The annual Pittsburgh Basketball club Pro Am games are kicking off tonight down at Montour High School. As I wrote earlier, there are some changes this year.
It's always difficult to take too many things away from the games since only a couple of Pitt players will be on any given team and they'll be playing with mostly non-teammates. Still, it's a good chance to get your basketball fix in over the summer months.
Also, if you haven't seen them yet, here are the rosters and schedule.
Here are a few things to watch for this year:
5. Take your Pick: One of the new things this year is that with a couple of courts, fans will have to take their pick as to which games they want to watch. More games can now be played, but it also means that you'll need to decide which Pitt players you want to see. Many times, guys will be on different courts playing at the same time.
4. Joseph Uchebo's Knee: Uchebo played last year, but really had minimal impact, getting mostly garbage time minutes. It was apparent that he wasn't 100% and that his mobility was somewhat limited, so it'll be interesting to see if he appears more comfortable. Playing more minutes would really go a long way to helping Pitt figure out what they're doing at center this season.
3. Outside Shooting: Pitt has really been hampered without the presence of deadly outside shooting last year and it will be interesting to see if anyone steps forward as a consistent threat. Particularly, the Panthers really need more in that area from James Robinson and Cameron Wright. I don't care how the points from those two guys really come and scoring efficiency is much more important to me. But having someone to knock down shots from the outside would really make sure opposing defenses can't play off of guys on the perimeter. Pitt's best outside threat may be Durand Johnson only because he's willing to take shots - and he was actually one of the most inconsistent shooters on the team before going down with an injury, connecting on only 40% of his shots from the field.
2. Mike Young's Aggression: Young came in as the most heralded of Pitt's freshmen last year, but despite getting big minutes, often had a difficult time filling the box score. The Panthers will need him to do a little more this season and the area I want to see more production is in rebounding consistency. At times he was fine (averaging 6.8 rebounds over a five-game stretch in November and December) but others, he really struggled - in more than half of Pitt's games, Young had only three rebounds or less as the team's starting power forward. For someone playing 21 minutes a game, that's not nearly enough. I'd really like to see him come in and get on the glass in these games.
1. Newcomers - Big men Tyrone Haughton and Shaquille Doorson aren't expected to play, but you will be able to get a glimpse of other incoming players in Sheldon Jeter and Cameron Johnson on the South Hills Audi team. Jeter is the one guy many expect to be able to come and contribute a significant amount so it will be good to finally see him in action after sitting out last year.
- Pitt Players in the Pro-Am: Josh Newkirk
- Pitt's Adam Bisnowaty expected to be 100% for training camp
- Pitt Players in the Pro-Am: Jamel Artis
- 2014 Pittsburgh Basketball Club Pro Am Rosters Released
- Pitt Players in the Pro-Am: Michael Young