Posted: 2:00 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, 2013
ESPN's Jason King wrote a lengthy offseason preview of sorts about the ACC. The article goes in detail about some big storylines and highlights each team's best and worst case scenarios for the season. Pitt is generally thought of a strong basketball program these days, and the article agrees, but still raises some questions.
One of the five storylines is titled "Pittsburgh departures." Obviously Pitt lost Steven Adams to the NBA draft and Tray Woodall to graduation. Also, Trey Zeigler and JJ Moore opted to transfer for their senior seasons. Now at the time, I have to admit I was quite concerned with all the bad news Pitt was dealt after the season. I think it had to do with the timing of all the departures, and the lack of recruits at the time of those said transfers. After the dust settled, though, Pitt managed to add a solid core of recruits and transfers themselves. Nationally, I get why that would be a cause for concern, but Pitt is in better shape than most realize.
The best/worst case scenarios praised Jamie Dixon and the program. King mentions the same generic scouting report national writers have been using for Pitt for a decade now: "Defense," "offensive rebounds," "physical" - well, you get it. He also mentions incoming freshman Mike Young, indicating that he has an advanced post up game for a young guy and that Pitt's frontcourt will present challenges to the finesse teams of the league.
The worst case scenario mentioned isn't even all that bad. He suggests Pitt at worst is still a top half team in the league and with that spot in the standings, it is almost implied that Pitt would still be a tournament team. King also thinks the physical Big East style of play contrasting with the ACC officiating will not be much of an issue.
Pitt returns three starters from a NCAA tournament team in Lamar Patterson, Talib Zanna, and James Robinson. They also bring back two key reserves in Cam Wright and Durand Johnson. Pitt will also welcome top 50 recruits, Mike Young and Detrick Mostella. How this all plays out in wins and losses is yet to be determined, but after a lot of concerns early on, things suddenly don't look so bad.