sums up Pitt Basketball under the current regime. SAD!

Comment by Isnore 01.24.17 @ 9:35 pm

I just heard Rockports on the postgame. He makes Dixon sound eloquent. Dixon would “um” after every sentence. Stallings every other word. Same thing after NC State game. My ten year old actually commented on it.

Stallings doubling down on calling out the seniors. He did indeed state that there will be long-term options. Not seeing them in the current 2017 class and the appearance of a quarter filled Pete for ACC games will probably put Stallings on a very hot seat.

Just a reminder that Stallings recruited Jeter. Not sure what that says about him if he’s not happy with Jeter.

I predict the bottom falling out on Saturday. I think this team is about to totally quit on Stallings. A home loss to Clemson clinches it.

Nice to see Zeise at least coming around to reality. Of course not admitting he was wrong about anything…

Comment by Barvo 01.24.17 @ 9:36 pm

CBS has us playing Duke Saturday Feb. 4th on national TV at 1:00 just 3 games away from now. LOL…..they better reconsider.

Comment by Jackagain 01.24.17 @ 9:39 pm

My advise to Stallings then….don’t play them. Let them start then yank them and play the walk-ons if he has to.

Comment by Jackagain 01.24.17 @ 9:42 pm

Upcoming games our schedule:

Penn State York
Colorado School of Mines
Brooklyn College

What are the odds against us breaking even?

Comment by Isnore 01.24.17 @ 9:45 pm

Mona – He is playing in Siberia. Not exactly the NBA Hunny.

Comment by Upittbaseball 01.24.17 @ 9:46 pm

If anyone can’t see that STALLINGS has lost this team they suffer from blindness!

This SAME team has played well and beat good teams this year. They have been publicly called out by the guy that is supposed to be in their corner.

Their coach thought it was a good idea to let it be known that it’s the players fault not his for them not getting what he is laying down.

F-ck that clown. If he’s a teacher he would have figured out how to get through to these kids without going to the media.

He is clueless and grasping at straws and tossing these guys under the bus to save his own neck.

It’s a weasel move and personally makes me sick.

Comment by Tony in Harrisburg 01.24.17 @ 9:46 pm

isnore – Haha I recruit CSOM’s. LOL

Comment by Upittbaseball 01.24.17 @ 9:47 pm

Mona – I mean Bosnia. Not sure that beats Siberia.

Comment by Upittbaseball 01.24.17 @ 9:47 pm

Barvo – I’m crying. Rockport Ronnie Stallings.

Comment by Upittbaseball 01.24.17 @ 9:48 pm

@Tony in Harrisburg 01.24.17 @ 9:46 pm

Eloquent words Sir. Agree 100%

Comment by Tommymac 01.24.17 @ 9:49 pm

Tony…100% spot on

Comment by DD 01.24.17 @ 9:50 pm

Stallings threw the team under the bus at the post game presser. Said they played bad defense.

Well duh.

Comment by Tommymac 01.24.17 @ 9:50 pm

Paul Zeise ?@PaulZeise 2 minutes ago

First call of night – “I saw the Pitt players out drinking too many Panther bombs at Peter’s Pub over the weekend and that’s what happened.”

Comment by Jackagain 01.24.17 @ 9:51 pm

Thank goodness I didn’t watch the game. How did Stallings get tossed out of game?

Comment by MariettaMike 01.24.17 @ 9:53 pm

UPITT- So can we keep up with CSOM’s?

Comment by Isnore 01.24.17 @ 9:55 pm

BTW….you guys missed a good NCIS tonight….

Comment by Jackagain 01.24.17 @ 9:58 pm

Is it possible that these guys are unconscionable??’ Did Dixon see this??, that with a combination of zero depth…did he run as fast as he could?!

Did he see this coming??

I don’t know that we are better with him right now??, I don’t know that Rick pitiono would do much better?!?!

Comment by Keith 01.24.17 @ 9:58 pm

Hoopies upset #2 Kansas…Pitt loses in historical manner.



Comment by Tommymac 01.24.17 @ 10:00 pm

With our soon to be forgotten AD Pitt has a total disaster on its hands. A coach who is clueless, a team that is completely out to lunch and NO way to rectify the mess. Recruiting for next year could begin to look like a repeat of the football fiasco when Fraud flew the coop.

Comment by Isnore 01.24.17 @ 10:01 pm

@Keith – Dixon forced these guys to at least play D and rebound 75% of the time. They were disciplined on the offensive end.

They would be in the middle of the pack this year with Dixon…again. He would have coached Kithcart up enough to be serviceable – a poor mans JR.

Dixon is a good coach – just that his system was average in today’s BBall environment – he could win most of the time in the regular season but it was kludge in the modern post season.

Comment by Tommymac 01.24.17 @ 10:04 pm

At least we have a Pharmacy College guy leading Athletics. Is there a more ass backwards program in the US?

