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December 9, 2013

Missing on Henry

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Chas @ 1:49 pm

Welp, Pitt didn’t get Dravon Henry. The 4-star defensive back opted for West Virginia.

Everyone knows it was down to those two for Henry. He was quite torn on the decision. Tears and all when he announced.

As noted, this doesn’t help defensive coordinator Matt House’s status with Pitt fans when he can’t reel in the best defensive player in the state. Losing him to WVU and a defense that will give up a ton of points and yardage simply because the offense leaves it all on them.

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December 8, 2013

As expected, Pitt is headed to Detroit, Michigan for the Little Caesars Bowl. Their opponent? MAC Champion Bowling Green.

While obviously this isn’t the most exciting bowl game, it’s a bowl game nonetheless.  (more…)

December 4, 2013

Recruiting Rundown

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Justin @ 10:16 am

With plenty of time before a bowl game (more on that later this week), the coaching staff is wasting no time. It’s the opportunity for a late push before the dead period and there’s a lot happening right now. I’m only going to post info that’s publicly available because it’s not cool to post info only available behind a paywall for free. Guys like Tony Greco, Chris Peak, Greg Croft, etc. work too hard for their stuff to be thrown out there. (more…)

November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Hope your day is a relatively low stress affair.

Just some basketball links I need to clear through.

Finishing up the loose ends from the Legends Classic.

Coach Jamie Dixon is making no apologies for doing this tournament, even if the competition was a bit lacking.

Though the Panthers are no longer in the Big East, Dixon said they will always try to play games and in events in the New York City area because it is good for recruiting and an area Pitt fans enjoy going to.

“We have asked to be in New York whenever we can,” Dixon said. “We like this type of environment. I told the guys before the game, ‘Do you understand that we’re playing in an NBA arena, NBA locker rooms and practicing on the Brooklyn Nets practice court?’ We have a lot of alumni around here, we have had a lot of players from around here, so coming here fits us in every way.”

The Legends Classic is run by the Gazelle Group. All three of their early season tournaments — Legends, 2K Sports Classic and Black Rock Gotham Classic — are NYC based tournaments. Pitt and Coach Dixon have made an effort to work with Gazelle Group for that reason. They want to play in NYC when possible. Gazelle Group operates 3 of the 5 tournaments in the area.

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November 22, 2013

A New Overseas Center

Filed under: Basketball,Recruiting — Chas @ 8:37 am

This one has been rumored for a while, but here’s the word.

The Canarias Basketball Academy are pleased to announce that the 6’11, 265lb native of the Netherlands , Shaquille Doorson has committed to play for Head coach Jamie Dixon at the University of Pittsburgh. The 1 year CBA post graduate student is delighted with the opportunity to be an integral piece of a leading program who compete in the prestigious ACC: “This was always the goal for me and the reason why I came to CBA. My dream has come true, to know I’ll be playing in the ACC under a great coach and at a great program in a power house conference. I can only thank Rob Orellana and his coaching staff for pushing me everyday to make this dream become a reality”.

Canarias is a European basketball academy. This past week, another center from CBA signed with Louisville.

Doorson is probably closer to 6-10 than 6-11. CBA’s Coach Rob Orellana is close with Pitt assistant coach Barry Rohrssen, so there’s the tie-in that led to this.

I know this will shock you, but Doorson is raw and not a particularly known quantity. High ceiling, but may take some time.

November 15, 2013

HUGE VERBAL: Chris James RB

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Justin @ 1:40 pm

The football team may have just landed their biggest recruit of the year with RB Chris James. James announced his commitment via twitter a few minutes ago and he’s exactly what this team is missing: a game breaking RB. James is a 3 star back on Rivals, 247, ESPN, and a 4 star on Scout. Here are some highlights from hudl. James chose Pitt over offers from a long list including Tennessee, Wisconsin, Georgia Tech, and Michigan State. (more…)

November 11, 2013

Notre Dame Win=Recruiting Win

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Justin @ 11:35 am

First off, a heartfelt thank you to veterans. Thank you for allowing me the freedom to be focused on football today. Let’s abuse our freedoms by focusing on the whims of teenaged man-children and where they will go to college!

Not only was the victory over Notre Dame a huge win for 2013, it was a huge win for the following five years due to the impression it made on recruits. I mentioned early Sunday morning that there were upwards of 50 recruits at the game. I’ll stick to only available 2014 recruits for now, but needless to say this victory will go a long way towards closing a few key targets. (more…)

November 6, 2013

Got Him, Now Keep Him

Filed under: Basketball,Recruiting — Chas @ 8:31 am

Yesterday’s verbal of Damon Wilson to Pitt basketball was more positive recruiting news. A 3-4 star point guard with what appears to be a high ceiling for the 2015 class. A kid with the potential to grow to as much as 6-6 by the time he reaches Pitt in 2015.

Like Mike Young, Wilson came to the New York/New Jersey prep scene to raise his recruiting profile. Wilson, in this case, came from Georgia. It worked.

Wilson picked the Panthers over Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Miami, Stanford, Virginia and Virginia Tech. His father, Damon Sr., played football at Georgia Tech; his older sister, Dominique, plays basketball at N.C. State.

