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August 10, 2015

Newkirk Heads Elsewhere

Filed under: Basketball,Transfer — Chas @ 6:13 am

I know, this should be nothing but football coverage at this point. But…

In the space of his two years at Pitt, Josh Newkirk went from speedy sparkplug, to the guy some wanted to supplant James Robinson at point guard, to the guy who became lost on the court, to one of the players many expected/wanted to transfer because his play had fallen so far, to “oh, he had an injury, that explains it.”

In May, we finally learned how bad his injury really was. He needed microfracture surgery on his left knee.

Microfracture surgery is still such an emerging surgical technique for athletes after an injury. In some ways it is akin to UCL (Tommy John) surgery in the 80s. It works, but the recovery rates and level of recovery from where the player was, vary greatly.

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July 31, 2015

SUZIE McCONNELL-SERIO SIGNS NEW AGREEMENT AT PITT THROUGH 2020-21 SEASON
McConnell-Serio guided the youthful Panthers to 20 wins and the NCAA Tournament last year. 

Serio-McConnell <<< That’s intensity!  Match that Narduzzi!

PITTSBURGH—University of Pittsburgh athletic director Scott Barnes announced today that head women’s basketball coach Suzie McConnell-Serio has signed a new contractual agreement that runs through the 2020-21 season.

Arriving at Pitt in 2013, McConnell-Serio has revitalized the Panthers’ fortunes in quick and impressive fashion. This past year she guided a youthful squad to a 20-12 record—including a 9-7 mark in the rugged Atlantic Coast Conference—and the program’s first NCAA Tournament in six years.

“Within a very brief period of time, Suzie McConnell-Serio has made a remarkable imprint on women’s basketball at the University of Pittsburgh,” Barnes said. “On and off the floor, she has Pitt on the rise and we are thrilled to announce this commitment to her and our women’s basketball program. Suzie is nationally respected as both a coach and person, and we couldn’t be more excited about her leading our program into the future.”

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July 15, 2015

If it’s possible for a press release to downplay something positive, I think this one qualifies.

Mike Young was chosen to be the student-athlete repesentative on the NCAA D1 Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee. What is the Oversight Committee?

The Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee will ensure that appropriate oversight of men’s basketball is maintained, will enhance the development and public perception of the sport and make recommendations related to regular-season and postseason men’s basketball. The committee will prioritize enhancement of the student-athlete educational experience (academically and athletically), and in doing so, promote student-athletes’ personal growth and leadership development.

The Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee will supervise qualifications and/or selection procedures for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. The committee will review recommendations from the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee and process other issues related to the administration of the championship. The committee will assume many of the duties of the former NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Issues Committee and will provide direction to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Rules Committee regarding playing rules. The committee will be comprised of representatives from each divisional subgroup.

The OC is made up of 12 members and an additional 4 non-voting members.

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June 25, 2015

I knew Pitt had a lot of players getting some off-season surgery, but I didn’t know it was this many.

[Pitt Coach Jamie] Dixon, who has three players out with surgeries and at least five others recovering from previous surgeries or nagging injuries, said the changes to NCAA rules also played a part in the decision.

“The rules have changed to where you could only have two players from one college team on each of the summer league teams,” Dixon said. “That sort of made it difficult with only so many Division I players available to have the kind of competitive league you are looking for.

“Hopefully, it is something we can revisit for next year, but, for this year, it just didn’t seem like it was going to be able to work out.”

Josh Newkirk earlier followed by James Robinson and incoming transfer, Sterling Smith, recently had off-season surgies.

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It is a slow week for PITT football with the two exceptions in recruiting that Chas covered earlier.  To update that a bit here is the Post-Gazette’s Sam Werner’s article about the last three pick-ups and in his Red Shirt Diaries blog Werner lists all the recruits vitals with links to their highlights:

Bricen Garner
Safety, Central Catholic HS (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Rivals: 2*, NR
Scout: 3*, No. 80 S
Offers: Army, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, UMass, Miami (OH), Navy, Old Dominion, Temple, Toledo
HIGHLIGHTS

Chawntez Moss
Running Back, Bedford HS (Bedford, Ohio)
Rivals: 3*, NR
Scout: 3*, No. 56 RB
Offers: Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Eastern Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Kent State, Marshall, Miami (OH), Ohio, Old Dominion, Toledo, Western Michigan
HIGHLIGHTS

