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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 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 29, 2015

According to Chris Peak, Pat Narduzzi tapped into his Michigan State pipeline to add former Spartan Mark Scarpinato to the team. Scarpinato, a 6’3 286 pound DT, is an interesting case. He left MSU after the 2013-14 season to go to med school at Wisconsin. At that point Scarpinato was a redshirt sophomore yet had already graduated, an impressive achievement.

Scarpinato appeared in all 14 games of his sophomore season as part of a four man defensive tackle rotation on the number one defense in the nation. I’ll look into how his eligibility will function in terms of whether or not his year off counts against him. I would assume so and that would mean the former Spartan will only be able to play this upcoming season. At worst, Scarpinato is proven depth at DT and can use his experience to aid his fellow DL in adapting to a new scheme. At best, he could be a starter on a DL that under-performed last season.

Also in recruiting news, a JUCO WR eligible to play this fall could be coming to town. Rafael Araujo-Lopes picked up an offer from Pitt, and it’s a safe bet that with Rob Harley in California today to visit him, the deal could be closed soon.

April 28, 2015

Yesterday morning my daughter left on a weeklong school trip to Williamsburg, Virginia. She had to be at the school and boarding the bus around 5 am. You can imagine the fun of trying to get a newly-minted teen roused and ready at 4 am. As eager as she was for the trip and to get away from us, it was still 4 in the frickin’ morning.

The original plan was that I would get to sleep in while my wife would do the work of getting her up and out. Taking full advantage of that maternal instinct of seeing off her little girl and all that. Naturally my wife got sick over the weekend and it fell to me. The only upside being I could get into work very early and be able to finish early. Plus, at least I wouldn’t have to worry about taking the boy to school.

All went relatively smoothly with getting the girl to her school and on the bus.Aafter the slight alteration to the plan, it seemed that this day would work out well.

By seven the wife had texted me to to let me know that the boy had vomited, and the internet was out at the house. Oh, and when was I going to get home? Yeah, work on a Monday was the safe haven. The internet is still out as it seems that the modem died. The replacement won’t arrive until Wednesday. Given the rapid rate this one crapped out, I finally broke down and ordered an additional modem so that there is a back-up ready to be swapped out to avoid the agony of no computer access. No streaming video service. It is suddenly very quiet in the house.

This is a roundabout, complaining way of explaining why there was no immediate posting on the latest player to transfer into Pitt football.

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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 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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August 21, 2014

Comings and Goings

Filed under: Football,Recruiting,Transfer — Chas @ 12:09 am

Well, the euphoria of a nice recruiting get lasted all of 24 hours. Is this where we are supposed to gnash our teeth and mutter or whine about not being allowed to have nice things?

Welp, start with the older and positive news. The depth at running back will continue to swell as Pitt got a verbal on Tuesday from Darrin Hall out of Youngstown.

The four-star running back announced his decision in front of a group of 20 family members and friends at Buffalo Wild Wings, where he donned a Pitt hat over that of Michigan State and Kentucky.

“It’s good to get it out of the way and now I can focus on becoming a great leader for my [Fitch] team,” said Hall, who’s beginning his senior year.

Hall said he was leaning toward Pitt last week and after a visit on Sunday, he ultimately decided the Panthers were the best choice for him.

He didn’t talk to the Pitt coaching staff about early playing time and said that wasn’t something he was worried about.

“I know they have some young backs, but I’m ready to work hard and earn my spot,” he said.

Hall’s parents, Camille and Darrin Sr., were seated next to him when he made his announcement, but said that was as close as they got to the decision making process.

“He made it on his own,” said Darrin Sr. “He made the decision and he chose to stay close to home and I was glad of that.

“I’m glad that played a factor in his decision and I love the choice.”

His mom was happy her son made his decision not solely on football.

“I’m very excited about it,” she said. “I’m more excited about his education, that’s first and football’s secondary, but overall I’m just very happy.

Hall is a near consensus 4-star running back (only 247 has him at 3-stars).

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May 1, 2014

When Jameel Poteat decommitted from Pitt during the Wannstedtian upheaval of 2010-11, it was a difficult but understandable action. Difficult because the 4-star, Bishop-McDevitt kid was also relative of one of the few standout Panthers from the late 90s. He attended the same high school LeSean McCoy did, and was talking of following his path. Difficult because Pitt had done so well in mining Bishop-McDevitt up to that point and getting some very good players.

At the same time it was understandable. Poteat didn’t know the new coaching staff. The offensive system did not seem to fit him well. And he was hardly the only decommit from that group, that he almost got lost in the volume. He switched to Cinci and Malcolm Crockett went from being a Cinci verbal to coming to Pitt.

