COLLEGE FOOTBALL COUNTDOWN! The Orlando Sentinel is ranking all 120 FBS schools. Today, Pitt comes in at #53 (9 ahead of Arizona State, I'm just sayin').
ASHTON GIBBS DOIN' WORK. The NBA Draft is five days away, and the Minnesota Timberwolves are bringing in Ashton Gibbs for a workout.
SHOW ME THE MONEY! The recently arrested suspect in the Pitt "Anonymous" Video case is claiming that he has no idea why he is being charged and has no connection to Pitt. There is someone attending WVU with the same name as the accused, but it is not the same guy. To post a YouTube video would require a better internet connection than is available in West Virginia (28.8bps AOL dial-up)
FBSWA4TP (FOOTBALL BOWL SUBDIVISION WITH A FOUR TEAM PLAYOFF). Brett McMurphy of CBS Sports offers up a Q&A on how it is looking like the new four team playoff system will work.
EVERYONE IN THIS ROOM IS NOW DUMBER FOR HAVING LISTENED TO IT. Today's award for "The Dumbest Thing Written On The Internet" goes to a correspondent at Bleacher Report (shocking, I know!) that claims the ACC needs to invite UCONN and Rutgers for stability (at least he didn't turn it into a slideshow). My response:
The NCAA's Academic Progress Report (APR) scores were released yesterday and Pitt athletics has nothing to worry about. In particular, men's basketball and football have nothing to worry about.
Men's basketball was specially recognized as being in the top ten percent of programs, while UConn basketball is officially banned from the 2013 post-season (Big East Tournament and NCAAs). Notre Dame was the only other Big East program to earn the recognition.
As for football, the results were still positive, just not as much so as spectacular as basketball. Here's how Big East football stacks up (via ESPN):
- Rutgers: 982
- UConn: 963
- USF: 963
- Pitt: 955
- West Virginia: 953
- Syracuse: 950
- Cincinnati: 939
- Louisville: 911
The average for football is 948.
Good for Pitt and good for Jamie Dixon especially. Also deserving of recognition is Mike Farabaugh, Pitt Athletic's Director of Academic Support Services, his staff and Steve Pederson.no comments
THE FIGHTING WANNSTACHES OF BUFFALO. First it was Scott McKillop. Now it appears that Dorin Dickerson has a shot at making the Bills roster. No word on how many years it will take Dave Wannstedt to find a useful position for him.
ARREST MADE IN POORLY MADE YOUTUBE VIDEO CASE. Police have arrested an Ohio man for making a poor knockoff of the "Anonymous" videos in which he threatened the University by claiming to have stolen personal data.
IT MUST BE SUBSCRIPTION RENEWAL TIME AGAIN. Chip Brown of Texas' Rivals.com site OrangeBloods.com writes that Notre Dame will join the Big XII in all sports besides football, but will schedule half their football games against Big XII teams. Riiiiight.
PLAYOFFS? YOU KIDDING ME? PLAYOFFS? It sounds like the conference commissioners have spoken and are endorsing a four team playoff model, consisting of the top four teams chosen by a committee with additional weight given to conference champions. Do you really thing John Swofford would be this calm, collected, and endorsing this format if he was worried of FSU and Clemson leaving?
LATEST IN FATHEAD TECHNOLOGY. The WVU messageboard "We Must Ignite This Couch" has a thread for photoshoping the best Tino Sunseri Fatheads. Here's my favorite:
It was a bit of a forgone conclusion, but James Robinson and Team USA won the gold medal last night over host Brazil. Robinson had six points (3-4) and six assists in the win. While his point total for the tournament is low, Robinson excelled at getting the ball to the team's star scorers, Jarnell Stokes and Julius Randle. The points he had, however, came at a crucial time (via):
Brazil pulled to within five, 18-13, but James Robinson (DeMatha Catholic H.S./Mitchellville, Md.) drove down the middle twice for layups, and Rasheed Sulaimon (Strake Jesuit College Prep/Houston, Texas) converted a steal into a layup in the quarter’s final seconds to push the U.S. advantage to 24-16 after one quarter of action.