Wilson is Pitt’s first commitment from the Class of 2015.

A native of Powder Springs, Ga., Wilson transferred from McEachern High to St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, N.J., last year.

This year he is playing at Centereach (N.Y.) Our Savior New American. In addition to those offers he also was getting interest from Louisville, UCLA, Ohio St., UNC and NC State.

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November 5, 2013

Basketball Verbal: Damon Wilson

Filed under: Basketball,Recruiting — Justin @ 11:59 am

Jamie Dixon (thanks to superb recruiting from Brandin Knight) recevied a 2015 verbal from 6’4″ SG Damon Wilson. Wilson is a 4* player on Rivals, a 3* player on Scout and will likely be a top 75-100 player in the 2015 class when it’s all said and done. His AAU squad is the NJ Playaz, whose alumni include future Pitt star Mike Young and a nice NBA lineage. (more…)

October 31, 2013

So Many Basketball Links

Filed under: Basketball,Players,Recruiting — Chas @ 7:24 am

Lots of stuff basketball related I haven’t gotten to in a couple weeks. Hard to believe Pitt’s already played one exhibition game. There’s one more exhibition on Friday night and then it is realsies the following Friday.

I’ve made no secret over the year how much I like advanced stats in basketball. In particular the work by Ken Pomeroy has been very important. Turns out Coach Jamie Dixon likes the stuff too. He is quoted in an article about coaches who embrace advanced stats (Insider subs.).

Pittsburgh’s Jamie Dixon did his master’s at UC Santa Barbara on statistical analysis, and has been a numbers guy ever since he can remember, but even he is amazed by the recent explosion of analytical data.

“I love it,” Dixon said. “The numbers can be really helpful, but you’ve got to be able to understand them.”

Dixon said he has someone on his staff checking KenPom.com daily, and he’ll add different components each season. For 2013-14, he’s focusing on breaking down the Panthers’ efficiency after baskets, free throws, steals and offensive rebounds.

This also lends credence to my theory that Coach Dixon oft citing of rebounding margin (a highly discredited number by basketball stat people) is more as a motivating tool and quickie stat to look at after a game (like batting average and RBI are in baseball) rather than a vital statistic.

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October 4, 2013

One More Athlete To the Class

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Chas @ 7:32 am

Pitt has its 18th recruit in the 2014 football class. JaQuan Davidson from Elizabeth Forward gave his verbal yesterday. For his high school, Davidson plays quarterback, but that is mainly because he is an outstanding athlete/playmaker and the goal is to make sure he has the ball as frequently as possible. He’s classified as an “athlete” by recruiting sites, with the expectation that he will either play wide receiver in the offense or could be a safety on defense.

He’s a 2-star player per Rivals.com. Scout.com, ESPN.com and 247 have him at 3-stars. His size is anywhere from 6-2 to 6-4 and 170-180 pounds.

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October 2, 2013

In the end, Kevin Stallings and Vanderbilt’s vindictiveness will cost Sheldon Jeter around $8000 and a delay to his education by a year. That’s my rough estimation of the costs Jeter and his family are probably incurring for this year. The travel costs to and from Florida, living expenses and tuition down at Polk Junior College. That may not sound like much in the big picture. But keep in mind this is because of the vindictiveness of a coach that makes nearly $2 million per year and a university that has an endowment of over $3 billion.

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September 16, 2013

Shai McKenzie: Torn ACL

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Justin @ 10:57 am

Shai McKenzie, one of the top Pittsburgh area seniors as well as one of the top RBs in the nation, tore his ACL last week. This obviously knocks him out for the rest of the season and I know I speak for everyone when I say no matter where he goes to school, I wish him a speedy recovery. (more…)

September 13, 2013

Some accumulated links to make it worth doing a post, before sundown and fasting begins.

On the recruiting front, Pitt is yet to officially have any commits for the 2014 class. So they make the list of teams “in trouble” with their recruiting class.

The Panthers have yet to land a commitment in the Class of 2014, and the roster next season is hardly imposing. Dixon will lose wing Lamar Patterson and big man Talib Zanna. It looks as though Pittsburgh is the favorite to land former Vanderbilt forward Sheldon Jeter, who transferred to Polk Community College. However, Dixon could also use another wing (i.e. Isaiah Whitehead) and a big man such as Josh Martin or Gary Clark.

Also on the list of “in trouble,” Michigan State, Michigan, Indiana, Gonzaga and UConn. So it isn’t really about “in trouble” so much as trying to land some very good players who aren’t deciding right away.

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September 11, 2013

Random Recruiting Thoughts

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Justin @ 11:26 am

At the moment, there are 17 players who have given verbals for the 2014 class. The most recent is obviously Qadree Ollison, a 3* RB from the Buffalo area. However, this class is far from done. We could possibly see a 25 or 26 man class when it’s all said and done. It could be 26 because Rori Blair is likely to enroll in January, which would make him part of the 2013 class technically. With 8 or 9 spots still available, who could belong to the final group? (more…)

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