Pitt's incoming freshmen should see time in 2013-14

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt's incoming freshmen may not have been initially slated to play significant minutes in 2013, but that will change with some key departures.

The Panthers knew they were losing senior Dante Taylor in the frontcourt, but they weren't expecting to lose Malcolm Gilbert to a transfer or Steven Adams to the NBA Draft (after he declared he was coming back). Because of that, Pitt is thin there.

The losses will either force Talib Zanna to play center, or the Panthers will need to bring in a JUCO center or recruit one. That leaves a void at power forward and while J.J. Moore could play some minutes there, Pitt surely needs another option. That will be Mike Young, who has impressed this season (including in the recent NHSI Tournament where his team was a buzzer beater away from winning a title). It's a good thing Young looks ready because he'll be called upon. I'd feel much better about the frontcourt had Beejay Anya signed with Pitt as well, but it is what it is.

Pitt is also in trouble at guard. Soon-to-be senior Trey Zeigler announced he was transferring and Tray Woodall graduated. Pitt has James Robinson and Cam Wright back for next year, but need some help there as well. Chris Jones is a G/F but redshirted this season and wasn't a highly touted player. And Durand Johnson could play minutes there, but he's really a small forward. The bottom line is that there's a good chance incoming freshman Josh Newkirk gets minutes this year. There's less of a need for him to play with Jones and Johnson available, but that's assuming that everyone not only stays healthy, but is effective.

The Panthers could again be relying on freshmen as they did this season with Steven Adams and James Robinson.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics.

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