Ashton Gibbs had a similar experience in New Zealand playing for Team USA. Hopefully the comparisons don't stop there.
Congratulation to James.no comments
BUILDING THAT FENCE. KDKA Sports talks about the new crop of WPIAL stars and how Pitt will benefit from this. Plus, they reference our "work" twice!
SHELL COMES TO OAKLAND. This Sunday, Rushel Shell reports to Pitt to begin summer workouts. Hopefully this is the beginning of a great era.
THE TREY ZEIGLER EFFECT. Apparently Trey Zeigler's waiver to play immediately is having a ripple effect throughout the NCAA.
I SEE PRIDE, I SEE POWER! Remember those hideous "Maryland Pride" uniforms the Terps wore in football? Well, Pitt's permanent rival in the ACC is bringing the pride to the hardwood.
KEEP DRINKING THE KOOL-AID ASU FANS. Because it's a slow news week, I feel like throwing a few shots across Arizona State's bow today. Support in Tempe continues to grow! It's not whether he wins or loses (it's if he sticks it out for a 2nd year.) Toddy wants to shake hands with 74,000 ASU fans before the first game.
It's the offseason and we're all bored. The from the buzzer in New Orleans until kickoff August 30 in Nashville, it's a long, long offseason in NCAA major revenue sports. And that boredom can - and often does - lead to blowing up small stories into big stories, or taking actual big stories and blowing them up even bigger than they should be. There've been two interconnected "big stories" this spring: conference realignment and a college football playoff. Those are legitimate big stories - but that doesn't excuse rumor-mongoring based off of message boards and anonymous twitter accounts.
There's a third story "big story" that's dominated the coverage lately, and it's of the "bored summer" variety - the notion that somehow the SEC and Big 12 creating a bowl game squeezes out the ACC. I have no idea why this has gotten the coverage it has. The most widely held belief seems to be that somehow this "Champions Bowl" as it's being called now will be some sort of national semi-final. Let's be clear: There is absolutely no way that could happen. The BCS went out of its way to include non-AQs like Utah, Boise and TCU and still was on its way to being labelled anti-competitive by the Justice Department. A postseason exclusive to the B1G/Pac12/Big12/SEC is so blatantly a violation of the rules of the road that no one is even suggesting it except bad sportswriters.
That's what the SEC/Big12 bowl isn't. Here's what it is: It's a fallback in case one or both of the conferences' champions fail to reach the four team playoffs. So if a highly ranked, conference champion Oklahoma loses late and doesn't make the playoffs, it has a great game to fall on, against say, an SEC runner-up Georgia. It's an insurance policy. A good one that will make each conference some extra cash, but that's it. Its creation in no way excludes the ACC. Jumping to the conclusion that so many apparently have is Underpants Gnome Logic.
If the ACC champion is good enough, it will be in the playoff. Just like the Pac12, Big12, B1G, or SEC.no comments
Because of all the attention after the announcement that he was committing to Pitt, I had a rough idea of how Steven Adams was going to play in Greentree. Even though it's against stiffer competition than what he's used to in New Zealand or in the New England Prep scene, Greentree is essentially playground-style basketball. The player I was most interested in hearing about was Trey Zeigler, a guy whose time at Central Michigan is tougher to find footage from than anything Adams did since arriving at Notre Dame Prep this winter.
But in what is surely going to be a recurring theme this offseason, last night was the Steven Adams Show (via the Trib):
Pitt five-star recruit Steven Adams was surprised to see fans standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the tiny gym at Greentree Sportsplex.
“For real, people standing up?” he said. “What the hell? It shows you how committed they are.”
