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Written by PSB Bryan | 15 May 2012

A few random basketball links to clear before they get buried:

  • I don't know how to put this but I'm kind of a big deal. Steven Adams is adjusting to life of an American college basketball star (via The Post Game):

"Ever since I've been here, it's just been media, rah rah, media; I'm still getting used to it," he said. "At first I was real nervous, mumbling; I didn't know what to say. I never thought it would be like this. It's crazy."

Participating in events like the Jordan Brand Classic, an annual high school all-star game now in its 11th season, has helped Adams acclimate to the culture here and even learn to enjoy it.

"It can be quite fun," he said, "but sometimes I think it's too much attention for people my age. We're still high school players."

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Written by PSB Bryan | 14 May 2012

Even with two graduation seniors, Jamie Dixon was able to add four incoming players for next season. One of the extra scholarships came from Khem Birch, the other from little-used guard Isaiah Epps. So it would seem that Pitt's done recruiting for the season. But the recruiting saga of 2012 Philadelphia forward Savon Goodman just won't end.

The one time Villanova commit was at Pitt this weekend for an official visit (via Adam Zagoria):

Uncommitted 2012 wing Savon Goodman took an official visit to Pittsburgh this past weekend, his high school coach, Rob Moore, confirmed to SNY.tv.

Goodman was not immediately available for comment but Moore said the visit went well.

Of course, it seems that Mr. Goodman could be bound for prep school instead of a high-major program. And that seems to be the most likely option. Goodman is a great prospect, but he isn't the type of elite talent that can wait this long and expect to be able just commit somewhere.

And further, it's unclear whether Pitt would force out another player at this late date to make room. While it's a bit unseemly, I'd be ok with that. With Jones, Robinson and Zeigler all coming in this season, I have a tough time seeing where the minutes come from for both John Johnson and Cam Wright. And with a seemingly huge hole at power forward, Goodman would seem like a no-brainer to come in and play meaningful minutes behind Talib Zanna.

So while it seems unlikely that Savon Goodman will be gracing the floor of the Pete next season, you can bet Pitt will be all over him for 2013.

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Written by PSB Bryan | 14 May 2012

Josh Verlin covers the Philadelphia basketball scene for the website Philahoops.com. Recently, he caught up incoming Pitt Panther Chris Jones and the two discussed his game, Jamie Dixon and his recruitment.

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Though the Pittsburgh Panthers are coming off their worst season in seven years, there are plenty of reasons for hope on the horizon.

One big reason is the incoming freshman class, a consensus top-15 group due mostly to the presence of 7-foot New Zealander Steven Adams, who many believe could have been a first-round NBA draft selection as early as this year.

After Adams and point guard James Robinson, a consensus top-60 recruit out of basketball powerhouse DeMatha (Md.), had both committed by September of 2011, it seemed the Panthers had found their two-man class to replace graduating seniors Ashton Gibbs and Nasir Robinson.

The surprise transfer of Khem Birch meant a third scholarship was open to add to that stellar 2012 class, and that was all the opportunity that Teaneck (N.J.)’s Chris Jones needed.

After drawing mostly mid-major interest through his junior year, the 6-foot-5 wing’s impressive senior season earned Jones a scholarship offer from Jamie Dixon and Teaneck’s all-time leading scorer was headed for the Big East.

“Early on, he got a lot of interest from Atlantic 10 and Colonial conference and places like that, but I knew he was much better than that,” Teaneck head coach Jerome Smart told the Pitt Script Blog by phone on Thursday. “It was kind of, just wait it out and at the end of the year you’ll get the love that you’re supposed to get, if you have the season that I feel you’re supposed to have, which is what he did.”

“Pittsburgh actually got in a little bit late but I decided to go there because of the winning history they have at Pittsburgh,” Jones told the Pitt Script Blog at this weekend’s Mary Kline Classic. “Coach Dixon’s a great coach and he’s really known for developing players and I had a good relationship with coach Brandon Knight.”

