Tag Archives: Chase Adams

Pitt 67 UCONN 57

image from postgazette.com

Game Recap

You know, I always knew Coach Dixon was a great basketball coach, but I think he’s moved up a level tonight.  He has officially now performed a miracle.  He taught Gary McGhee to rebound!  Seriously.  I never thought it was possible.  What got into that kid, and can he bottle it and save it, please?  I’m not sure if it was being on the verge of losing his starting spot that got him motivated or if it were just the fact that another team was jostling and pushing him a bit and forcing him to concentrate.  That image above ran in today’s Post Gazette.  I think whoever put that together is a prophet because that’s exactly what happened to Gary McGhee tonight.  This was the first game in months that he has out-played Dante Taylor.  I ask again: what in the world got into that kid?

Gary having a game where he looked like he belonged as a Big East center was obviously the best news of the night.  If he plays like that from here on out, our prospects for the season just got a heck of a lot brighter.  But there was other good news.  This was obviously going to be a war of tempos.  Pitt has been very sucessfull against UConn in the past because they are very good at limiting transition points.  We did a good job of that again tonight.  Fran Fraschilla did an excellent job explaining why in the telecast if you were watching.  Long rebounds and turnovers are generally what starts most fast breaks.  Pitt took great care of the ball (only 12 turnovers against a defense that likes to get their hands in the cookie jar) and really worked to get the ball inside.  That’s it.  UConn is way to disorganized in a half court set to win that kind of a game.  A couple of extra little notes:

  • Pitt shot 85% from the free throw line.  Yes, Pitt.  UConn shot 46.2%.  That sounds more like a Pitt number, doesn’t it?  However, the difference between the two was 11 points (though we took 7 more shots).  That’s your ball game.  It’s one of the subtle advantages of the more backcourt-oriented game that we’re playing this year.  I’m not opposed to a small lineup, but there has to be one guy inside who can bail you out.  That’s why I’m so psyched about Gary taking a huge step up.
  • I showered praise on Gary, but Dante Taylor had a step in the right direction as well.  I wondered how he would respond to UConn’s physical play, and he did very well.  He grabbed a lot of nice rebounds.  He had some defensive lapses which prevented him from having an outstanding game in general, but I’m pleased with what I saw overall.
  • Haven’t seen any Chase Adams in a few games.  I’m a bit surprised.  He was tentative on offense, but he wasn’t a huge liability.  I’m wondering if he’ll see some time down the stretch to eat up some of the guards’ minutes.  We rotated 4 guards through 3 spots in this game.  That may wear them down after a while.  We also didn’t see J.J. Richardson at all this game.  First time in a while that’s happened, but I think that has more to do with the level of play of Gary and Dante than anything else.

Louisville’s up next.  They’re a very long an athletic team and they’re known for their trapping defense.  This will be a big test for our backcourt.  We historically haven’t done very well against the Cards.  Lets hope that changes on Saturday.

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2009 Big East B-Ball Preview

#7 Pitt Panthers

 

image from vuhoops.com

 

Previous Posts

#16 DePaul

#15 USF

#14 Providence

#13 Rutgers

#12 St. John’s

#11 Cincinnati

#10 Seton Hall

#9 Marquette

#8 Syracuse

Last Year In A Nutshell:

31-5 (15-3 Big East)

Lost in the Elight Eight of the NCAA Tournament to Villanova (were a #1 seed)

Coach: Jamie Dixon

If I Were Coach Dixon I Would Start:

Jermaine Dixon (G, Sr.) – Only returning senior on the team.  Will join the team in a few weeks after a foot injury.  Has a pretty good (but streaky) shot.

Travon Woodall (G, Fr.) – Redshirt freshman will play the point.  Looks to be a decent ball-handler, but how good he can be remains to be seen.

Brad Wanamaker (G, Jr.) – Will play the wing this year even though he’s a bit undersized for the position.  Can take it off the dribble or shoot with some range.  Should pick up a lot of the missing points from last year.

Nasir Robinson (F, So.) – Didn’t do much last year, but should be a fairly athletic power forward.  He’s able to finish around the basket, but his real value to the team will be rebounds if he can come up with them.

Dante Taylor (F, Fr.) – Didn’t get the start in the first preseason game, but I think he’ll win it eventually.  He’s a very highly rated recruit.  Has the size and strength to compete in the Big East right away.  Could be a better finisher around the hoop, and needs to be more aggressive on the glass.

Other Key Contributors:

Ashton Gibbs (G, So.) – He’ll see a lot of time this year at the 2 guard spot.  Takes good care of the ball.  Showed last year that he can stroke it from 3.

Chase Adams (G, Sr.) – Transfer from Centenary.  Quick little guard who can play the point.  Terrific shooter and lock-down defender.

Gilbert Brown (G, Jr.) – Depending on how well Wanamaker does, he should take over the wing when he gets academically eligible again.  Obscenely athletic guy whose best asset is his ability to take his man off the dribble.  Has a nice mid-range jumper as well.

