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Talib Zanna a key for Panthers in 2013-14

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Justin K. Aller

In case you missed the memo, Pitt's frontcourt is going to be woefully thin next year. And when it comes to power forward and center, the Panthers will be breaking in an almost entirely new unit.

The lone holdover? Thanks to the Malcolm Gilbert transfer, the Dante Taylor graduation, and Steven Adams bolting for the NBA, that would be power forward Talib Zanna. The use of the term 'power forward' should be used lightly at this point. That's because Zanna could not only end up at center, but as the team's starter at that position. And that ain't ideal.

Zanna struggled to put together a consistent year at power forward last season and learning to play a new position full time is going to slow his development as a contributor even more. Zanna played well in the non-conference in 2012-13, but failed to keep up once the Big East portion of the schedule hit.

Pitt's other power forward and center spots are far from determined. About the only certainty besides Zanna right now is that true freshmen Mike Young and Jamel Artis will almost have to contribute by default - and with considerable minutes, too. After that, it's a toss-up. Pitt is looking at transfer possibilities, JUCO players, and late recruits for 2013, but it's all a bit foggy right now.

Either way you look at it, though, Zanna will have to be the leader of the group. He's been in the system for four years and knows what is required. Everyone else will be new to the program. I expect Zanna to put up the best numbers of the group, but even if he doesn't, he's still got to be the one to pull the big men together in a way.

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