Jones led Teaneck to a 31-1 record in his senior season, earning first-team all-state honors in averaging 21.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game to finish his career with over 1300 points.

That rebounding number is particularly impressive because, according to Smart, Jones averaged just 4.5 per game in 2010-11.

“He’s gotten much bigger, much stronger, much more physical and offensively he’s gotten much more aggressive even though he takes things in stride,” the second-year coach said.

“I’m really excited to start getting down to Pitt,” Jones said. “I’m starting to work out and everything so I’m really excited to get down there.”

Regarding his fellow incoming freshmen, Jones said he’d played against Robinson and called the point guard “tough” and “strong,” though he admitted he hadn’t yet seen Adams play.

Though the athletic guard/forward described himself as being an “above-average” shooter and an “average” handler, he did say he had plenty to continue working on in his game.

“My defense, getting faster, getting stronger; my jump shot,” he listed as areas he’s working on before college. “I’m looking to work on anything...my handle also.”

Jones could find himself initially fighting minutes for behinds behind juniors Lamar Patterson and J.J. Moore, sophomore Cameron Wright and redshirt freshman Durand Johnson, all of whom are capable of playing the G/F role.

Still, even if Jones ends up taking a redshirt, it doesn't seem like he’s the type to mope about needing to wait his turn to play.

“I said time and time again...speaking to our younger kids, you don’t have to look anywhere else for how you should conduct yourself on and off the court, it’s in front of you every day,” Smart said about his star. “You could always count on him to be there for workouts, he was a leader all the time in the weightroom, on and off the court, in the classroom, walking around the building, he was like the perfect person to carry the flag.

He continued: “A lot of times you take over a program and it’s a mess. I was fortunate enough to have a guy who was like a poster child for what you want your player to be.”

If he keeps working like he has been over the last two years, maybe the least-heralded of Pitt’s 2012 class could end up being the diamond in the rough.

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Thanks a lot, Josh!

Josh Verlin is a staff writer for Philahoops.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jmverlin.

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Written by TFW Bryan | 11 May 2012

In a move that shocked absolutely no one in the world of college sports, Pitt filed a lawsuit against the BIG EAST Conference so that it may join the ACC on July 1, 2013, one year earlier than specified in the conference's bylaws. 

In the complaint, the university asked for a jury trial to rule on its requests, which include allowing Pitt to withdraw from The Big East Conference at the end of the 2012-2013 conference year without penalty or interference; sharing revenue received by the conference during the 2011-2012 conference year, including money received from TCU and WVU; and reimbursement for damages such as the fees Pitt paid to secure the lost home games with TCU and WVU and to secure replacement games with lesser rivals, the lost ticket sales from disappointed fans, court costs and other financial losses. The Big East has stated that Pitt must remain in the conference through the 2013-2014 season.

Yes...you read that correctly.  Pitt is suing in part due to the loss of ticket sales.  My question is...did the statute of limitations on this game expire?

large_Pittgame

Probably.  Damn.  Anyways, Pitt did lose two valuable home games against TCU and WVU this upcoming season.  As we all know, they were replaced by Temple, a team once deemed kicked out of the BIG EAST conference for extremely sub par athletic performance, and Gardner-Webb.  Keep in mind that UCF was originally on the schedule, but Pitt was told by the BIG EAST to buy out that game so that there would be an open date for TCU on the schedule.  Opps.

So why file a lawsuit to leave when you've already told the BIG EAST you were leaving?  Well, apparently commissioners office in Providence was giving Pitt the silent treatment.

