I think this was a move most of us saw when we started looking at this team for the upcoming season. Now, the move is official. Tray Woodall, who started at PG for Pitt in their exhibition win over La Roche, will be the starting PG for Pitt in their regular season opener Friday night against Albany.
Again, this isn't a surprise. Ashton Gibbs, as good of a player as he is, is no point guard. Even when he played the position last season, it was obvious that either Brad Wanamaker or Woodall were really calling the plays depending on who was on the floor. This isn't a shot against Gibbs, but this move will allow him to solely focus on what he does best: shooting.
"Tray is back in the mold of Levance and Brandin, guys who are pass first and look for assists," [Pitt assistant coach Pat] Sandle said. "It comes naturally to him. Because Ashton is such a dynamic shooter we didn't want to take that away from him. We want him to concentrate on moving without the ball and getting his shots. Tray can get into the gaps and make plays. Traditionally, that's what we're looking for."
So...we should expect more of these?
If Woodall can play as well as Levance Fields did in his senior season (7.6 assists per game, 3.8 assist-to-turnover ratio, 10.7 points per game), Pitt will have at least answered the question of the identity of a reliable second option for points after Gibbs. It'll also go a long way to replacing the loss of Wanamaker, who did a little bit of everything for the past two seasons. Obviously, with this being his first year as a starter, we shouldn't expect that much of him. Production wise, I'm mostly hoping for him to have around the same number of points per game, 5 assists per game, and an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.5-3. In the two exhibition games, Woodall shot 6 of 13 from the floor, including 3 of 5 from 3, while dishing out 18 assists and only turning the ball over 3 times.
"Running the team is something that I've always been accustomed to, getting other guys shots," Woodall said. "That's why I've been working all summer on my shot. I've been getting up thousands of shots daily. I have to be one of those guys who can knock down open shots, especially when they start keying on Ashton. ... My percentage will shoot up tremendously just based on me being confident shooting the ball."