Two years ago I upset a few people when I declared no Pitt players would be drafted. It was difficult to admit that Ray Graham’s knee severely hindered his draft prospects but it was reality. Graham went undrafted and has struggled to stick in the NFL. This year that won’t be an issue thanks to TJ Clemmings. The question is whether or not a second player will be drafted. (more…)
Mustapha Heron is still a Pitt verbal.
“I’m able to focus on my game, working on my game to fit into Pitt’s system,” Heron said at the NBPA Top 100 camp. “I don’t have to worry about who’s watching me, what type of letters are coming in, what type of calls are coming in. I can just play freely.”
With that said, the departure of assistant coach and ace recruiter Barry “Slice” Rohrssen to Kentucky has had the rumor mill whirling once again. In fact, all six predictions in the 247 Sports Crystal Ball have Heron going somewhere besides Pittsburgh.
In Virginia, Heron addressed the rumors.
“I don’t pay much attention to it,” he said. “Right now I’m just working on building a relationship with coach [Jamie] Dixon, and that’s going really well.”
Is it possible he could decommit at some point?
“That’s just something I would have to talk to my family about,” Heron said. “But as of now, no.”
That’s really all he can say. He could make absolute declarations of fealty and they would still be taken with the same meaning. The fact is he has not decommitted. He has not reopened the decision and he has not gone around on even unofficial visits to other schools.
He’s heading into his junior year of high school. He cannot sign a NLI until November 2015 at the earliest. I’m not saying he won’t change his mind. I’m just not going to spend the next year plus angsting over it.
University of Pittsburgh senior forward Lamar Patterson (Lancaster, Pa./St. Benedict’s Prep, N.J.) was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with the No. 48 pick in Thursday evening’s 2014 NBA Draft. Seconds later, ESPN announced that Milwaukee traded Patterson to the Atlanta Hawks.
Patterson is the second Pitt player drafted in the last two seasons as Steven Adams was taken by the Oklahoma City Thunder with the No. 12 overall pick last June. Patterson becomes the sixth Pitt player selected in the NBA Draft in the last 10 years: Chris Taft (2005), Aaron Gray (2007), Sam Young (2009), DeJuan Blair (2009), Steven Adams (2013) and Lamar Patterson (2014).
The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Patterson helped guide Pitt to three NCAA Tournament appearances, a 122-49 combined record, five consecutive 20-win seasons and a 78-17 record at the Petersen Events Center. An all-around player, Patterson became just the third player in school history to surpass 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 400 assists in a career (the other two players were Carl Krauser, 2002-06 and Brad Wanamaker, 2007-11). He set a school-record for most career games played (148), started 106 games, scored 1,410 points, grabbed 588 rebounds, dished out 427 assists and hit 171 3-pointers over his five-year career.
In Pitt’s basketball history, Patterson is just the 29th player drafted to the NBA or ABA.
Talib Zanna is not going to hear his name called tonight. He will get a chance in the NBA summer league with the possibility of a free agent signing, but he is likely heading overseas.
Lamar Patterson has a shot at the end of the second round.
What do the mock drafts say?: For what it’s worth, Patterson’s stock seems to have dropped a bit by this standard. In April, NBAdraft.net had Patterson going to Miami with the 57th pick. Draftexpress.com had him 59th to Toronto and CBS Sports’ Matt Moore, 45th to Minnesota.
Patterson did not show up on any of the current mocks of those three as of Wednesday night. He does show up on two of the four “final” mocks at BasketballInsiders.com, Steve Kennedy’s (to Indiana, No. 57) and Steve Kyler’s (Denver, No. 56).
The NBA Draft has very, very few sure things — even in the first round. Here’s a quick review of the last 19 drafts. So many of those picks weren’t mistakes. They just never translated.
The actual amount of time I spend watching the second and third round tonight likely correlates strongly to where and when Tom Savage gets drafted. If he goes early, it is very likely I will be done watching the draft for the night within 20 to 30 minutes. The later it goes, the longer I will probably keep watching simply because I will be tired and comfortable on the couch.
We will find out how much of that smoke about Savage rocketing up to near the top of the 2d round really holds. Oakland picks at #36 and could use a QB for the near future.
Cinci might go for a QB with their pick at #55 because of questions with Andy Dalton — both in terms of contract extension and the question of whether he really is their best long-term option. It’s not worth much, but Mel Kiper is predicting Savage to Cinci.
Then there are the Patriots down at #62. They have been a popular rumor for Savage, and a couple more mocks have him going to them.
