Trey Zeigler will be in a Pitt uniform this fall (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
With the Trey Zeigler eligibility situation being sorted out several days ago, I'm not going to go over a full link rundown. But in all the hysteria about the decision, I did want to at least offer a few thoughts on it.
1. It was the right decision by the NCAA. I don't say this as a Pitt homer, rather as someone looking at the situation objectively. Trey had numerous offers to play for bigger schools than Central Michigan. While he could have conceivably gone to play for the school if his father wasn't the head coach there, there's no doubt that was a big role in his decision. Now, most players choose a school based at least a bit on the head coach. But this was indeed a special circumstance because it was the kid's father. Returning to play there would have been far more different because of the fact it was his dad. Kudos to the NCAA for recognizing this was indeed a special case.2. Depth, depth, depth. The key to Zeigler's eligibility is really depth. Pitt could have trotted out a backcourt of Tray Woodall and J.J. Moore/Lamar Patterson (with the other starting at small forward), but that would have severely limited Pitt's depth and given the team no real veteran option off the bench. With Zeigler, Pitt now has a bit of a luxury with Moore presumably coming off the bench. Moore took some real steps forward at the end of last season and should be a much-improved player for Pitt this year. Having a big-time scoring option off the bench is huge and the fact that it could be someone as versatile as Moore is even bigger.
3. Don't jump the gun. This all sounds great and, to be honest, I'm having trouble holding back my expectations for the team. All of that said, there's no guarantee this is going to work out the way we think it will. As I pointed out before, Zeigler has trouble shooting free throws isn't a great three-point shooter. That's even before we get to any potential chemistry issues with the team and how he'll fit in Dixon's offense that won't revolve around him. I think it will work out and, trust me, I'd rather have him than not. All I'm saying is, this is still kind of a wait-and-see situation. Maybe not so much in the sense that Zeigler won't be a great fit, but in terms that his addition might not solve everything.
The thing that makes me think this will all work out, though, is not only is Zeigler an excellent player, but he grew up a bit around the Pitt program since his dad was an assistant here and should at least have a rough idea of what the program's about. I think Zeigler will do what it takes to make Pitt better and this team should be better than what we saw last year.