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McGhee And Wanamaker Will Be Keys

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Fran Fraschilla over at ESPN.com is busy assembling lists of some of the top basketball players in the country. Two Pitt guys were included on his first two lists.

Brad Wanamaker was listed as one of Fraschilla's ten most versatile players (Must be an Insider to view) while center Gary McGhee was named as one of the best defenders (Must be an Insider to view).

Just goes to show you how much some players can improve over four years. I remember when Wanamaker was forced to handle the ball. He looked like, well, a freshman. McGhee, playing behind DeJuan Blair two seasons ago, looked like your prototypical backup center. Slow, hands of stone, and out of place.

Fast forward to last year. Wanamaker did indeed develop into a 'do everything' type of guard. He scored (12.3  ppg), rebounded as so many other Pitt guards before him have done (5.7 rpg), and dished out assists (4.7 apg), while averaging more than 32 minutes per game. Then, you've got Gary McGhee - he averaged nearly seven points and seven rebounds per game in his first season as a starter. But as Fraschilla points out, it was his defense that helped make him so valuable. Case in point - he only had seven points and five rebounds in a loss to Georgetown last season, but helped to hold NBA First-Round Draft Pick Greg Monroe to 13 points on 4-14 shooting. He poses an even bigger problem for guards driving to the basket.

Neither player is likely NBA-bound - even McGhee at his height - and neither will be mistaken for a star player even in college. But they've both grown tremendously during their time at Pitt and their play will help determine how far the team will go in the tournament.