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October 31, 2017

You know there really isn’t much of a choice with regards to Pitt basketball this year. When Ryan Luther and Jonathan Milligan are the cover boys for your media guide by default. Every game against an ACC opponent will have opposing bloggers and message boards going there.

Hell, as Pitt fans we went that way quite a while ago.

A secret scrimmage that stayed a secret. Exhibition game with Slippery Rock this weekend. I’m at least curious.

Just need to get this out there and off my chest as basketball posting starts to happen with more frequency.

I’m not going to waste much time on rehashing Kevin Stallings being the head coach, and how it happened this season. Not going to gnash my teeth all season talking about how he needs to be fired. And all the stuff with it. It’s draining and it gets so toxic so fast. To the point where if you dare point out a positive, you find yourself being shouted down because it goes against the narrative that has been cemented; and the last thing that can happen is being less militant in maintaining the narrative then the other guy.

I want Pitt to win. I don’t want to spend this season and every post rehashing the existence of Stallings. How Jamie Dixon left the program, what he accomplished in the past, or what he’s doing at TCU. All the crap that goes with it.

It’s going to be a rough enough season. Rebuilding doesn’t even begin to describe where Pitt is right now. It’s almost like a program that just went through a coaching scandal with regards to the roster overhaul.

I’m at least curious to see what these kids can do. And how they develop.





51 comments

I am curious as well. I won’t measure this season on wins and losses it will be more do I see this team competing out there and giving effort and is there something to point to for optimism the following year as they get more experience. If the team seems disinterested, lacks heart and willingness to play defense like the last few years then I will be hugely disappointed. No where to go but up given the low expectations. I also agree it is pointless to rehash the coaching situation. Time to move on and support the team.

Comment by The Ghost of Billy Gaines 10.31.17 @ 9:48 am

link to post-gazette.com

“Pitt men’s basketball team shrouded in mystery”

Comment by NickC 10.31.17 @ 10:09 am

Chas – agreed. I said the same thing on a previous post of yours. If Pitt was to fire Stallings it was after last season. It was a rebuild year anyways, so that was the time to strike. Once Pitt kept him, it was time to move on. Stallings gets to see if he can turn what he’s assembled into a good foundation for his vision. I’ll be looking for progress. Unless he makes a jackass out of himself again, I’ll refrain from being overly critical.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 10.31.17 @ 10:36 am

Agreed with all. Curious more than anything and will be looking for effort/coaching/desire. Any collection of young and mostly freshman (with maybe the exception of Kentucky)are going to get stomped by better teams. No point to rehashing past coaches or situations unless the whole recruiting business gets opened up with the investigations and we hopefully realize that Pitt did things the right way.

Comment by AnotherClancyrebound 10.31.17 @ 11:56 am

I agree with Ghost of Billy Gaines.

I believe that Saturday’s game against Slippy Rock will be interesting. Pitt may actually lose to them. I will be there to see, first hand.

Comment by xfmrman 10.31.17 @ 11:59 am

I noticed that Stallings had a press conference, yesterday.
The Trib has nothing on it. Are they covering Pitt BB?

Comment by xfmrman 10.31.17 @ 12:06 pm

So far, we all agree.
Are we ruining the internet?
😉

Comment by xfmrman 10.31.17 @ 12:09 pm

xfmrman – Trib had a bunch of layoffs. Jerry D at the Trib may be pulling double duty and he’s on the football beat right now.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 10.31.17 @ 12:49 pm

Very curious to see this team.

Just expect the coach to get them better as the year goes. Something that did not happen last year.

Marcus Carr will be good and hopefully they recruited some good outside shooters for once.

Comment by notrocketscience 10.31.17 @ 2:05 pm

Predictions –

Version 1 – With a no-star, no-name team Pitt wins the ACC championship or at least gets to the finals, gets a 1-4 round seed, makes it to the Elite 8, Stallings gets a contract extension.

Version 2 – With a no-star, no-name team, Pitt finishes last in the ACC, half the team quits (figuratively or literally) mid-way through conference schedule, Stallings says more asinine things and gets fired.

Which version do you prefer for the future of Pitt basketball?

H2P!!!

Comment by Pitt Dad 10.31.17 @ 2:10 pm

I gave up my season tix that I’ve had since 1979. I was disgusted with the lack of effort last year. I would love to see these guys hustle and grow during the season. If they do I will applaud Stallings and may get my tix back. If not, I’ll be calling for his head.

Comment by The Hagen 10.31.17 @ 2:15 pm

What Hagen said. Except season tix since 99.

Comment by Dinosaur 71 10.31.17 @ 4:30 pm

Gave up my BB tix too, except since 1977.

Comment by Rayhpgh 10.31.17 @ 5:14 pm

I’ll get season tickets again when Stallings makes me look like a fool by turning this season into a success or when the next coach comes on board, whichever comes first.

