Pitt went 2-0 this week with wins over Manhattan and Oakland. The Panthers looked good at times this week, but again showed inconsistent play leading to some closer than expected outcomes. This Panther team is a young one, and there is no way around that. With their youth, they need to start finding some consistent play from all of their key players. We saw Jamel Artis play well against Manhattan, but didn't look so good yesterday. Chris Jones had a nice day against Oakland, but was nonexistent against Manhattan. There were actually two players that gave Pitt exactly what they needed in both games this week, Cameron Wright and Michael Young, though I decided to hand this honor to Young.
Through 11 games, it is very clear Michael Young is this team's most important player, and it really isn't even close. With Pitt's lack of a center, Young has taken on the role himself, and the Panthers are 3-0 since he made the switch in the starting lineup. Young leads this team in scoring and rebounding, and is second on the team in minutes played. Simply put, this team isn't going anywhere without Young doing what he has been doing to this point.
Young came up with a perfect 6-6 shooting night against Manhattan which led to 16 points and 8 rebounds against the Jaspers. He also posted 2 blocks and 2 assists in the Wednesday victory. In an overtime victory against Oakland yesterday, Young played all but 4 minutes and had a team-high 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks all while going up against Oakland's much bigger 6'10" 255 Center, Corey Petros. Young held his own and showed his versatility and athleticism while working against him in the paint.
It should not be overlooked at all that Cameron Wright averaged 15 points in two games this week. Pitt's defense has seen some more steady play, and the offense is getting an extra 15 points a game can't hurt either. Pitt is still a work in progress, but we are seeing some good things, and Wright's play is a big reason for some recent improvements.