Adams didn't disappoint. Despite going just 2-for-8 from the field, he added 18 rebounds and reportedly played pretty well on defense against older and more experienced opponents in Dante Taylor and WVU's Pat Forsythe.
Adams seems to be intent on learning as much as he can from Pitt's other big men (via the Post-Gazette):
"Me personally, I don't think I'm doing too well skill-wise," Adams said. "They know a lot of technical things. I still have to learn that. I'm still kind of raw. I used to be able to rely on my size. Now that I'm versing bigger and stronger dudes, I have to get my footwork right. Talib, he's amazing. He's a good player. He's been teaching me. He's a real good team player, too. He's been teaching me all the basic stuff I need to know."
Contrast that to Khem Birch, who infamously cried during practice against Zanna and then left the program and started a public spat with Zanna on Twitter. The comparisons don't stop there (via the PG):
One big difference between Adams and Khem Birch, a freshman everyone wanted to see a year ago, is Adams' physical stature. Since coming to America this winter, he has put on 33 pounds and weighs a solid 248 without any noticeable body fat. Birch came to Pitt frail and stayed that way until he transferred to UNLV midseason.
Adams credits strength and conditioning coach Tim Beltz for his physique. He also has become a solo advertising campaign for some of the local eateries, where he sometimes consumes three meals in a sitting.
Adams' favorite spot is the Fuel and Fuddle in Oakland, where he takes full advantage of late-night, half-price specials. He usually goes for a steak burger, a turkey burger and a small pizza.
"The [workouts] are just so intense I can eat whatever and just run it off," he said.
Adams and Birch are two different players with two different body-types. The comparison may not be completely fair - these are 18 year olds at different levels of their physical development - but pretty valid nonetheless. Adams certainly has the physisque to compete immediately in the Big East, something Birch sorely lacked when he was under the basket.
And three meals at Fuel? I'm speechless with envy. Just make sure he stays away from the beer list.
And hey, in other news, according to the Trib Dante Taylor was told he's going to be putting in some time at power forward. If he can handle the added ball-handling and passing responsibilities, that would give Dixon a solid "big" option behind Talib instead of having to go small with either Moore or Patterson. I'm skeptical it will happen, but if it can, Pitt would be very versatile at both forward positions.
The official stat sheet indicates that other guys actually played last night too. Lamar Patterson scored 24 points for his team in the win, going 4-for-7 from three. Taylor had a 14-and-7 night and redshirt freshman Durand Johnson was not shy shooting the ball, going 6-for-21 (!!!), adding 14 points. I understand it's a summer league and all, but maybe Durand needs to slow it down a little....
And Zeigler? Well the only coverage the much-heralded transfer got was from new Pitt News sports editor RJ Sepich (via Twitter):
I'm excited.no comments
ANDREA ADELSON TAKES A BEATING. You may recall the other day that I mentioned BIG EAST Blogger Andrea Adelson ranked Pitt tied for 4th in football facilities in the eight team conference. Apparently you guys let her know that Pitt fans were none to happy.
THE BIG 33 GAME. The battle between Pennsylvania and Ohio took place this weekend and Urban Meyer, Paul Chryst, Bill O'Brien, and Steve Addazio were all there to take in the sights. Oh yeah, and Ben Roethlisberger?
STABILITY? AT PITT? INCONCEIVABLE! The Erie Times-News talks about how us Pitt fans hope that Paul Chryst can bring stability to the program. It's been so long, I've forgotten what that even is.
"ZOMG, UR AWESOME!!!! COME 2 PITT" -- JAMIE DIXON This past weekend, a new rule went into effect, removing the limit on the number of phone calls, texts, and private messages via social media a D1 college coach can send to athletes that have finished their sophomore year. Rumor is that Jamie Dixon installed Swype so that he can text faster than anyone else.
GREENTREE BEGINS TONIGHT. Steven Adams will be there. Nothing else to be said.
