I saw this in my issue of ESPN The Magazine and was glad to see an online version of the comments. Is Pitt's basketball dirty or physical?
Syracuse guard Scoop Jardine called Pitt flat out dirty in recent comments in ESPN the Magazine when he talked about a variety of Big East topics:
"They play dirty," Jardine said in comments that were also published on ESPN.com, "and the refs allow it."
I don't know. Most who read my page know I'm clearly not a Pitt homer. But Pitt never struck me as a dirty team so much as a physical one. The team plays hard and maybe even a bit rough, but I don't recall seeing a lot of low blows, cheap shots, etc. There's a difference.
Pitt's players obviously disagreed:
"A lot of teams may refer to us as a dirty team, but I'd just say that we're a physical team," redshirt senior Gilbert Brown said Saturday. "Our practices are predicated on being physical and playing hard-nosed defense. So I wouldn't say we're dirty; I think we're just a physical team.
"Some people don't like a physical game, but it's basketball. It's a man's game."
Pitt senior guard Brad Wanamaker knows Jardine well. Both were four-star recruits in the class of 2007 and two of the best high school players in Philadelphia that year, although Wanamaker was named the Philadelphia Daily News Player of the Year and the Philadelphia Inquirer Southeastern Pennsylvania Player of the Year.
Perhaps most importantly, Wanamaker led his Roman Catholic team to a championship win over Jardine's Neumann-Goretti squad in the 2007 Philadelphia Catholic League playoffs.
"I didn't see [Jardine's comments]," Wanamaker said. "I might have to hit him up on that one. We grew up together and played against each other a lot in high school. He was actually my rival.
"I'm going to have to hit him up on that and let him know we're not a dirty team, just physical. We play hard throughout the game, so [the refs] just adjust to our game."