Although the Big East’s stated position is that we must stay through the 2013-14 season, the Big East acknowledged publicly that a discussion of our departure after the 2012-13 season was appropriate. A few weeks ago, Steve Pederson met with John Marinatto to begin the process to work toward an exit after this upcoming academic year. The Commissioner indicated that he was doing this with the authorization of the Chair of the Big East Presidents. However, attempts to contact the Big East in the following weeks to move the process forward have been unsuccessful, leading us to conclude that negotiations would not occur. Given the change in leadership of the Big East and the lack of response to our attempted contacts, on Friday, May 11, 2012, we filed a law suit in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, seeking resolution of this matter. We are confident in our position as stated in the complaint, but believe that this matter is best resolved between the parties. We have notified the Big East of this action, and continue to hope that our departure can be accommodated through private negotiations.

Boise State may also have played a part in this.  Rumors were heaving this week that Boise State may be having second thoughts about joining the BIG EAST as have yet to find a conference home for all of their remaining sports.  In fact, Boise State has not even given notice yet to the Mountain West conference that it would be withdrawing after this upcoming season.  Should the Broncos get cold feet, San Diego State would most likely back out as well.  Both teams would compete in the Mountain West in all sports in 2013 if that is the case.

So, is this newsworthy during the off season?  Of course.  Is the news anything to write home about?  Nope...because one fact remains true...

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Sigh.  

Oh, Steve Pederson, one piece of advice...just don't go spending all of that new ACC TV money on our exit, OK?  Great.

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Written by PSB Bryan | 10 May 2012

CathedralACC

The ACC announced yesterday that it has renegotiated its current television deal (inked in 2010) to run through 2027. It upgrades the conference's payday to $17.1 million per school, up 33 percent from the 2010 deal. It grants ESPN pretty much total control over all of the conference's football and basketball inventory, something that is going to reportedly be left to the schools in the Big 12 deal.

Is it perfect? Absolutely not. The Big Ten and the SEC will likely speed right by that number in the coming years. It's less than than the Pac-12 gets and what the Big-12 will likely get, but it's certainly comparable.

So why not more? Well, the lack of national success due to the decline of the Florida schools is a big reason (via the Daily Press):

Swofford estimated that football drives 70-80 percent of rights fees and acknowledged that more national success in that sport would have meant additional revenue.

“We seem to be right on the verge of taking that next step,” Swofford said, not for the first time. “Our main goal … is to have our best teams winning on a national stage.”

But consider this: Pitt was making $8.7 million in television rights in the Big East. This deal will double it. The single biggest source of revenue for Pitt athletics is being doubled. And double is conservative: DiPaolo's article says Pitt will be making $12 million more in the ACC. Either way, that's a very, very good thing for Pitt.

And then there's the exposure. The ACC deal will put Pitt in more households than it ever was in the Big East. And not just football and men's basketball, although it certainly will increase exposure there significantly. From the ACC (via):

The conference’s planned increase to an 18-game conference men’s basketball schedule and the additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse will bring an increase of 30 conference men’s basketball games per year and two more conference tournament games. In football, 14 more conference-controlled games will be televised each year. Per the extension, ESPN has the right to televise three Friday ACC football contests annually which will include a standing commitment from Boston College and Syracuse to each host one game as well as an afternoon or evening game on Thanksgiving Friday. Also, more women’s basketball and dozens more Olympic sports competitions will be covered on ESPN platforms representing the conference’s 25, soon to be 26, sponsored sports.

[Emphasis mine] As noted in the last sentence, Pitt's addition of a women's gymnastics program will allow the ACC to officially sponsor the sport. While this blog covers only football and men's basketball, I can't ignore how huge this is for Pitt's Olympic sports, especially baseball.

And with football, there will be no more Wednesday night games. Thursdays, yes. But no dreaded Wednesday night games. There will also be three Friday games, one will be at Syracuse, one at Boston College and one the Friday after Thanksgiving. There will also be a Labor Day game and, of course, the ACC Championship game.

The big increase in revenue should allow Pitt to grow not just football and basketball, but the whole athletic department (via the Trib):

Meanwhile, the increased revenue from the ACC, which dwarfs Pitt’s previous Big East payouts by at least $12 million annually, will be used to grow athletic programs, Pederson said.