Gary McGhee (C, Jr.) – Really hasn’t progressed as well as Dixon would have liked.  He’s got the size, but he’s really clumsy around the net.  It would be really nice for Pitt if he stepped up, though.

Lamar Patterson (G/F, Fr.) – Very athletic kid who can score in a lot of ways.  Needs to get a lot more aggressive.

Overall Thoughts:

It’s a little late, but after seeing Pitt play their first preseason game yesterday, I think putting them at #7 might have been a bit optimistic.  I think maybe the coaches had a better thought putting us at #9.  The frontcourt is going to be a work in progress.  The only returning minutes we really have down low are Gary McGhee and the limited exposure that Nasir Robinson got.  Dante Taylor came in as a McDonalds All-American and showed why last night.  He was dominant.  But, really, what else did you expect?  It was still like high school.  Everyone from Slippery Rock was a foot shorter than him.  Of course he’s going to pile up the points.  I think the more shocking revelation was the guard play.  We’re going to need a lot of scoring from the backcourt if we’re going to do much this year.  From what I’ve seen in the Blue/Gold game and the first exhibition, I’m not impressed.  There’s been every kind of mental mistake you can make.  I’ve seen bad passes, forced shots, confusion on defense, you name it.  That’s what worries me.  There’s some talent in these guards.  I think (or I at least hope) that these are just issues that will go away when they start playing together more.  It’ll be a long year if that’s not the case.

Traditionally, Pitt has been a team that grinds it out on offense.  We love those high percentage shots from 2 feet or so.  For the past couple of years, we’ve been hearing in Pittsburgh that a more up-tempo game is coming.  While that’s certainly been true to an extent (just look at the change in points per game over the past few seasons), Pitt still had DeJuan Blair down low to score points when they needed them.  That’s not the case this year, and we may see the Panthers really throw it into another gear tempo-wise.  The strength of this team is absolutely the guards, and we’ll go about as far as they can take us.  Defensively, we should still be the same team.  Weak on the perimeter, strong on the interior.  Chase Adams, Ashton Gibbs and Brad Wanamaker are all excellent defenders in the backcourt.  I can’t really tell how the frontcourt defense will shape up yet.  I’m not really worried about it yet, though.  Defense is always a priority in Pittsburgh.

Pitt is just one of the many teams in the league that you can write the same thing about: they’ve got a lot of new faces in the starting rotation.  Lots of highly touted recruits, a few transfers, just a sprinkling of vets.  It’s all about how they gel this year.  Usually, I wouldn’t think Pitt would have a prayer of being in the top half of the league with this kind of uncertainty.  The Big East is way too deep.  But this year with all the turnover in the league, Pitt’s still got a shot at the middle of the pack.  I wouldn’t count on an NCAA bid from what I’ve seen so far, but I think we’ll be playing at least a little bit of post-season ball come March.

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Pitt Update 8/11/09

image from postgazette.com

image from postgazette.com

First and foremost, I’m sorry for failing to update in forever.  It’s been an extremely busy week for me, and I just couldn’t put in the time.  I’ll be better in the future.  As for the Buccos, I’ve missed two straight series recaps, but judging by the hits to the site when I put up Pirate posts, no one really cares about the Pirate recaps anyway.  The quick rundown of the Diamondbacks/Cardinals series are that we stunk.  A lot.  We were swept in both.  The offense stunk.  The pitching stunk.  Matt Capps plunked Albert Pujols out of what I’m sure was frustration.  It was bad.  So, now that that’s out of the way, I figured I’d put up a post about something else.  Usually Tuesday is the new ‘My Two Cents’ segment, but I felt like that was a rut.  I kept saying over and over again that if rules are set ahead of time, they have to be followed.  They can be changed, but they have to be lived with in the present.  People want to complain when the rules that are set up aren’t always ideal or fair.  Well, tough.  Learn from it.  Change them moving forward and live with what happened in the past.  Anyway, I figure I’ll take a week off to see if I can find a different tangent to take.  In the meantime, Pitt’s been in the news a lot lately, and I figured I’d give a quick update of their goings-on.  I’ll probably do likewise for the Steelers this week sometime.  I know that’s probably eagerly anticipated.  I’m pumped to write about something besides the Pirates.  So, without further adieu, here we go:

Uni Change

In case you haven’t heard, Pitt switched their sponsor from Adidas to Nike.  The new football uniforms are above.  They look pretty nice.  Classic and plain.  Just the way I like it.  I’m always in the camp that you can only do harm by putting a bunch of crap on a football uniform.  Isn’t that right, Oregon?

image from faniq.com

image from faniq.com

But, alas, I am no fashion expert.  You can make your own judgement.  Enjoy the future swoosh clothes, Panther fans.