AD Resigned after 15 months and still on payroll
Recruiters used to scratch an ass
Pharmacy College Fill In
Hoops Coach used to work at JC Pennies
Got rid of old coach and lowered buyout
paid a buyout for Stallings right before he was being fired
Uniforms with numbers that are moronic
50 yard line artwork by Carrick 4th grade

Comment by Upittbaseball 01.24.17 @ 10:05 pm

Hey UPitt at least men’s wrestling is doing with that great coach of theirs, I mean….err, I mean, oh forget it.

Wait didn’t mens soccer hire that all-star coach? They must have won a few games this year right? Oh, what? Oh…forget it.

Comment by DD 01.24.17 @ 10:16 pm


Baseball Coach goes under .500 and they extend his contract.

Did the wrestling coach screw a cheerleader or something? Or gets blitz in his Pitt Gear at Mitchell’s Pub?

Comment by Upittbaseball 01.24.17 @ 10:24 pm

According to rumor 3 Pitt wrestlers hired a hooker and then were robbed by her. They were disciplined by the team….

Not sure how Coach was involved but the BOT gave him the Hook.

Comment by Tommymac 01.24.17 @ 10:27 pm

A loss to Duquesne and a 50+ point home loss in a conference game???? I have to hand it to UPitt; he called it last spring before the Stallings presser. He wanted Pederson out…and they managed to get an even a bigger bozo in Barnes. Only Pitt could have done worse. The next two years will make you have fond memories of the Ralph Willard era. Remember when Jason “Air” Maile was the leading scorer in the Big East tourney??? Get ready Boston College, the Panthers are coming to join you.

Comment by Dallas Mike 01.24.17 @ 10:30 pm

As I posted a week or so ago… DON’T be confused and think that Dixon was still an option.

Gallagher and Barnes wanted CHANGE… And Dixon clearly wanted OUT!

TCU coming available was the CLINCHER.

The only thing left was Jamie following the advice of his Agent and shaking Pitt down for a few more MILLION!

If Dixon was EVER going to leave, the Table was set.

Become Head Coach at your Alma Mater and get out from under a BAD Team about to get a LOT WORSE with the graduation of Artis and Young.

Who could blame blame him?

Comment by PittofDreams 01.24.17 @ 10:31 pm

I don’t fault Dixon for leaving…

I fault the hiring process used to replace him and the result of that process. There were well qualified coaches out there – don’t be fooled.

Comment by Tommymac 01.24.17 @ 10:33 pm

Missed the entire game as I was in a meeting. Thank God!
Following the Steeler debacle the last things Pittsburghers need was this kind of performance. There is never an excuse for a coach getting tossed, especially down 50!

Obviously I was very wrong about Stallings. He doesn’t fit at Pitt. Tomorrow would be a very good day for him to resign.

We need a young enthusiastic head coach who players can relate to. Personally I like the Ft Wayne coach. I know Nordy sticks his head in the sand but he needs to make a move now.

And while he’s at it, it’s time to say goodbye to our worthless AD! What in the hell is going on at our U?????

Comment by Dan 72 01.24.17 @ 10:33 pm

UNC Wilmington Coach is still available…great up and comer.

Comment by Tommymac 01.24.17 @ 10:39 pm

If you want someone who works for you out of a you lock in better replacement BEFORE you make the move.

Business 101

Comment by Tony in Harrisburg 01.24.17 @ 10:40 pm

Forgot there was a game (wonder why).

Wow, what a beatdown. 51-18 at halftime.

I knew that 2nd half surge at L-Ville was more a product of them losing interest than Pitt being good.

Comment by EMel 01.24.17 @ 10:41 pm

@Emel – 2cd worse loss in Pitt History…only 1906 loss by 93 points to Westminster was worse.

Stallings lost the team the students the press and the fans tonight.

Comment by Tommymac 01.24.17 @ 10:43 pm

so flustered I can’t type. Goodnight to the many suffering Panthers fans across the nation. I fear we will share many of these nights of woe in the coming years.

Comment by Tony in Harrisburg 01.24.17 @ 10:43 pm

What’s really crazy is Herman gets to hire another new head BBall coach at Oregon STate when he gets there.

The Beavers are 0-7 in the PAC 12 and 4-16 overall.

Wayne Tinkle’s days are numbered.

Herman to the Rescue ! (maybe he can take Stallings with him)

Comment by EMel 01.24.17 @ 10:44 pm

Disagree Tommy Mac, without a pt guard, shooting guard, power forward or center, Dixon would have had them right where they are.

Comment by alcofan 01.24.17 @ 10:44 pm

St. Patrick’s sixth grade coach would be an upgrade.
Start Nix and every other stiff on the bench. Wanna play, then do it my way.
They get free tuition, don’t they? Room and board? Smoothies?
Act like you care.

Comment by Gasman 01.24.17 @ 10:45 pm

Barnes is waiting for Stallings to shake down Pitt for a buyout and then hire him at Oregon St. They’ll split the money when he gets there.

Comment by Jackagain 01.24.17 @ 10:51 pm

Dixon had coached these guys for 3 years already without a true center…only losing Robinson at point.

He would have coached up Kithcart to be a serviceable poor man’s JR who could drive and assist but not shoot.

Nix would have gotten more time in the early games and would have been able to put in 7 to 12 minutes a game eating up fouls and blocking the lane.

