Pitt will throw Mike Young and Jamel Artis into the fire

Justin K. Aller

Pitt has a couple of talented incoming freshman at power forward in Mike Young and do-everything forward Jamel Artis ... and it's a good thing.

With the losses of starting center Steven Adams and backup center Dante Taylor to the NBA and graduation, respectively, (along with the unplanned transfer of Malcolm Gilbert earlier) the Panthers' frontcourt suddenly got real thin. The losses forced Jamie Dixon's hand and last year's starting power forward Talib Zanna had to move to center for this season.

That, of course, fixed one problem but created another one in a hole at power forward. Enter Young and Artis.

The two are reportedly battling it out for the starting spot there and while talented, they're still true freshmen. But with the move of Zanna, Dixon really has little choice but to play them both immediately.

The good news is that while there's youth there, there's some experience in the frontcourt surrounding them. Zanna and Patterson are the two seniors on the team and with them at center and small forward, the Young/Artis combo won't be hung out to dry.

Other problems that Pitt has are the injuries to transfers Joseph Uchebo and Derrick Randall. Both were expected to help fill the void left by Adams, Taylor, and Gilbert, but both have been sitting out recently with knee injuries. Uchebo, coming off of major surgery, is the bigger concern, obviously, but Randall was expected to provide some depth. Both again sat out the second Blue-Gold game, and if they're out for any length of time, that just means Young and Artis will need to do even more.

Also consider that Young will likely also be needed as a backup center - particularly with Uchebo and Randall out.

The bottom line is that you can expect to see a heavy dose of the duo this year.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and manager/editor of Cardiac Hill @AnsonWhaley

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