ROADKILL, AT A WEDDING? Sounds like something straight out of Morgantown, doesn't it? Well, this is actually from somewhere in the SEC...and whoever it is, they aren't a fan or Uga or the Georgia Bulldogs.
WELCOME TO THE ACC. You and I both know that this is why Russel Wilson left NC State for Wisconsin.
According to CBS Sports, it appears that former WVU quarterback Pat White is now exploring an acting career.
“I’ll be taking some workshops and I’ve got to work on some headshots,” White said. “Those will be coming up here soon.”
Perhaps White should have taken these workshops a few years ago. His portrail of "a Heisman Candidate and potential National Champion" in December of 2007 was as bad an acting job I've seen on my television since watching ABC's TGIF lineup.
By Brian Batko
Each summer, the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Pro-Am held in Greentree gives the truly hardcore Pitt basketball fans a glimpse of next season's team. Growing in popularity every year, it offers an oasis of Pitt hoops right smack in the middle of the long and boring off-season. So without further ado, here's a player-by-player breakdown of what to look for from the Pitt guys (Pro-Am team names in parentheses) out at Greentree this summer (note: Tray Woodall and J.J. Moore will not be participating as both are recovering from off-season surgeries).
Dante Taylor (Steel City Tickets) – With many Pitt fans coming to the conclusion that Taylor, as he prepares for his final season as a Panther, is a lost cause, there might not be a whole lot he can do at Greentree to change those minds. He actually looked pretty solid in the league last summer only to disappoint yet again once the regular season rolled around, so what I’ll be looking for from (former McDonald’s All-American) Dante Taylor is pretty simple. I simply want to see him look focused, locked in, and taking the Pro-Am very seriously. He was the second leading rebounder in the league last year and Pitt followers probably expected Taylor to be dominating at Greentree by the time he was a senior, and if you’re as good as Taylor was supposed to be, you probably should. He’s going to have to prove to a lot of people – within and outside the program – that he still deserves a shot even with Steven Adams coming in, and he’ll get a chance to do that on the first night of the league when he goes head-to-head with Adams’ squad.
Talib Zanna (SPK Law) – Like his experienced frontcourt counterpart in Taylor, Zanna was relatively impressive last summer in this setting, looking like one of the top bigs in attendance. Some of that success carried over into the fall and winter and some didn’t. At this point in his Pitt career, I’ll be looking for Zanna to be more physically imposing this summer at Greentree. We know he has the skills, we know he has the athleticism, but he’s never been a grinder in the post like past Panther power forwards. It also wouldn’t hurt to see the redshirt junior continue to make strides in terms of his face-up game and high post skills. He shot the ball from the free throw line and out pretty well last summer and hopefully he’ll show that side of his game again.
Lamar Patterson (PGT Trucking) – Undoubtedly one of Jamie Dixon’s most significant pieces for 2012-2013, Patterson’s Greentree performance last June and July was awfully similar to his regular season play – solid, steady, consistent, and effective. In many ways, the goal for Patterson in the Pro-Am should be pretty simple – be the best player on the court night in and night out and let the success of his rookie Panther-laden team reflect that. He’ll be surrounded by Adams, Trey Zeigler, and James Robinson, three guys that he’ll be flanked by at times 5 months from now, and this will be Pitt fans’ first glimpse at how Patterson fares as the centerpiece of next year’s club.
John Johnson (SPK Law) – Given his exhilarating play at times last summer, we already know he can thrive in the style of play that goes hand-in-hand with the Pro-Am, which is why it would be nice to see the sophomore guard show improvement in some of the less-heralded aspects of the game. His defense – on the ball and away from it – was a big point of concern last year when he was on the court so that’s an area where progress would certainly be welcomed. In his freshman year he did a surprisingly good job of playing under control and within the offense so it would be nice to see him blend together his pick-up style mindset and also a more “realistic” mentality when he takes the court in the Pro-Am this summer. And of course, as is always the case with young combo guards, we’ll look to see how his outside shooting, ballhandling, and decision-making is coming along.