Things did not work out the way anyone expected. Poteat did not develop as his star ranking suggested. Eventually transferring from Cinci down to Stony Brook.

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April 28, 2014

Cullen Christian Ghosts Out

Filed under: Football,Transfer — Chas @ 7:44 am

I won’t lie. I didn’t even know Cullen Christian was still on the team.

After three years at Pittsbugh, Cullen Christian will be transferring to West Virginia.

Christian graduated from Pitt on Sunday, earning his degree in Administration of Justice. He will go on scholarship at West Virginia, where he will be enrolled in graduate school pursing a Masters in Sports Management.

“I know where I wanted to go after I graduate, and I’m going to West Virginia,” Christian said. “This is something I’m looking forward to. I’ve already started conditioning, and getting ready. I went to the spring game, which was cool. I got to meet the coaches. I’m going to go there this week and get my apartment set up this week. I’ll start school on (May) 19th.”

Christian transferred to Pitt in 2011, after playing as a true freshman at Michigan. After sitting out the 2011 season, due to the transfer rule, he started the first two games of the 2012 season, including the Cincinnati game where he had two pass breakups.

Christian will be reunited with defensive backs coach Tony Gibson for a third time in his career.

Not trying to be mean, but this isn’t much of a loss for Pitt. He wasn’t going to show up on the two-deep. He really never had much of an impact.

Congratulations on graduating. Good luck in West Virginia.

April 14, 2014

It seems assistant basketball coach Barry Rohrssen has been the rumored target to replace Orlando Antigua on John Calipari’s Kentucky bench. Granted it has been a slow week-long rumble, but everyone is presuming it will happen (and thank you KSR comment kids for demonstrating that Kentucky fans have little basketball knowledge outside their own team).

For Rohrssen it is almost a no-brainer. Kentucky is a blue-blood job with huge exposure. No, John Calipari assistants haven’t had the greatest success rates, but they get opportunities. Rohrssen obviously wants another crack at being a head coach. His odds increase being on a staff like Kentucky  This may shock some, but the money may have very little to do with it.

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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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August 23, 2013

I know, I know. College football starts in less than a week. In nine days Pitt’s season begins. But yesterday was a rather busy day for basketball stuff so it’s time to put it out there along with some other things in the tabs.

In player news, Rutgers transfer Derrick Randall got NCAA clearance for immediate eligibility at Pitt. This was considered a mere formality since other Rutgers transfershad already been granted immediate eligibility.

“It obviously gives us a big body, an experienced guy,” Dixon said. “We thought he could be a really valuable addition, especially after losing a guy in March.”

With center Steven Adams in NBA, Pitt planned to use power forward Talib Zanna, a 6-9 senior, in the post. Randall, a center or power forward, averaged 2.1 points and 1.5 rebounds as a sophomore.

“He didn’t put up big numbers, but I think he has some strength,” Dixon said. “He could be very good defensively, and he could be a very good rebounder. It gives us flexibility. It gives us the possibility of having five big guys and the versatility to go small or big.”

Randall is 6-8, 250 pounds. No one is expecting him to be a huge difference maker, but a good role player. He gives Pitt some needed depth inside for the next two years. Randall is a low-risk, moderate-reward pick-up.

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August 7, 2013

I’m going to wait to excoriate. But I won’t deny being highly confused.

TThomasquits

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August 5, 2013

Yeah, yeah. Football is just about upon us. I’m sure many of you slogged through at least a quarter of exhibition NFL football last night. Simply because: FOOTBALL!

Still there is the unresolved Sheldon Jeter saga. When last we left our hero, his appeal for release from Vanderbilt to go to Pitt was denied by Vanderbilt. Since then, nothing.

There have been no words on his plans. Will he enroll at another Pittsburgh school? Robert Morris? Duquesne? Will he go somewhere in Ohio West Virginia, where he can get home in under 3 hours? Kent St.? Marshall?

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July 26, 2013

Late Transfer Note

Filed under: Players,Recruiting,Transfer — Chas @ 12:58 pm

Kept meaning to note that Daeysean Rippy has decided to transfer to Colorado. He may never be heard from again, but it’s a good choice if you want to get out on the field because there just isn’t much talent already in place to stand in front of you. Good luck.

Also, Chavas Rawlins. The one time WVU early enrollee who decided to transfer after realizing he would never get a chance to play QB there, because WVU like every where else really wanted him on defense. While he was apparently desirous of going to Pitt, it didn’t happen. Whether because WVU blocked him or because Pitt also would only take him as a defensive back it isn’t clear.

But he finally found a program that will let him play QB: Duquesne.

Good luck.

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