For the last seven years, the Pittsburgh Basketball Club's summer Pro-Am has been held in Greentree, just outside of downtown Pittsburgh. This year, the venue will be at Montour High School in McKees Rocks - home of the Montour Spartans.
While the change in venues is going to allow for two games to be played at once, at 7 and 8 pm, respectively, the best regional talent in the area will once again be participating. There are several changes this year, but something that won't be changing is that the games are free to the public, and there will be ample parking.
As of Thursday, there wasn't yet any confirmed information on who will be participating in the event, but most of the team should be there. With that in mind, I am going to start a series of articles that outlines what I hope each Panther has improved on since the season ended, and if they are looking to incorporate those wrinkles in a competitive setting.
I was recently hired as a regional NBA scout, but will be maintaining my contributor status here at Cardiac Hill (so long as Anson doesn't let me go), and also Mid-Major Madness (NEC, Robert Morris). My point: I will be attending these games for a multitude of reasons, and will be documenting how each Pitt player is performing.
What better place to begin with than guard Cameron Wright, presumably the lone senior in next year's starting lineup. He was arguably the teams best overall athlete last season, and he averaged 10 points per game, 3.3 rebounds per game, and 2.6 assists per game as a junior. He's best known for his mid-range game, particularly on either baseline; last season he shot 41.3% on his two-point jumpers.
Those are pretty respectable numbers for a third or fourth option on offense who seldom had plays called for him. Wright did a lot of his damage slashing to the hoop and finding seams in the defense where he could take his mid-range jumper. This upcoming season without forwards Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna, Wright is going to need to take his game to another level.
For starters, he is going to need to extend the range on his jumper. Last season, Cam made just 10 three-pointers on 43 attempts. Now, I am all for a guy who knows his limitations, but the Pitt offense is going to be severely limited if every defender can go under screens to defend Wright.
Cam wasn't involved in a lot of screen-and-rolls last season because it made little sense with Patterson on the team. However, he is going to have the ball in his hands more this season and will need to be able to create some kind of offense out of those situations.
With that, he is going to need to improve his handle. While Wright isn't loose with the ball, he isn't capable of really using his dribble to get to where he wants to go on the court. I won't get greedy here and say that he needs to be able to find his teammates off the bounce, as he is already an unselfish player, but being able to get to your comfort spots on the floor is a pretty big deal on the offensive end.
Defensively, Cam is already an above average on-ball defender that leverages his athleticism and length (for a shooting guard) to make life difficult for opposing players. Another year in the system will certainly yield some incremental improvements.
Overall, Wright needs to go from a very good complimentary player, to a viable option on offense. Hopefully, this is will be a natural evolution for him as it's been for several other four-year Panther players over the years.
- Stats courtesy of Hoops-Math.