Chase Pine
Linebacker, Lafayette HS (Williamsburg, Va.)
Rivals: 3*, NR
Scout: 3*, No. 86 OLB
Offers: Buffalo, California, Charlotte, East Carolina, Georgia, Marshall, North Carolina, N.C. State, Old Dominion, Syracuse, Toledo, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, West Virginia
HIGHLIGHTS

Here are a few interesting items for you all to look at during lunch…

First, I heard back from EJ Borghetti and the PITT Fall Training Camp begins on Monday, August 10th.  That gives the Narduzzi Power and Light Company 26 days to get ready for the season opener against the Youngstown State Penguins.

As we know this opponent has given us problems before when Chryst opened his time at PITT with an embarrassing 31-17 loss.  That game needs to be looked at again given the circumstances that will be surrounding our ’15 PITT team.

For one we’ll be starting a season with a shiny new head coach again, this time trotting out Pat Narduzzi in his new PITT gear for all to see. We are all looking forward to seeing that because, I believe, PITT fans across the board are happy with Narduzzi’s hiring.

One of the reasons for happiness is that it is entirely possible that PITT’s defense will be better and more effective right out of the gate as this is Narduzzi’s successful background that he made his name in.  Looking at the specifics of that past YSU game we need that.

YSU basically ran all over us that day with 202 yards on the ground. Rushing the ball 46 times wore us down… even when PITT knew the run was coming we were almost powerless to stop it as they gained 4.4 ypc.

To complement that YSU used their passing game for surgical strikes that resulted in three TDs.  It is worth noting that those three TDs came on only 14 completions for 177 yards in 24 passing attempts;  a 58% completion rate with 12.6 yards per completion which is very good.

If we allow YSU to replicate that this year I’m pulling Narduzzi’s contract.

But, truth be told, it is entirely possibly the YSU might be a stronger team this season than it was in ’12. They are coming of 8-4 and 7-5 seasons so the team knows how to win games.

But the big stroke YSU made over the offseason was hiring Mark Anthony Pelini who, in addition to being Cleopatra’s third husband and losing the whole Roman naval fleet in a sea battle against Octavian, used to be the HC at Nebraska.  “Snarling Bo” as he is called these days knows how to fire up a football team, so we can expect the Penguins to come out fighting.

Another similarity to the ’12 game is that we’ll most probably start off the season with a suspension impacting the PITT team.  Back then we had six players suddenly suspended the morning of the game, two being starters.  Whether or not you feel that had any influence on the loss, we may well be replicating that is a short form depending on what sort of discipline Tyler Boyd gets awarded by Narduzzi.

Speaking of which in one of Cardiac Hill’s Poll of the Week series they asked the fans about what punishment Boyd should get.  You can see that most favor a one game suspension which fits my view and I think the majority of guys on this blog also.

What would you do with Tyler Boyd?

  • 7%No on-field punishment(79 votes)
  • 18%Not start him in the season opener, but let him play(199 votes)
  • 42%One-game suspension(460 votes)
  • 23%Two-game suspension(251 votes)
  • 10%Suspension of three or more games(107 votes)

That is a breakdown of a total of 1096 votes as of this morning.  That is a pretty big sample for a blog to gather especially when you count the 107 PSU fans who pretty much wants Boyd’s shot at a NFL career to end by suspending Boyd “three or more games”.  It is interesting to read the 50+ comments the poll and associated article generated.

Also as something I didn’t know existed here is a Cardiac Hill’s open thread “The Pitt Stop” that they do on a regular basis.  Linked is the June 2015 edition.

As wbb mentioned in his comment yesterday PITT is reaching out to various groups to form a Panther Fans Experience Committee to solicit feedback on how to enrich the PITT athletics game day experience.  It is a good thing to do I think and something we wouldn’t have seen with our dearly departed AD.

There is a short form to fill out then a section for text where you are asked to provide your Fan Resume.  Be aware that you are limited to 750 words to describe how you would be a great fit for this committee.  Stating that you are too much of a perfectionist gets your season tickets revoked though.

750 words might not be enough for some of you guys because when you start telling ‘Big Fish’ stories about how you are such a better fan than the next guy you go on and on and on.