Would love to be wrong, but not seeing any reason for optimism at this point.

Comment by Dinosaur 71 10.31.17 @ 5:56 pm

Dixon ran the program into the ground. I hated the Stallings hire, but the guy had no chance. No point guard and no center, plus a couple of guys with talent but no heart. Can’t blame Stallings for this mess, although he didn’t help himself any with some of his antics last year. We will be lucky to win 10 games. Can’t see winning more than 2 or 3 ACC wins.

Comment by MissingWlat 10.31.17 @ 10:22 pm

Lol – Dixon did not run the program into the ground. That’s absurd. The program was heading towards a rebuild year and had been in a slow and steady decline from it’s peak but it was by no means a dead program. If anything, Dixon was going to be in a position to reset the program.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 11.01.17 @ 12:55 pm

in Dixon’s final year, the team had 23 wins and lost in final minute to a Wisconsin that advanced to Sweet 16. I wouldn’t call it running it into the ground.

However, his recruiting had certainly tailed off and it was obvious that he struggled transitioning from the BE to ACC. IMO, his team’s lost its identity.

I think it was time for a change, and so far, it definitely seemed to have work very well for him … he deserves it.

However, not so much for Pitt …. as we are reminded once again what a dumpster fire Pitt is when it comes to hiring coaches. Remember that the next time one of our teams is having a down year.

Fans are fickle …. I was looking thru PennLive yesterday (PSU territory) and fans are now calling for their OC to be fired after their OSU loss. Think of that … he started at PSU last year and PSU’s offense has been productive, and even scored 38 in its loss. Fans are never happy … and all coaching success ever does is to raise expectations which works against the coach who does it …. JD was a victim of this here

Comment by wbb 11.02.17 @ 6:17 am

And IMO that Wisconsin game was very winnable. JD elected to play Maia and ANO for a total of 27 minutes supposedly over concerns in defensing Ethan Happ. Maia and ANO combined for 0 points, 6 rebounds, 1 block, 2 turnovers and 6 fouls. Ryan Luther played 4 minutes with no shots and 1 rebound in a game starved for offense.

Happ finished with 15 points and 9 rebounds to lead Wisconsin in both categories.

I think JD “outsmarted” himself.

@Tossing KS will show himself again by January if not sooner due to poor non-con play.

Comment by Barvo 11.02.17 @ 8:43 am

Barvo – no doubt. I’ll stay cool and collected until he does. I’ll give him a chance with his players though.

wbb – Dixon and Pitt both probably needed a change of scenery. No doubt there. But, by no means, did he run the program into the ground.

Those of you bailing on season tickets, I understand your frustration but speaking as someone who went to Pitt from 93′-98′, the program was in way worse shape.

What’s the difference now compared to then?

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 11.02.17 @ 10:53 am

The ACC

Comment by gc 11.02.17 @ 12:13 pm

I can answer for them…the current state of Pitt BB appears to be a totally self inflicted wound…For me, it is more frustrating to be a fan of Pitt BB at this time than Pitt FB.

Comment by HbgFrank 11.02.17 @ 12:18 pm

gc – haha. 90’s Big East wasn’t anything to laugh at. Georgetown, Syracuse, UCONN … Pitt basketball was at it’s lowest point in the 90’s. This is just a blip for all we know. It’s too soon to tell tho.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 11.02.17 @ 1:15 pm

Pitt basketball is dead to me. As far as I’m concerned Pitt no longer has a BBall team. I will follow our ladies team only.

My attitude will change when the coach changes. He has no chance. May not win a single game!

Comment by Dan 72 11.02.17 @ 1:45 pm

Dan_72 – I get that and it’s your prerogative. I certainly won’t defend Stallings. I’m talking about people who have had season tickets since the 70’s. Pitt basketball in the 90’s had less support and was really in the dumps. This is nothing … yet.

These are the records of Pitt basketball during my tenure at Pitt. Mostly Willard minus one season under Hackett.

’93-’94: 13-14
’94-’95: 10-18
’95-’96: 10-17
’96-’97: 18-15
’97-’98: 11-16

Pitt’s worst year (in modern history), last year, tied for Pitt’s best year in my stay. I just don’t understand why the breaking point is now when it’s been much worse.

I agree Pitt is in a down cycle but it’s too early to declare the program dead.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 11.02.17 @ 2:44 pm

HbgFrank – 100% self-inflicted. I concur.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 11.02.17 @ 2:49 pm

I am simply tired of losing. Maybe I’m just getting old. Dixon quit recruiting and I will never forgive him for that. It is no fun to go out on a cold winter night and your team has little chance to win its home game.

Comment by Rayhpgh 11.02.17 @ 3:32 pm

Wow…Ray hit it right on the head. “It is no fun to go out on a cold winter night….” I would end it differently. “And watch guys not play as hard as I know they can”. The lack of solid defense was tough to watch. I think it made Jamie crazy as well.

