There is no denying the importance of team chemistry for any team that has championship aspirations. In my last article, I made sure to let it be known that there wasn't a lot of meaningful analysis that can be done at the Pro-am, and that's still true. With that said, there is one thing that I think the Pittsburgh Panthers can be absolutely sure about - the off the court chemistry with this team is undeniable.
I've really tried focusing on what happens on the court at the Pro-Am. Mostly because there are two games going on simultaneously, and there are so many new faces on every team. But, the games aren't completely packed and a fair amount of the crowd is occupied by the players themselves.
Some players sit with their best friend on the team; a majority sit with their girlfriends and/or family members. However, all of the Pitt players hang out as a group. You can find them sitting behind the bench of one of their teammates that is playing at the time. They joke, cheer each other on, and "ooh and aah" with the best of them.
They travel in packs and the incumbent players do a nice job of making the younger players feel like they belong. Judging from the looks on their faces, the freshmen really feel like they're a part of something and I think that goes a long way towards instilling some confidence.
The Panthers are clearly the class of the Pro-Am, as far as talent goes. I see nothing wrong with showcasing a little bit of moxie, so long as they also play at a high level. Let's not discount the fact that, as a team, they'll be spending a lot of time with each other traveling and in practice. Building relationships off the court often helps make those tough times easier to ride out.
In the end, team chemistry isn't something that can be quantified. With that said, it seems like every championship team has it, and while it's unknown how much Pitt is really improving on the court this summer, it's pretty apparent they're getting to know each other very well off the court.