First things first, kudos to @PittFanAlli for the title. With that out of the way, man, what a day/night/week. I made the point on Twitter the other night, but while Todd Graham leaving was a bigger bombshell than this week's events, I've never seen such a string of events all in the span of a week like this.
Things started off innocently enough last week. Had some housecleaning to do for family coming into town and then the Rushel Shell news hit. Then, there was the Terrell Jackson transfer followed by news of a potential Deaysean Rippy transfer.
We hoped that was it. Begged, actually. Things seemed to settle down and maybe the ship would be righted. Shell decided to take some time and think about staying. And we all hoped cooler heads would prevail. They didn't, but that was just the beginning.
Pitt lost their women's basketball coach. Well, okay - canned their women's basketball coach. And after two winless seasons in the Big East, it's difficult to argue rationally against the move. Next up? Senior guard Trey Zeigler decided Pitt wasn't actually it. Role player with some scoring ability - eh, Pitt can get by (by this point, fists are clenched, but whatever). But what happened next was out of all realm of possibility. Freshman center Steven Adams was jumping the Titanic to the life raft called the NBA.
And who says Pitt can't land one and done players?
So let's break this bad boy down a little.
Didn't Adams just say he was staying? Like a week ago or something?
Asked how he felt he developed over the season, Adams replied: “Tremendously. I'm comfortable with the team and stuff.”
It's the kind of game that will get a big man noticed by NBA teams, but Adams emphatically reiterated his commitment to return to Pitt for his sophomore year.
“I'm coming back,” he told reporters. “I don't know why you guys keep asking that question, man. I'm coming back.”
And if you needed a refresher, there was even talk of a four-year plan for Adams. So much for that, I guess.
Unless Adams elaborates, we might not truly know. If you're any user of Twitter, you'll see the usual reasons including possibly needing the money for family. While we don't have the answers, here's what we do know. Adams was extremely convincing when speaking to the media types at the NCAA Tournament. So convincing that despite the massive hype, no one really gave this a second thought.
Joe Starkey also referred to a break he took for a trip home after the season ended that offers some intrigue:
I remain convinced that when Steven Adams recently went home to New Zealand for a week, he had zero intention of going NBA.— Joe Starkey (@JoeStarkey1) April 3, 2013
Did family get in his ear? Maybe. But people were in his ear all year. Ever since the moment arrived in the US, he's surely heard that he'll be a bajillionnaire someday. Someday soon. Of course family and friends in your ear is a lot different than random agents. I refuse, however, to put it on them and insist they're the ones who caused this. Too soon to speculate and unfair to them.
But seriously, isn't he raw?
Um, yeah. There's no denying that. But I'll get into this in a bit.
Is this another one of your lame April Fools jokes? Those sucked, by the way.
No, that was Monday.
Argh, this sucks
Yeah, I know.
So, the NBA? He's not really ready, is he?
Of course not, but here's the thing - in the NBA it doesn't really matter. 'Ready now' isn't so much the question as 'Will you be ready in a few years?'. So much of the league is based on potential. Don't believe me? Darko Milicic, Kwame Brown, Michael Olowokandi, and Shawn Bradley. That is all. Fact is that teams are not only willing to take gambles on any shred of potential, they're willing to take monumental gambles on them. Those guys were all big men not only taken in the first round, but with the No. 1 or No. 2 picks. Overall. Adams isn't likely to draw that kind of interest, but it's fair to say he should have a very good chance at being a first round pick.
Heck, about a year ago, Adams was being projected as high as a top five pick ... before even stepping on a court in a college game. Again, he didn't show enough in college to warrant that kind of consideration, but rest assured, Adams will likely land in the area of guaranteed money called the first round. That's no guarantee - there are no guarantees when it comes to the draft. But Adams has his shot. Adams doesn't yet have the offense he'll need, but as a solid defender that gets out, blocks shots and rebounds, and runs the court like a gazelle for a 7-footer, he's going to be very attractive for some team.
This is incredibly frustrating, but nothing to do now but sit back and watch. Me? I'll be rooting for Adams. I'm not real thrilled with his wild insistence on coming back and then leaving anyway, but what can you do? This isn't a kid looking to transfer to another school, taking his ball and going home - it's a kid that has a real chance to make real money. And I won't fault him for it ...
Even if it is in the middle of the most traumatic week of all time for Pitt fans.