Great analysis on Pitt's last preseason game from reader Buccos2028:
Take this for what it is worth. The first twenty minutes of an exhibition game against Kentucky Wesleyan, a team with just absolutely hideous uniforms. I was in town for a few days and paid an absurd $35 to get a look at the 2011-2012 Panthers. That's $1.75/minute, even worse than Downtown parking. Dynamic pricing MUST be implemented across all college and professional sports, the place was half full and could have filled up if cheap $4 or $5 seats were available.
First, he has great body control, which allows him to easily adjust to the defender, opposing team's defensive scheme and, even, the referee's style of game calling. There were a few times he was driving the lane, where he looked completely out of control, then made a great adjustment in the air to effortlessly lay it in the hoop. He knows his body's limitations and will not try to be a player that he is not (except for that botched dunk attempt where he was rejected by the rim). This body control bodes well for him on the defensive end, he's not going to fall for many pump fakes or lose position on the low block and commit silly over-the-back fouls.
Secondly, and related to body control, LP has exceptionally soft hands. There was one instance where T-Wood drove the lane into traffic (without much conviction), lost control of the ball, and, as the ball was heading out of bounds, Lamar snagged it and easily laid it in. Hands Man, as I'm now calling him, will benefit greatly from this skill most notably in the post. Anytime Ashton, T-Wood or Nasir draw attention in the lane, they can feel confident in dumping it off to Lamar for a quick lay-up or mid-range jumper.
What other season prognostications can I make in watching twenty minutes of exhibition basketball? Oh, I think Cameron Wright will see decent playing time solely for his defense. Going out on a limb, but I think he is Coach Dixon's most complete perimeter defender. He has the length, quickness and size to match up with the most athletic guards in the Big East. Seriously, who is going to guard Lamb, Triche and DJO this year?
Brad and Gilbert are gone. Ashton is too small and not strong enough to man up against these 6-4, 200+ guards. Lamar? Probably not quick enough. Maybe, JJ Moore since he's in the starting rotation, but I am not sold on his defensive ability, yet.
Cameron looked wide at the top of the key and did a pretty good job at defending the pick and roll. He stayed on his man at times, but also switched defenders rather effectively. Because this is such an integral part of Jamie Dixon's defense, he is looking for guys to defend this play successfully.
My two worst nightmares from last year (I'm not counting the Butler game as that is considered far worse than nightmarish) had to be the Notre Dame home loss, where Ben Hansborough tore us apart with the high screen and roll, then the ankle breaking in the Garden, where we mistakenly switched on Kemba and had McGhee guarding him at the top of the key. Needless to say, if someone, like Cameron Wright, can learn to defend this play, which I think he can because of his versatility, look for him to see some quality minutes, maybe even late in games. On the offensive end, his jump shot is appalling and can't comprehend how a redshirt year couldn't produce even a decent jump shot for a 6-4, 210 pound guard.
I wanted to talk about Tray Woodall's point guard play, but I think I will save that for the next post. The bigger question is: When did he change his official roster name from Travon to Tray? I will talk to the Onomastics Professor at Pitt and get his scholarly opinion on name-changing.
See yinz on Friday night.