The commitment is for quarterly meetings at PITT for a two year term. In other words eight times where you get to bitch and someone is actually listening.  Anyway, I suggest that you all apply for it – we definitely have some great ideas on here the PITT administration should be made aware of.

I am in the process now and it will be interesting to see the final makeup when the committee is selected.  Here is the Trib article on it.

For those PITT BB fans who are wondering what is happening the P-G’s Paul Zeise, our old P-G PITT football beat writer friend, has a rather detailed ‘catch-up’ about that program. It seems to me that the main news is that former PITT BB player Ontario Lett is joining the BB staff as a Grad assistant.

Just for something else to look at and because we talked about actually playing a football game in September here are the details and stats of PITT’s 2014 season.

 

June 9, 2015

Basketball Rules Changes for 2015

Filed under: Basketball,Tactics — Chas @ 11:21 am

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel (PROP. Really? PROP is the acronym for the rules committee? It’s like the jokes write themse– Okay, get back on topic.) approved changes for the upcoming 2015-16 college basketball season. Most articles focused on two components. The 30-second shot clock and time outs.

The 30-second shot clock is the most visible change. The goal being to speed things up and hopefully increase scoring. I’ve discussed this a couple times, so, yeah. Unintended consequences will be the watch word for this one.

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May 27, 2015

Temporary Frontcourt Depth

Filed under: Basketball,Recruiting,Transfer — Chas @ 7:39 am

Over the last five years, depth in the frontcourt has been a major issue. A decent to very good starter — not as much an issue as it sometimes gets portrayed. It’s been the drop-off when that player has to come off the court. With agonizing misses of top-ranked recruits,  injuries, transfers, and players who were overmatched when they got to Pitt, though,  it has been a struggle to simply have one decent frontcourt player to come off the bench.

After this past season and lack of front court depth looking acute, Coach Jamie Dixon has gone hard for the short-term fix.

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May 7, 2015

Newkirk’s Knee

Filed under: Basketball,Injury,Recruiting,Transfer — Chas @ 12:15 pm

Josh Newkirk had knee surgery last week.

Pitt guard Josh Newkirk, who averaged 5.9 points and was second on the team with 93 assists last season, is expected to be out four to six months after having surgery to correct damage in his left knee, coach Jamie Dixon said Wednesday.

Team physician Dr. Bryson Lesniak performed the surgery last week. It involved repairing Newkirk’s lateral meniscus and a micro fracture on the outside part of his knee.

“We expect Josh to make a full recovery and rejoin his teammates for the upcoming 2015-16 season,” Dixon said. “He’ll start summer school on Monday. The surgery was a success, and we know that Josh will work hard during the rehabilitation period.”

I remain continually amazed at the ability of the Pitt athletic department to keep information so tight.

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May 5, 2015

As early as December — barely a month into the college basketball season — the stats were already damning the college basketball season as likely to be one of the slowest. Sure enough, it came to pass.

Everyone has their favorite reasons. Lack of skill by incoming players — which goes in several directions. To the pernicious effect of AAU basketball in this era and all the societal blame that follows.  Or that it necessitates coaches of those particular teams to slow the game down to give them a better chance to compete.

The increased emphasis on defense, coupled with the rising trend of statistical analysis and film scouting to have players in better position. Correlated with that is the use of offensive efficiency which values the possessions and slows things down on the offensive end as well.

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May 4, 2015

Grad Transfers Galore

Filed under: Basketball,Recruiting,Transfer — Chas @ 7:28 am

After adding some perimeter help for the 2015-16 season in Sterling Smith, Coach Jamie Dixon and Pitt basketball grabbed some frontline help. Rafael Maia is a Brazilian-born forward who played at Brown the last three years. Like Smith, Maia is a graduate transfer and eligible to play the upcoming season.

He’s 6-9 and averaged 9.9 points and 8.7 rebounds per game last year. He brings good size inside and will be looked to to help on defense and rebounding more than anything else.

Maia had Southern Cal and Nebraska pursuing him, but decided on Pitt after his visit to USC and without taking a trip to Nebraska.