“The resources associated with that should continue to help us drive the program to higher levels,” he said.

He added there are no specific plans for the money yet.

“We have been fixated on what we are doing right now,” he said. “We will look forward once we get there. We will continue to look for capital improvements, but nothing is imminent.”

Pederson did say there are hopes to build an on-campus track.

“We would like to build a track at the appropriate time, but we want to do that the right way,” he said.

More Pederson (via the PG):

"The exposure it gives us for all of our sports is pretty spectacular," said Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson.

"It's all the things you want -- strength, stability and exposure."

Pederson said he expects the Big East will stand behind its comments made earlier this year that it is in everyone's best interest to move forward.

As for when Pitt arrives in the ACC, that seems right on schedule for 2013.

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Written by PSB Bryan | 09 May 2012

WillFerrellElfPitt picked up its fifth commitment for the 2013 class Monday in Gateway fullback Jaymar Parrish. He played tight end in high school, but there's no question where Chryst and Rudolph are going to line him up (via the PG):

"They're going to line him up as a traditional fullback because they're a pro-style offense team," said Gateway coach Terry Smith. "He's an extremely physical blocker and just a tough, hard-nosed kid who is really athletic."

At only six feet, there was no chance of him playing tight end in Chryst's scheme. And like most fullbacks, his offer list isn't particularly large - just one from Akron - but neither was Pitt's last fullback's and things worked out just fine.

Like offensive line and tight end, Pitt is in need of quality fullbacks. Chryst added Ohio State transfer David Durham in February, which hopefully allows Parrish to redshirt.

Welcome aboard, Jaymar.

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Written by PSB Bryan | 08 May 2012

JDixonLouisville12Jamie Dixon was on The Fan yesterday and talked about recruiting in the ACC and John Marinatto.

He thinks recruiting will stay the same. Leaving the memories of the Big East will be "bittersweet," but "the ACC holds a bright future for us."

The team felt good about winning the CBI and the improvement the team showed in the final third of the season.

Trey Zeigler is finishing his finals at Central Michigan and then Pitt will file an appeal to the NCAA on Zeigler's eligibility for next season.

Steven Adams is on his way. No academic "struggles."

Link

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Written by PSB Bryan | 07 May 2012

Big_East_Media_Day_Football

Big East Commissioner John Marinatto has been relieved of his duties. That shouldn't really be a shock since he was terrible, but still a surprise that it happened now. You know, with the conference's impending BCS battle to remain a power conference and the television deal that will define its ability to compete. Just that.

It was a coup led by the basketball-only members, which is sort of morbidly hilarious.

Sources tell the Newark Star-Ledger that the new commissioner is expected to have a background in in football and/or television rights. I just pray that he has some connection to Providence College.

Dana O'Neil writes how he lacked the skill-set to handle the admittedly tough hand he was dealt (via ESPN):

Marinatto is a good man. He is a nice man. He was then, and remained until his last day at work, the wrong man for this job.

Jim Delany is a lawyer. Ditto Mike Slive. Larry Scott arrived at the then-Pac-10 having resuscitated a flailing women's professional tennis league. Bob Bowlsby has more awards and accolades as a big-time sports administrator than the cash-flush Big 12 members he will preside over.

Marinatto was born in Providence, went to Providence College, worked at Providence and then took a job in the Big East, which is located in … Providence.

With the exception of the ghost of Dave Gavitt, the league could not have hired a more "Big East" guy.

But the league didn't need a man well versed in the past; it needed someone who could project for the future. Marinatto couldn't and now, while everyone else is in line waiting to cash in on whatever football playoff system the BCS configures, the Big East is trying to redefine its very identity on the fly.

He's only the third commissioner in the conference's history. All three have had extraordinarily close ties to Providence College. Dave Gavitt was the former head coach and athletic director the Friars. Mike Tranghese was the former SID and Marinatto followed in his footsteps.

