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A Meaningful Scrimmage?

Normally, I'd say scrimmages are meaningless. But the blue-gold basketball game held yesterday might actually have some importance for Pitt, at least in terms of getting a feel for how players perform against real competition. Sure, they're getting plenty of that in practice, but to be on the court with actual fans in attendance had to be at least a little different.

Personally, I'd like to see March Madness back as it was briefly here in the late 90s. If top programs like North Carolina and Kentucky can do it, then we should be as well. Period.

I digress.

On this night, anyway, newcomer Chase Adams looked like the star, scoring 21 and was surprisingly accurate from 3-point range - at least for someone who was touted as a defensive player. Despite the output, though, he still sees himself as being a defense-first type of guy, which is good for Pitt:

"I definitely view myself more as a defensive player, but as of late I've been shooting pretty well," Adams said. "I've been more comfortable shooting the ball, and coach has been telling me when I have the open shot to take the open shot. I've been trying to establish myself as an offensive player as well."

In Adams, Pitt may have a real leader after the mass exodus of talent:
Long before he transferred to Pitt from a 938-student college in Louisiana, Chase Adams played for one of the top high school teams in the nation.

His Mount Saint Joseph (Md.) team had won a state-record 38 games in a row but lost to traditional power DeMatha (Md.) in the final game of the season.

The team finished ranked No. 8 in the USA Today, but Adams was inconsolable.

"He doesn't like to lose," Mount Saint Joseph coach Pat Clatchey said. "After the game, he was just like after any other time we lost. He wasn't happy."

Said Adams, "I've got a strong competitive nature, and it makes me want to win at all costs. I didn't have any intentions of losing tonight."

Not even wanting to lose in an exhibition game? A game that was so much of an exhibition that some players changed teams in the middle of the game? Sick - I like it.

Make no mistake - I don't think Pitt will be a run and gun offense. They never have been in this recent run of success and without Blair/Fields/Young, may need to be more of a defensive team than ever in order to compete. But with Adams, Gibbs, Wanamaker, Dixon, and Woodall, this team could put up more three-pointers than normal and look to score more outside than they have in the past.

One revelation that came out of the game was that Dante Taylor will play center. Call me crazy, but I think there's virtually no chance he leaves after this year for the NBA. He'd have to have a heck of a year to be considered a lock for a first-round pick. True, Pitt will need to rely heavily on underclassmen this year, but with so many guys getting minutes this year, I think he will have a hard time putting up the type of dominant numbers he would need to in order to be considered for a top pick.

No, I don't base this on the fact that he struggled in this game and had only seven shots. Just keep this in mind - Pitt has always had a tough time letting any one guy take over. Sam Young was really the only person in recent memory who could...and he had to wait until he was a junior. Streaky Carl Krauser and Chris Taft couldn't despite having maybe the most overall talent on their respective teams. A seven-foot Aaron Gray couldn't even average 15.0 ppg despite being several inches taller than many of his opponents guarding him.

Not to say that Pitt SHOULD let one player dominate on offense...and truth be told, Young may have been the closest they've had as a go-to-guy, so you can't fault the coaches in my opinion. But it will be extremely difficult for a true freshman to come in and put up the type of numbers at Pitt to warrant being a lock for a first-round pick. Pitt hasn't had a 20 point scorer and no underclassman has been able to score 16.0 ppg in this recent run of greatness. If Taylor is unable to put up dominant numbers on a team with perceivably no real stars, then I think NBA GMs would have a hard time justifying him as a first-round lock. Yes he's young and yes the potential is there, but I don't know if that's enough, seeing he wasn't a consensus top 10 or even top 15 incoming freshman nationally.

Back to the game - Ray Fittipaldo of the PG who had a live blog running for the game, has a good look at some of the stats showing just how much Pitt's departures will be missed.

The official box score shows plenty of guys had good nights including Brad Wanamaker and Ashton Gibbs totaling 36 points. I'm extremely curious to see how the rotation will end up.

And this is a little old, but Gilbert Brown is still apparently on schedule to come back at his earliest possible return date, December 20th.