We all know that Pitt basketball hasn't typically relied on freshmen in the Jamie Dixon era. As Dejuan Blair proved, though, talented freshmen will get a chance to shine.
But after a down season, ESPN's Andy Katz says Dixon will need to depend quite a bit on freshmen this season to get back to prominence.
In one of his recent posts, Katz said:
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said upperclassmen Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna have proven to be leaders early in the first few weeks of workouts. The freshmen -- Steven Adams, James Robinson and Chris Jones -- have stood out as being physically and mentally mature to contribute at the beginning of the season. Pitt has had a history of developing its players and not getting the maximum from the freshmen. But this program will need, and now it looks like it will get, immediate production from the freshmen class. This is a must that will likely lead to quite a turnaround from a 22-17 CBI champ (5-13 Big East) season.
We all know Adams will play from the get go, but to be honest, the core of Pitt's team this year will actually be comprised of mostly upperclassmen. In the backcourt, there's senior Tray Woodall and junior Trey Zeigler, who should be the starters. At forward, juniors Lamar Patterson, J.J. Moore, and Talib Zanna should be the best options. And at center, there's Adams and senior Dante Taylor.
Freshmen James Robinson, Durand Johnson (redshirt), and Chris Jones may get some time, but for the most part, the bulk of the heavy lifting will be done by Adams and the upperclassmen. There's a lot of talk about Robinson getting significant minutes, but I just don't see how Pitt can take Woodall and Zeigler off the court all that much.
The other option, as some have suggested, is to start Robinson and play Woodall at shooting guard. But to me, I want as much leadership on the floor and I think a backcourt of Woodall/Zeigler does that.