Head coach Jamie Dixon (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
While we're still quite a ways away from the start of basketball season, there's plenty of links out there on the worldwide web. Speculation must be given. Lists must be made.
First up, Seth Davis spoke with Jamie Dixon and wonders if Pitt will be able to bounce back after a poor 2011-12:
Will Pitt be able to bounce back? The answer depends largely on the health of veteran point guard Tray Woodall, who had surgery to fix the sports hernia that sidelined him for 11 games last season. Woodall came back for the final stretch of the season, but he wasn't nearly the same player he was before he got hurt. Dixon told me that Woodall is "pretty close" to being cleared for practice. Also, 6-6 junior forward J.J. Moore is still recovering from the broken foot he sustained during a pickup game after the season was over.
If Pitt is going to be a ranked team again, it will need production from its new players. Dixon caught a break when the NCAA granted 6-5 junior guard Trey Zeigler a hardship waiver after his previous school, Central Michigan, fired his father as its coach. That allowed Zeigler to transfer to Pitt and be eligible to play right away. Dixon also signed two highly-rated freshmen, 7-foot New Zealand native Steven Adams and 6-3 guard James Robinson. Adams is particularly intriguing because of his height and skill set, but Dixon tried to downplay expectations that Adams will be a high-scoring center. "The main thing he does well is guard the post," he told me. "But he'll be a bigger story because of the type of kid he is. He's mature. He's all about the team. He's there for the right reasons. It's very refreshing to coach a kid who is like that even though he's coming in with a lot of hype."
More after the jump.
And what would any offseason be without lists? Lists! We need to arbitrary rank things and then argue about it! Athlon ranked the top 30 college basketball coaches and Jamie Dixon is lucky number 13:
Overall record: 238-77 (11-8 in the NCAA Tournament)
Record at Pittsburgh: 238-77 (103-51 Big East)
Dixon’s teams often have been lauded as overachievers, but he finally had a season where nothing seemed to go right in 2012-13. The Panthers went 5-13 in the Big East as Dixon missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time in his nine-year head coaching career. Still, one bad season in nine (or 11, going back to the end of the Ben Howland tenure) is something Pitt will take after long stretches of irrelevance.
Dixon is third in the Big East behind Boeheim (5th) and Pitino (6th), which is probably about right. But Cal's Mike Montgomery at 11 seems insanely high. (See how that works?)
On the recruiting front, Pitt seems to have a lot of interest in 2013 wing Jamel Artis:
Mike Young and Jamel Artis are the most public of Pitt 2013 targets right now. Artis, according to— Oakland Zoo (@OaklandZoo) July 23, 2012
@mattsteinbrink, has Pitt as his fav
The Baltimore native only has offers from Pitt, La Salle and Dayton. Not exactly hall of fame programs, but clearly Pitt believes he's underrated. He's a 3-star unranked player by both Rivals and ESPN.
In other recruiting news, top-50 prospect Tyler Roberson will be visiting Pitt soon, according to Pantherlair's Matt Steinbrink. At 6'7", Roberson is a versatile forward prospect, but from his highlights, he seems to be more of a small forward. (NOTE: This conforms with my basketball recruiting hypothesis - every player between 6'3" and 6'9" think that he's a small forward. It always happens. Always.) With several wings already on the roster - and Jamel Artis seemingly headed toward a commitment - file Roberson in the "unlikely" column.
Also unlikely-but-interested is 2013 point guard Rysheed Jordan. The elite point guard named several schools to College Basketball Talk, but it's unclear whether he mentioned Pitt or the writer was just listing some of the bigger offers as "in the mix." We'll find out soon enough as he also says he's cutting his list soon. With Tray Woodall leaving after this season, Pitt needs another point guard to backup James Robinson. Perhaps that player could be John Johnson, but I'm not comfortable with the position after this season. The geographically-friendly talent pool at point guard is already depleted for 2013 and I'm doubting that Pitt will end up with a ball-handler in this class.