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Read more...

Written by TFW Bryan | 07 May 2012

So...ummm...yeah.  There's this news out of nowhere this afternoon...

tsavage7-1

tsavage7-2

 

Now the fun part.  Savage, a former 4* QB out of Philadelphia, committed to Rutgers in April of 2008 for the 2009 class.  Savage was the starting QB as a freshman at Rutgers, taking a majority of the snaps, and finished completing 53% of his passes for 14 TDs and 7 INTs.  His sophomore year did not go as well.  Savage lost his starting job to freshman Chas Dodd by the fourth game of the season.

Following the season, Savage announced that he would be transfering and landed at Arizona.  After sitting out 2011, he found out that his new coach would be Rich Rodriguez.  Savage claims that this was not the reason, but had decided to transfer out of Arizona...back to Rutgers.

Under NCAA rules, and because this is his second transfer, Savage must sit out another year, even if he transfers to an FCS school closer to his home, such as Villanova or Delaware, unless he can get a waiver from the NCAA.

Burning his red shirt in 2011, Savage would only have one year of eligibility remaining unless the NCAA granted him a waiver...which they did not.

So that leads us to today.  Is Savage going to be a Panther?  It sounds like it.  Will he be granted a waiver to play in 2012 and compete for the starting job against Tino or will he have to wait until 2013, his final year of eligibility, to compete with then sophomore/red shirt freshman Chad Voytik?  Stay tuned for these answers as we find out ourselves...

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Written by PSB Bryan | 07 May 2012

PittPSUIt's May, so you know what that means - time for more worthless Pitt-Penn State series renewal chatter! Seriously, it's getting earlier every year. At least it was mid-May last year.

This year's catalyst is none other than Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien, who is on a PR tour of Pennsylvania (via the Trib):

“I would love to see that game played on an annual basis,” O’Brien told the Tribune-Review on Friday. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for (Pitt coach) Paul Chryst and their program, and that’s a great rivalry. For the fans of Pennsylvania to be able to see that game every year, I think that’s pretty neat.”

Before everyone gets all "ZOMG DA RIVALRY!!1!" that was pretty much Joe Paterno's long-held position on the issue too. At least publicly.

I'm excited about the series briefly resuming in 2016 and 2017. If nothing else, it will be better than a random BCS-level home-and-home. It should generate a lot more for the programs in terms of interest, both by fans and the media. But anything longer than that would require some tough decisions by both programs that might not be in either's interests.

Both teams are set to play nine game "set" schedules. For Pitt, it will be nine ACC conference games. For Penn State, eight Big Ten games plus a rotating Pac-12 opponent. That leaves three games to work with. And both teams will likely take the same general approach: one FCS game, one MAC game, one marquee BCS-level game.

And before the thought takes root: Pitt should absolutely not drop Notre Dame to make room for Penn State. Like it or not, Notre Dame is a national game. Pitt vs. Penn State is regional. If both of Pennsylvania's major teams are ranked, it garner national attention, but in the unfortunate situation that neither team are ranked to start 2016, get ready for a 4:30 kickoff on ESPNU. On the other hand, no matter how bad both teams are, Pitt-Notre Dame is on NBC/ABC/ESPN. Notre Dame is national. Playing a team two-and-a-half hours away is regional. College football programs thrive on exposure and playing Notre Dame delivers that in a big way that no other program can match.

And the same goes for Penn State. They're coming off a home-and-home with Alabama. Next up is a series with Virginia and a Meadowlands game versus Syracuse. Then it's an eastern tour against Big East remainders Temple and Rutgers. If they threw in Maryland, they'd have all their major recruiting areas covered. And while Penn State obviously recruits western Pennsylvania, the level of exposure they get here is enough to keep kids thinking of them.

So unless either teams drops the cupcakes (not going to happen - FREE MONEY), the series ends again in 2017. And that's ok.

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