I still miss the marathon weekend NFL Draft. Completely veg out on the couch. Drink some beer. Take an hour long nap and find out you have missed all of 3 picks. But it is hard to argue against the NFL and ESPN making more money when the demand supports a 2-night and 3d spread out of the draft. Heck, they are already talking about dragging it out to a 4th day. To say nothing of taking the draft on the road.
I would write of the ridiculousness of such a thing, but that would imply that the past 20 years or so of the draft extravaganzas have been considered restrained.
It has been amusing watch Tom Savage work his way up the draft charts. From mid-third round to top of the third. To somewhere in the second round, up to the top of the second. Now he is — at least in the rumors and chatter — to be heading into the first round.
How hot is he? Late last week Savage’s agent, Neil Schwartz, had to tell two teams who wanted to set up a visit or meeting with the quarterback that he didn’t have any time left to do so. “There are literally no days left on his calendar for him to go see any other teams,” Schwartz said Saturday. The deadline for teams to host players or work them out is April 27, and by then Savage is scheduled to have either worked out for or had visits with 24 or 25 teams. That’s an amazing number of workouts and/or meetings … and when I say meetings with teams, I mean time with either the GM, coach, offensive coordinator or two or three of those. … Amazing to think a player so itinerant and with so little college success could be leap-frogging A.J. McCarron, Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger. But there’s a good chance Savage will.
The reasons are understandable.
The NBA Draft was more than a little unpredictable this year. Starting with the Cleveland Cavaliers picking Anthony Bennett out of UNLV (my pick would have been Georgetown’s Otto Porter). That set off a lot of changes up and down the draft. Plenty of trades. But at the number 12 spot, Oklahoma stood pat and took Steven Adams as many expected.
Adams, the 7-foot center who spent one season at Pitt after emigrating from New Zealand, is the fifth Pitt player to be selected in the first round of the NBA draft and the first since Vonteego Cummings in 1999. The other Panthers taken in round one were Charles Smith and Jerome Lane in 1988 and Eric Mobley in 1994. He is the first Pitt freshman to be selected in the first round.
Adams is the fifth player coached by Jamie Dixon to be selected in the draft, following DeJuan Blair and Sam Young (second round in 2009), Aaron Gray (second round in 2007) and Chris Taft (second round in 2005).
Selfishly, I would have loved for Adams to stay at Pitt another year. Yes, he would have further developed, but I’m not convinced that he would have gone much higher in the draft in 2014. (Not to mention the possibility of injuries.)
Not because of how he would be used at Pitt. Or as some want to believe that Dixon would waste him. It’s simply the numbers.
The 2014 draft already looks loaded. It will have players like Andrew Wiggins, Marcus Smart, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson, James McAdoo, the usual slew of one-and-dones from Kentucky, Euro players we know nothing about, and plenty of others. 2014 is shaping up to be one of those high talent draft years.
This is not a strong draft. If you have been following the NBA draft chatter since April, you have been hearing this. Expect to hear plenty more of it in the next 36 hours (leading up to and after the draft). As such, Steven Adams is sitting at the end of the lottery. Most projections have him going anywhere from 7 to 14. 10-12 being the most reasonable zone.
Depending on who you want to read, Adams is either undervalued or overvalued.
If he goes in the lottery … Steven Adams
Considering all of [Alex] Len’s flaws, how can a really poor man’s version of Len sneak into the top 14? Didn’t any scouts watch Pitt play this past season? Adams is raaaaaaaaaw. If he didn’t get stuff off the offensive glass, he barely got touches in the Panthers’ offense. He has poor hands. Even in a draft with this many question marks, the lottery is way, way too high for a long-term project like Adams.
Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh — Adams is a just a perfect specimen. He can run, jump, catch and can even shoot a little, and though he struggled to break through in his only year at Pitt, some of that was due to the Panthers’ guards not sharing the ball, and the depth up front that Pitt had. Adams needs to develop, but the positive signs are there.
Yeah, that helps.
So, Steven Adams had a good first day at the NBA Combine in Chicago. There’s speculation — early and idle though it may be — that Adams might be working his way into the 1st Round. Perhaps even the lottery portion.
This is good. Pitt hasn’t had a player go in the first round since Vonteego Cummngs. There hasn’t been a high first round Pitt player selected since Charles Smith.
You would think this would be a good thing. That Pitt is not just turning out good college players, but NBA talent.
Kind of depressing, but it sure puts the back-to-back 6-7 records into context. No Pitt players heard their name called in the NFL Draft this weekend. This was not terribly surprising.
There have been, and are good players on this team. But a lack of excellent ones. Factor in the crushing injuries, and there weren’t been any surefire NFL prospects wearing the Blue and Gold the last couple of years.
