Oh, Gilbert. Why? Do you not understand the expectations upon you? You were to be the latest at Pitt to make a stunning leap from your sophomore to junior year. Like Sam Young before you and Aaron Gray before him. It was all lined up for you. Moving to the starting rotation. One of the players expected to be the team leaders. Healthy and knowing it was your chance.
And now? You have put yourself at risk of being Wally Pipped. What happened?
Pitt’s most experienced men’s basketball player will miss the first half of the season on academic suspension.
Redshirt junior Gilbert Brown, who was expected to be the starting small forward for the Panthers, will miss at least the first 11 games after he was suspended from the university last night.
Brown, a 6-foot-6, 200-pound native of Harrisburg who has played in 72 career games for the Panthers, will be eligible to rejoin the team Dec. 20.
Brown has had a team-first attitude that got him the team’s “Coaches Award” after the 2007-08 season. At the end of this season you won the “Academic Excellence Award.” Are you trying to make a mockery of the sanctity that envelops team awards?
Well, it definitely lowers expectations to start the season.
Brown is expected to enroll at the end of the fall term and could be eligible to rejoin the Panthers Dec. 20. In that case, he would miss Pitt’s first 11 games – including the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic in Kansas City and Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden – but could return in time for the beginning of Big East Conference play.
The 6-foot-6, 200-pound redshirt junior small forward from Harrisburg was expected to play a pivotal role for the Panthers, who lost four starters from their Elite Eight team that finished 31-5. Pitt’s lone returning starter, senior guard Jermaine Dixon, is out until mid-September with a foot injury.
The game against Wichita State was no gimme in the CBE, but it becomes even more difficult to have a chance at Texas.
What the loss of Brown does, is it opens the door for two players in particular at the spot. Sophomore Nasir Robinson and freshman Lamar Patterson will have more opportunities to play early.
More likely, it means Pitt could go with a 3-guard lineup a lot more frequently. Brad Wanamaker playing as a wing guard, or Pitt could go very small at times up front with a mix of guards Chase Adams, Jermaine Dixon, Travon Woodall and Ashton Gibbs. In some cases extremely small and perimeter based if Adams, Woodall and Gibbs were out there together — spread the floor and get the open 3?
Well, the basketball team this offseason was being too positive I guess. This is a big slap of reality in the face.