Durand Johnson (Steel City Tickets) – In a lot of ways, it’ll be important for Johnson to just “look the part” of a Big East/ACC player this summer. After redshirting last year, he’s flying very under-the-radar and with the wealth of depth on the wing, he may not play much this upcoming season either. But last year at Greentree, he almost looked more like an offensively raw, athletic slasher than he did a deadly outside shooter as his reputation preceded. Hopefully this summer Pitt fans will see Johnson for what he was known as coming out of high school – a wing that is lethal from downtown and can really score, a commodity this program can always use more of. And hopefully for Johnson, he’ll show that he’s still very much a factor on this roster moving forward even if that’s not the case for 2012-2013.
Cameron Wright (UPMC) – Pretty much anyone that watched Wright on the floor last year could tell you what they’d like to see out of the redshirt sophomore this summer, and that’s a player with much more confidence and offensive acumen. So far he’s offered little to no help to his teammates from an offensive standpoint, so trying to put the ball in the hoop should be something he focuses on throughout the Pro-Am. It would also be encouraging to see him take steps toward becoming the shutdown on-ball defender many Pitt fans believed he could be.
Malcolm Gilbert (UPMC) – Gilbert is to “polite” as the Dos Equis man is to “interesting.” There really might not be a nicer guy in the world than the sophomore center, which isn’t necessarily a great trait on the hardwood. Seeing him work up a little bit of a mean streak and showing some actual aggression out on the court would be fantastic. He also looked lost at times during his freshman season (something that could be said of many freshman big men) so an angrier, more court-aware Malcolm Gilbert would be a vastly improved Malcolm Gilbert.
Steven Adams (PGT Trucking) – For many, just seeing the one they call “Tower D” take the court with and against his future teammates will be enough. But man would it be great to see the big guy dominate the other post players in the league. From the little I’ve seen of him on TV and in-person, some of the major aspects of the game he has to work on are his overall aggressiveness/activity, developing a few post moves, team defense, and rebounding. Obviously the kid has it all, it will just be a matter of him putting it together and seeing him do so at Greentree would be impressive.
Trey Zeigler (PGT Trucking) – The main thing that sparks curiosity when it comes to Zeigler is how he’ll mesh with Adams, Patterson, and Robinson on the PGT team. He’ll likely get the opportunity to handle many of the same responsibilities he’ll shoulder during the real season – handling the ball, scoring, and making plays – so we’ll see what he looks like playing alongside more talent than he did at Central Michigan. At his old school he was “the man.” Will he figure out how to fit in with new teammates while still doing all the things he can do at a high level?
James Robinson (PGT Trucking) – Though Robinson will miss opening night, that will give the diehard Pitt folks a second highly-anticipated debut when he does return from his stint with the USA U18 team in Brazil. By this point, much has been made of Robinson’s ability to control the pace of the game and run a team but it will be reassuring to see those attributes up close and personal. Also, how will Robinson fare among current and former college players from an athletic standpoint? He may be an elite floor general but he’s not an elite athlete. So far in his career he’s been able to compensate for a relative lack of explosiveness by virtue of his basketball IQ and other skills and it will be fun to watch and see how that translates to the next level.
Chris Jones (SPK Law) - Somewhat similarly to Durand Johnson, the big thing Pitt fans will probably be looking for from Jones is just that he look the part of a major conference player. Some were skeptical of the staff offering Jones a scholarship when he was still, for the most part, a lightly recruited prospect but plenty of analysts and scouts claim Jones is underrated and a late bloomer. It'd be pretty absurd to expect Jones to be anything close to an impact player right away but as long as he can show the potential to be a valued contributor in two or three years, it'll be a successful summer for him.
More info on the Pro-Am, including full schedules and rosters, can be found at the Pittsburgh Basketball Club website:no comments