I am not sure how much of that has been missing in recruiting, and the constant churn in coaches that may have stagnated/crushed the development of some players. Likely some mixture of both, but I have no idea on the percentages.
Mike Shanahan will have his chance to transition to TE in the pros with the New York Jets (sans a Tebow presence).
Ryan Turnley will try to make it with the Buffalo Bills. While on the small side, his versatility on the offensive line can only help his chances of sticking around.
Tight end Hubie Graham and his many injuries will get a chance with Tampa Bay. Just speculation, but I’m thinking that TB HC Greg Schiano remembers the potential Graham once had before injuries and transfers made him entirely forgotten.
It’s also been reported that Jarred Holley will get a tryout with the Pittsburgh Steelers at their first undrafted free agent camp next week.
So, hey, Steven Adams says that NBA Draft Lottery looks good.
After insisting that he would return for his sophomore season at Pitt, Steven Adams is declaring for the NBA Draft and will sign with an agent, thereby forfeiting his final three seasons of eligibility.
The 7-foot center from New Zealand announced his intentions Tuesday night in a statement released by Pitt’s athletic department. A Pitt spokesman said that Adams is out of the country.
“In discussing options with my family and Coach Dixon, I feel that it is in my best interest to declare for the NBA Draft,” Adams said. “I want to thank everyone at Pitt, including my teammates, coaching staff, the administration and the fans who have all supported me over the last year.”
I’ll never, ever begrudge a kid for turning pro. Especially when he is a potential lottery pick. Yes, he could have come back. Potentially improved and been a top-5 pick. Thus upping the potential earning potential. But he is already a top-20 pick. Likely top-14, lottery. This is a weak draft. Especially for centers.
I’ll understand if you thought it was a no-brainer that Devin Street would return for his senior year. I know I leaned that way. That doesn’t necessarily mean, he would (*cough* Greg Lee *cough*). Street made it official yesterday.
Wide receiver Devin Street considered a jump to the NFL but decided it was best to return to Pitt for his redshirt senior season. He announced Thursday on his Twitter account that he will return to school.
“My heart is at Pitt and with my teammates,” he wrote. “I want to grow as a person and player. Therefore I‘ll be staying my senior year.”
It’s not something Pitt fans should take for granted. The offense would have been in big trouble next year if Street wasn’t coming back. As less-than-good the O-line was this past season, try to imagine it if Chris Jacobson hadn’t been given a sixth year. That’s the sort of situation the passing game could have found itself.
I’m not saying that if Pitt had stuck to the 4-3 defense and the pro-style offense, that Pitt players would not have been shut out of the NFL Draft for the first time since 1999. I’m thinking it, but I’m not saying it.
Brandon Lindsey went from being a break-out player at the defensive end in 2010 to no-mans land with a change in defensive schemes. Playing in a hybrid linebacker/DE position that had him in no-mans land too many times.
Lucas Nix also suffered from the change in schemes with the O-line that made him look less productive. More importantly he suffered from injury that kept him out for over half the season. When you factor in the fact that Fraud Graham started questioning Nix’s toughness for not coming back from the injury as quickly as hoped, that probably raised flags for the NFL teams.
No doubt if Ray Graham had stayed healthy, he would have come out as a junior. The running back was putting up huge numbers and surely would have been a pick in the first 3 rounds.
Instead Pitt players will have to go the undrafted free agency (UFA) route to be on NFL squads. The conventional wisdom, being that it is better to be a UFA than a 7th round pick since you can pick the team and have a better chance/situation.
This week my boss is off from work, so I am covering her stuff. Logged a 15 hour day, but the promise of sleeping in a bit today was a good carrot. This morning the wife gets me up because her car had a flat. If anyone needs me I’ll be under the table clutching some Scotch.
I’ll get to some second-hand Greentree summer league stuff a bit later. From what I’m reading, the kids look good. But at the same time, this is far different from what they’ll be doing come the fall, and the talent level is much more varied. Encouraging, but it has to be treated a lot like spring practices in football.
Not that it is that relevant, but the USA Basketball U-19 team is off to a poor start. In exhibition games against the Lithuanians U-20 and U-19 teams, the team has lost by 29 and 33 points, and allowed more than 100 points in both games. Exhibition games, yes. Disturbing nonetheless. Some might argue it’s the talent disparity. That this squad lacks the good U-19 talent, because those players didn’t play. At the same time they said similar things about the 2009 squad. Remember the head scratching over Ashton Gibbs being on the squad?
The biggest difference seems to be the coaching.