Finding Room For The Enigmatic Talib Zanna

Talib Zanna pulled down 15 rebounds against Robert Morris on Sunday (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

With Dante Taylor battling migranes the past two games, freshman Khem Birch and sophomore Talib Zanna have been thrust into the spotlight this week.

Birch has gotten the starts and shown he's deserving of that. But in case you haven't noticed, Zanna hasn't played all that bad, either.

In the two games that Taylor's missed, Zanna has had 18 points and 17 rebounds. Now, 15 of those boards came against Robert Morris in the last game, and earlier this season, he's had the type of inconsistency that we've come to expect from him. But like he did in early games last season against Rhode Island, North Florida, and Maryland, he's shown the ability to put together good games.

Like I said in the Robert Morris recap, as a sophomore, he's already turned into one of the most frustrating Pitt players to watch. And then there was the whole freak injury fiasco. But on the floor, it almost looks like a confidence thing with him as sometimes he just looks timid out there.

I don't know what happens from here on out with him once Taylor comes back. In the short term, it's pretty clear to me that he goes back to being a sub. But what happens if Dante struggles? The way Birch has played, I think he's the one that slides into that starting spot. But what we could see is Zanna and Taylor split backup minutes.

The team is better off, obviously, if Taylor starts living up to his potential. Having three quality big men is better than two. But it's nice to see Zanna string together some good performances and give Pitt another option.

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