When the argument for playing in the CBI came around, a reason for playing by many was to get experience for some of Pitt's raw freshmen. But the Panthers' sophomores might be benefiting even more.
We're getting a glimpse of the future as Pitt's sophomores have led the way a bit in getting the team to the finals. The Panthers' upperclassmen have played well at times during the tournament, but second-year players Talib Zanna, J.J. Moore, and Lamar Patterson are really stepping up.Patterson, who averaged under ten points a game this season has stepped his game up, scoring 15 per contest in the CBI Tournament. Pitt also might not be heading to the finals without his big three-pointer late in the game against Butler on Monday and he's demonstrated that he's capable of being a bit of a 'go to' offensive player. Patterson is also shooting better than 50% from three-point range in the tournament and is surpassing his season averages in rebounds and assists as well.
After lying dormant much of the season, Moore played much more aggressively at the end of the season and that's continued in the CBI games. He's averaging just under 12 points a game (nearly double his 6.9 season average) in the CBI games and is also shooting better, hitting more than 45% of his shots from the field and from three-point range (contrasted to 42% and 34% respectively during the season). Another thing to like is that Moore is playing under control. Over Pitt's three CBI games, he has only a single turnover.
Last, but not least, is Zanna. His numbers in the CBI also dwarf his season averages. Zanna is averaging nearly 13 points (5.3 during the season) and seven rebounds (5.2 during the season) per game. He's also making nearly 70% of his shots and tallying a block and a steal a game.
All three are making a pretty good case for being able to contribute even more next year.