The other element of giving up my seats was Pitt’s refusal to make the home schedule more interesting. I can’t tell you how often my tix went unused because no one was interested in seeing us play small schools that have no chance to compete (or should I say shouldn’t have a chance). There were no breaks for the Season Ticket Holders so it was time to go. I still wear my Script and hope that KS is the 2nd coming of Wooden but I doubt it….

Comment by The Hagen 11.02.17 @ 5:23 pm

Ray/Hagen – Fair answers. I was seriously just curious. Not being a dick. The program overall was worse in the 90’s so I was trying figure out what tipped the scale this time … but perceived lack of effort would influence my decision as well. I disagree about the recruiting but it’s a fair argument based on results. I can’t disagree with the OOC scheduling either. Interesting. Thanks.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 11.02.17 @ 8:31 pm

Of the four groups of guys I know that had season hoop tickets since the late 1970’s NONE of them still go. All dropped them in the last 2 years. Of my group of 6 we are down to 2. And I don’t know of anyone that has newly acquired tickets. This could be a make or break year for many more fans. The frustration is palpable and many are angry. I’m hopeful, but….

Comment by Lastrowofsection4 11.03.17 @ 4:59 am

Split my season tickets with a neighbor to cut the cost and the misery. If he didn’t want them, I probably would be out as well.

Not expecting much, but at least hope to see some hustle. Hard to get excited about a team you expect to lose every night.

Really looking for more from the FBI, maybe clean up the game so Pitt has a chance to recruit better players. Really believe this is what cost us Jamie. You can’t compete in the ACC without guards and a center.

Comment by gc 11.03.17 @ 7:50 am

I lived in Mt Washington and had season tickets for the first 4 years of The Pete, until I had to relocate. I missed maybe 4 or 5 games in those 4 seasons, only 1 regular season game as I recall.

I must admit if I lived in the suburbs now and not handy to Oakland, I would rarely go to a weeknight game unless Duke or UNC.

Comment by wbb 11.03.17 @ 9:40 am

It would be good if someone (Chas?) could profile all of the new players. I don’t think I can’t even think of the names of more than 4 right now.

Comment by panther94 11.03.17 @ 10:15 am

My guess on Jamie’s leaving is that he realized that Young and Artis were going to be the team leaders, saw how willing Young and Artis to play defense, and then looked at how his strategy for coaching and went “uh, no.”

Thus setting the stage for the magnificent effort seen last year. My prediction is that this team will be overmatched from a physical development and experience standpoint, but will not be embarrassing from an effort standpoint like many moments of the past 2 years.

Comment by KeyboardKev 11.03.17 @ 10:28 am

Panther – Predicted roster by the PG …

link to post-gazette.com

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 11.03.17 @ 10:46 am

I will say I am one of the Chas “cemented” people in my negative view of Stallings. That said, I will back up a winner that is not a complete Pitino personally. So here is to hoping he wins.

I do wonder, we all say it was time for Dixon to go (me too)…but who knows, as Stallings is showing, one can reset quickly in Bball. Dixon learned that he could not succeed recruiting ACC-style athletes. He could have stayed at Pitt and tried to go back to recruiting the tough-defender types. Virginia has showed that can work in the ACC. We will never know of course, and apologies for treading back to Dixon! Just wanted to put that one thought out there.

Comment by DD 11.03.17 @ 12:03 pm

DD – Fair points. I think it was more recruiting misses with Dixon and a failed experiment at positionless basketball … and not the ACC in particular. I think he would have tried to reset with the roster turnover going into this season. But who knows? It really may have been just changes in scenery were needed.

I’m not a Stalling fan either but I am a fan of Pitt basketball. I wanted him fired in the offseason but that came and went. Stallings is at Pitt at least two more years. I’ll just accept it and root for the kids on the court.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 11.03.17 @ 12:15 pm

TT – you asked why the outcry now as opposed to the 90’s when you (and I) were there? Winning! You get a few good seasons and it becomes expected. Like wwb said about OC JM at PSU, he’s partially responsible for where they are now and they lose 1 game and they want him gone?? Expectations cloud reality after a little success.
My thoughts are that Dixon and Chryst are a lot alike. Both good coaches but both guys who didn’t like recruiting and weren’t particularly good at it. And with all the misses, he just ran out of players. I think KS will be fine if given the time and patience. People don’t like the Bobby Knight type screaming and all that but deep down I think most people like the guy and the players that want to be here seem to. Luther (of all people) stayed. I don’t think anyone will question the teams effort this year. They are young and athletic but I expect them to maybe pull a surprise game or two but get killed quite a few times.