Dixon would not have lost to Dusquesne. Dixon would be by all odds be 3-4 at worst in the ACC right now.

I am not sad Dixon left…I am horrified at his replacement.

Comment by Tommymac 01.24.17 @ 10:51 pm

Jack don’t forget the recruiting fee that fat fuck barnes will split with his ex boss cronyism.

Comment by Upittbaseball 01.24.17 @ 10:55 pm

Pitt wrestlers bought a hooker and got robbed and what is the problem with that? They must have paid her with autographs and Pitt gear…NCAA violation, you know…

Comment by DD 01.24.17 @ 11:02 pm

Hooker robbed them no biggie. Barnes and Stallings Robbing Pitt of 3M.

Comment by Upittbaseball 01.24.17 @ 11:08 pm

They paid her with Men’s BBall tickets…

Comment by Tommymac 01.24.17 @ 11:19 pm

Coach says 1-2 Bench players and at least one senior have already checked out of the season…

5 starters are best defenders – no one on Bench is better…and the starters know it so they don’t worry about being pulled…

Says no ACC level talent behind Luther…

He saw the tapes in the summer – why the fuck didn’t he address those last 2 issues then when he could have gotten juco’s????

What a cluster. F*ck You Barnes.

Comment by Tommymac 01.24.17 @ 11:24 pm

Guys who have checked out throw off the team and play walk-ons if you have to.

Comment by Jackagain 01.24.17 @ 11:29 pm

Chas I really appreciate and enjoy your basketball knowledge and insight, and sharing with us. Not to say I don’t appreciate your football articles, I do very much. I just feel there are so few guys in this town that write any quality basketball articles. Thanks!

I don’t even know where to start, so I won’t. I’d be up all night. For those that watched the Stallings post game presser, he is even throwing the underclassmen under the bus. He’s right. This team from top to bottom is a disaster. He doesn’t have the time, energy, or coaching acumen to fix this. He just doesn’t. So when do you cut ties? Firing him after one year is a financial and perception nightmare. I guess 3 years sounds about right?

College football letter of intent day is almost a national holiday. Basketball not so much. I believe it’s in May. Thus far he has a decent class put together, certainly not a class that can come in and make this a tournament team next year. Do the current commits bail? This is a dumpster fire. They know a new AD is coming in. They have to realize that the odds of this staff being there through their 4 years are slim.

This staff’s best option is not only fill the four departing seniors scholarships but get some of the underclassmen to move on. Hell, he even said there is a bench guy or 2 that have checked out due to lack of perceived playing time. No doubt Damon Wilson is one of those guys. He needs to get as many of his guys in the program as possible and hope to hell the next year or two show promise or he is gone.

I guess I did get started? Sorry for rambling guys, I could have typed for the next 2 days.

God this is depressing…

Comment by Pap76 01.25.17 @ 1:12 am

I will not be renewing basketball season tickets at the price they are asking now…maybe if they cut the $$$ by 50%…been a loyal season ticket holder for years…this is the only message I can send that means anything.

Comment by Tommymac 01.25.17 @ 2:13 am

Pap76 – be careful about naming names with bench players. Damon Wilson played ok in garbage minutes last night.

The coach is the one who checked out.

Correction on my 8:53pm post – worst loss since 1906 (not 1903).

Pitt has about five really bad losses this season, with more to come.

If Stallings is fired or quits, I believe his HC-ing days would be over. He’ll hang on for the “contracted” paycheck. Maybe Barney does Pitt a favor when he gets to Oregon State and fires Tinkle, brings in Stallings and stops the NOISE.

Comment by Erie Express 01.25.17 @ 5:41 am

Anybody at the the game last night deserves a refund.

Comment by Goalie44 01.25.17 @ 5:51 am

I only watched the 1st half on TV … and I deserve a refund

Comment by wbb 01.25.17 @ 6:56 am

I drove 5 hrs from Williamsport to watch this game on my birthday and have been a fan since 2002 when Chevy Troutman played one of my wife’s good friends and a friend of mine and what I observed is this freedom on offense thing is a crock of shit it’s like kids playing at the ymca on a sat no screens set nothing to get a player open all contested shots. When lousville was up Rock Pitino was constantly coaching even when they were making shots he would scream at players for not boxing out or being in the right spot I’m literally sitting right behind lousville bench and Stallings is standing there not coaching giving any advice to his team. This coach scared me from day one talking about offense everyone is different but what excites me when watching thesee games is defense I could give two shits what the score is if we’re winning hell it can be 44 to 42 final score. This coach lost his players in his recent interviews saying I don’t think this team is capable of doing the things we want them to do etc. He needs to be on the hot seat we need a young coach with passion not this stiff that was a losing coach just pathetic.

Comment by PittPanFan 01.25.17 @ 1:30 pm

I watched NCIS….

I checked out too….

Happy birthday PittPanFan……sorry you had to waste it.

Comment by Jackagain 01.25.17 @ 3:33 pm

After Clem on Saturday, no worries on attendance as Pitt on the road at UNC, Duke and BC. And so it goes or not.

Comment by Frank MD 01.25.17 @ 7:06 pm

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