Last night was the first night of the popular Greentree Summer League and Pitt's star recruit Steven Adams took center stage. He did not disappoint the crowd on hand, including head coach Jamie Dixon, scoring six points, dishing out three assists, and perhaps most importantly grabbing 18 rebounds. Yes, it's a summer league game. But 18 rebounds is still pretty impressive regardless if it's a pickup game or the National Championship Game.
"I just make sure I do all the little things so we win," Adams said afterward. "I try not to force things. As long as we get the 'W,' I don't care about my personal stats."
Adams was matched up with West Virginia center Pat Forsythe for much of the game and did more than hold his own. Adams scored all of his points in the first half. His first field goal was a tip-in and his second also came from an offensive rebound. He repeatedly tipped balls to himself over Forsythe (6-10) and others.
"I definitely see a bright future for him," Taylor said. "He has a knack for rebounding, just certain things that you can’t teach a player."
Adams, who played prep ball last season at Notre Dame (Mass.) Prep, remains his toughest critic.
"Me, personally, I don’t think I’m doing too well," he said. "(Taylor and junior forward/center Talib Zanna) know a lot of technical things that I still have to learn. I’m still kind of raw.
The first game of Greentree is always the most anticipated. It gives the locals usually their first look at Pitt's new recruiting class. It was the same last season with Khem Birch. But Ray Fittipaldo of the Post-Gazette points out the difference between last year and last night.
One big difference between Adams and Khem Birch, a freshman everyone wanted to see a year ago, is Adams' physical stature. Since coming to America this winter, he has put on 33 pounds and weighs a solid 248 without any noticeable body fat. Birch came to Pitt frail and stayed that way until he transferred to UNLV midseason.
That was one of Birch's problems prior to transferring. If there was a bigger body down low, he seemed to get pushed around a bit. It's good to know though that despite Adams putting on 33 pounds, it's mostly muscle and not because of Big Macs. Or Primanti's. Or eating three meals half price at Fuel and Fuddle.
Adams' favorite spot is the Fuel and Fuddle in Oakland, where he takes full advantage of late-night, half-price specials. He usually goes for a steak burger, a turkey burger and a small pizza.
"The [workouts] are just so intense I can eat whatever and just run it off," he said.
Yet despite all the recognition, Adams still believes there's work to be done.
"Me personally, I don't think I'm doing too well skill-wise," Adams said. "They know a lot of technical things. I still have to learn that. I'm still kind of raw. I used to be able to rely on my size. Now that I'm versing bigger and stronger dudes, I have to get my footwork right. Talib, he's amazing. He's a good player. He's been teaching me. He's a real good team player, too. He's been teaching me all the basic stuff I need to know."
It's going to be a long four months until he suits up in a Pitt uniform for the first time at the Blue-Gold Scrimmage.