Comment by JJ 11.03.17 @ 1:41 pm

JJ – they won in the 80’s. In fact in a very similar manor … at the expense of the decline of football … In the 90’s both were in decline much like the last few years.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 11.03.17 @ 2:54 pm

wbb – I live in the northern suburbs. I had shared 4 tix with a buddy since the fitzgerald field house days. I gave mine up before Dixon’s last year. For me it was more an issue of trying to talk friends and family into going with me. They wouldn’t.

I also believe strongly that Stallings was a bad hire. He is a good coach, by all accounts a fine person, but NOT a good fit for Pitt. They needed some excitement, a spark and a dull 55+ year old, moderately successful, no name coach just wasn’t bringing it.

Barring a miracle, Pitt will be near the bottom of the ACC this year and NEXT year will be Stallings’ last. Then Heather Lyke will get an opportunity to put her stamp on Pitt athletics.

Comment by boubacar aw 11.03.17 @ 3:03 pm

In College Basketball your coach is the teams identity. I have disliked Kevin Stallings for many reasons long before he came to Pitt. What he has done during his short time here has only reinforced my opinion of him. Therefore I am done watching BB until he leaves.

Good luck to the team and to the fans that can hang in there this season. Me I will use the time spent watching basketball to do something else.

Comment by Tony in Harrisburg 11.04.17 @ 10:02 am

I was in Nashville last summer and very close to Vanderbilt. I wore Penguins and Pitt hats during my week-long stay. No one approached me when I wore my Penguins hat, despite the Cup win over the Preds. At least five people approached me when I wore the Pitt hat. They all said the same thing: “Thanks for taking Stallings off of our hands.” What a shame.

Comment by Brian 11.04.17 @ 11:56 am

Pitt hoops losing to Slippery Rock late in 1st half…Yikes

Comment by Pap76 11.04.17 @ 1:35 pm

Pitt won by 12. Nothing to see here folks. Carry on.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 11.04.17 @ 3:36 pm

ESPN has Navy with a 72% chance of beating Pitt on Friday night in Annapolis.

Here’s hoping this young team can beat the odds. Frame and Stevenson seem like good players. Get Luther to have a good SR season and that gives us three good players.

If the FR PG manages the game well and limits TO’s we could see a competitive team. We need a 5th player to step up – not sure who that will be.

Oh how far this program has fallen since the days of “hard to get tickets” just a short time ago.

Comment by Erie Express 11.05.17 @ 8:25 am

Pitt played all 11 players in the first 10 mins of the game. Stallings treated it like a true exhibition game. I wouldn’t read too much into it. We all know it’s going to be a long season. The team responded well. Got down early and turned it into a high double digit lead. Slippery Rock made it a game late and Pitt pulled away. A couple of players stepped up. That’s the blueprint you want. I disliked the team so much the last couple of years that I’m going to be okay as long as the team competes hard and plays smart basketball. The attitude and low basketball IQ drove me nuts the last couple of seasons. Probably more than anything. I just want a team I can enjoy rooting for.

***NOTE – lowered expectations are only for this season. They go from very young this season to experienced next year.***

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 11.05.17 @ 10:21 am

Thanks TT!

Comment by panther94 11.05.17 @ 11:07 am

Panther – PG did an entire series on each new kid detailing background and some goofy personal questions at the end to get fans to know them as well.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 11.05.17 @ 11:12 am

i think the over under will be 12 games
its a young team
the fans have a chance to get around this team
KS has a chance to win the fans over
but is KS the long term answer…NO
He’ll get another 3 years and provide Pitt with the same mediocrity that we’ve seen on the football side
But I dont think he’ll embarrass the program or give it a black eye with some NCAA violation
He was a safe pick

Comment by TX Panther 11.05.17 @ 11:47 am

One of the promising things that I saw yesterday was, after SRU cut the lead in the 2nd half, the Pitt players began to really get physical (they seemed to get mad) and took away the momentum that SRU had established.
SRU did not score after the last media time out.
I know that this was against a PSAC team. But seeing them show pride and not fold was encouraging.

Comment by xfmrman 11.05.17 @ 1:13 pm

I saw some very promising things yesterday. I think the standout newcomers were Stevenson, Wilson Frame, Carr, Stewart and Chukwuka. I can see potential in all those guys. Don’t get too excited though…I don’t know how this lineup will be able to win ANY ACC games.

I have to agree that there was effort. That’s a good sign.

Comment by The Hagen 11.05.17 @ 1:48 pm

Stewart was slow closing on 3pt shooters and allowed some drives while defending. But he showed hustle. He is not lightning quick, but as a coaches son, he should improve with more experience.
He did not make a 3pt basket. But he has a smooth stroke. I expect his shots will start to fall.
He reminds me of a much taller version of Ronald Ramon.

I am less worried about the recruiting loss of Bey.

Comment by xfmrman 11.05.17 @ 2:03 pm

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