Agnes Goes Overseas

Women’s basketball coach Agnes Berenato was selected to go overseas and speak to the troops with a few other college basketball coaches.  I’ve had the opportunity to speak with Coach B a few times, and I can say that she’s one of the most charismatic people I’ve ever met.  I always leave encounters with her more motivated than when I came.  I have no idea why.  But I know that hearing a personality like that can only do positive things for our men and women overseas.  Agnes is keeping a diary on the post gazette online if you want to keep up.

Couple of Basketball Commits

Chase Adams from Centenary College and Cameron Wright from outside Cleveland both committed to Pitt.  Adams will join the team this year as a point guard and be immediately able to start.  Centenary was a Division I school last year, but is dropping all the way to Division III.  That means all their kids can transfer penalty free.  The book on Adams is that he’s had decent production against good BCS teams (as he should being the centerpiece of the team) and he’s a defense first guy (defensive player of the year in the summit league last year).  He’s only available for one more season, so he better make the most of this year.  I’ve heard some rumblings that this is a sign that Coach Dixon is not impressed with his current stable of guards.  I disagree.  I think this is just a gamble free hedging of his bet.  Travon Woodall would be my next choice for starting PG (I know about Ashton Gibbs and how he’s been doing ok at the point, but he’s still a natural shooting guard).  Travon got hurt and sat out 90% of last year.  The plan was to have him play behind Levance last year and take over this year.  When that didn’t go as planned, Dixon brought in an insurance policy that doesn’t cost more than a one year scholarship we had in our back pocket anyway.  I think it’s brilliant and worked out quite nicely.  A team doesn’t move down in class with an experienced PG we can grab every year.

Wright is the more inconsequential of the two right now because he doesn’t come until next year.  He’s a solid recruit, but not outstanding.  Seems to be a typical Dixon guy.  Not a prolific scorer in high school.  Someone who will buy into the defense/unselfishness that Pitt preaches.  We’ll see how he  pans out next year.

Football Starts Practicing

The Pitt football team started practicing on the South Side again today.  It’s way too early to get a read on anything, but there are a few question marks that will be fun to watch.  Quarterback play first and foremost.  Pat Bostick, Tino Sunseri and Bill Stull will all compete for the job with it apparently being Stull’s to loose.  From what I’ve heard, Bostick had another terrific summer, so who knows what will happen with him.  Maybe this is the year he blossoms into a great QB.  I doubt it, though.  He’s not mobile enough to  be a star in the college game.  However, if there ever was a year for him, this is it.  He needs time to throw, and this is supposedly one of the best line’s Pitt’s seen in a while.  Sunseri is a wild card because he hasn’t played a down, and hasn’t really competed for a starting job yet.  Stull is the known entity.  Sorta.  He had a terrible second half to the season (which most Pitt fans remember and why this is even an issue).  But what most people fail to remember is that Stull had a concussion against Rutgers.  I noticed a drop in production after that.  Maybe a summer to (literally) clear his head will do him good.  Also, a change of system might help him as well.  Matt Cavanaugh’s offense was basically put the ball in Shady’s hands or wing it to Baldwin.  That meant most of Stull’s throws were screen passes or 40 yard bombs.  Well, Stull didn’t have much of an arm, so the over the top plays didn’t work so well unless Baldwin outran his opponent by so much he had time to run under the ball (which happened).  He also just couldn’t make a screen pass to save his life.  I have no idea why.  But he was pretty good on the few routes over the middle he threw.  His strength is definitely his decision making.  Frank Cignetti Jr. said he will open up the offense a little more.  That could mean asking Stull to make more passes that fit his skill set.  Just food for thought.

The other main concern is special teams.  We have to replace a kicker, a punter and a long snapper.  The long snapper is someone who no one will know once he starts playing, so why start now?  I know how important that job is (just ask the Steelers), but I think as long as you do it every day and with the same holder, you’ll be fine.  It’s a consistency issue.  I’m not worried.  The punter seems to be decided: Dan Hutchins.  The kicker will either be him or Kevin Harper.  Not sure about Hutchins’ kicking pedigree, but Harper was recruited as a kicker and had some impressive boots in high school.  We’ll have to just see if he can handle the pressure of NCAA football.

Pitt’s #1

Pitt was ranked as #1 in the Big East by the media.  Most people reacted to this with laughter.  Which I’m a little insulted by.  What’s wrong with us being #1?  We have some issues (see above), but we also have one of the best defenses in the country last year mostly in tact.  I don’t get it.  But I digress.  If you really want to laugh, you’re not looking at the total picture.  The first 5 teams were separated by only 35 points.  #6 was 52 points behind #5.  The #3 team had just as many first place votes as #1.  The voters are clearly telling us there’s 5 teams that could win and Pitt is one of them.  But, unfortunately, most people were too lazy to look at any number besides the one to the left of the team.

So that’s about it for Pitt about now.  I’ll keep you posted as we get closer to the first game.

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