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April 26, 2015

The Chancellor cast the die; the future is determined; there are no more options; events will proceed in an irreversible manner; the point of no return has been passed and we have received unto us a new Athletic Director.  In other words and as Justin states so well: “Pitt has hired Utah State Athletic Director Scott Barnes to replace some jagoff none of us liked”.

So it was announced yesterday that ex-Utah State AD Scott Barnes has been hired to fill the position that layed vacant for the last four months. His full resume can be found in this Blather article copied word-by-word from the subsequent PITT press release.

Before we get into the meat of the matter here are two good pieces that the PITT media dept. put out.  PITT rolled out the blue and mustard gold carpet for the introductory press conference. Here is the video introducing the long drink of water as our AD and the second is a photo slideshow of the same presser with photos of all involved including the only non-blond adult female in Utah, his wife Jody Barnes.  Funny how much more intelligent she looks then the last HC’s wife from west of the Mississippi. Plus he has a daughter named after a fantastic Pepperidge farm cookie – Milano – so he’s got a sense of humor also.

The local media seem to be happy with him, at least Jerry DiPaola doesn’t take any overt shots at the guy.

Just for local balance here is Sam Werner’s take on Barnes’ presser.  An even better read is Werner’s Redshirt Diaries where he lays down some of the more interesting and important pieces of information regard the Barnes hire.

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April 25, 2015

The new AD has been announced and he’s taller than me so I don’t trust him right off the bat.  Everyone knows that people over 6’7″ tall are shifty and not to be trusted.

Here is Barnes’ press conference and it was nicely done.

Statement from Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford:

“Scott is a veteran athletic director who is highly respected nationally, as evidenced by his chairing the NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee. He will be an excellent addition to Pitt and the Atlantic Coast Conference. I congratulate Chancellor Gallagher and the search committee on an excellent choice.”

Here is the official PITT Press Release

For IMMEDIATE Release
April 24, 2015

 BARNES NAMED NEW ATHLETIC DIRECTOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH
The Panthers’ new A.D. brings a distinguished and decorated résumé to Pitt.

 PITTSBURGH—Nationally distinguished as one of the top administrators in collegiate athletics, Scott Barnes has been named the new athletic director at the University of Pittsburgh by Chancellor Patrick Gallagher.

Barnes arrives at Pitt following an impressive tenure at Utah State University, where he was honored as an Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year for his work elevating the Aggies’ program. He owns 26 years of administrative experience at the collegiate level and recently served as chair of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee.

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April 24, 2015

Help On the Perimeter

Filed under: Basketball,Recruiting,Transfer — Chas @ 7:21 am

Well, a domino fell Pitt’s way. Damion Lee is a graduate transfer from Drexel, and yesterday he opted to go to Louisville. That was enough for another graduate transfer, Sterling Smith, to rule out the Cards and opt for Pitt.

BorzSterlingSmith is a 6-4 guard, though I’ve also seen him listed at 6-2. Love the accuracy of measurements of high school and college players.

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April 21, 2015

Talking Philly Recruiting

Filed under: Basketball,Recruiting — Chas @ 7:12 am

In light of the utterly predictable, but still frustrating, decommitment by Mustapha Heron. Coupled with the transfer of Durand Johnson. Pitt has been offering some other players. Notably some players for 2015 and 2016 in the Philadelphia area.

Friend of the site, and former contributor/liveblog moderator, Josh Verlin has been back in Philly making a name for himself with relentless work covering the local basketball scene. That makes him one of the go to sources for information on recruiting of Philly kids. You can find him at his site and on twitter.

Josh was nice enough to take time out of a busy time of the year for those that cover recruiting to answer some questions.

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April 14, 2015

Welp.

Durand Johnson was suspended for the past season for an unspecified violation of a university policy, though Pitt coaches were hoping he’d return for his senior season.

But that is not going to happen. Jamie Dixon announced today Johnson is no longer a member of the program and he will help the senior guard transfer somewhere to play his final season.

“It is time to move on,” Dixon said. “It is time to look for another guy to look for the opportunity to step up. We were aware of this [Johnson not being reinstated and moving on would be the likely outcome] recently.

“We are now going to help Durand in any way that we can find a good situation to finish his college career. I can’t obviously speak to the specifics of the situation but it should be said that we have had no other issues with Durand.”

That was kept well under wraps.

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