This is coming a little late, but I wanted to at least provide some sort of recap from Pitt's recent trip to The Bahamas.
First things first, this is merely a look into the stats in the box scores. The games weren't televised, so it's really hard to take too much away here. That said, the final box scores do make for some interesting notes. Here are some takeaways from the trip:
- Cam Wright was the only player that started all four games. Eight other players each got two starts apiece. The only players who didn't get to start were true freshmen Cameron Johnson and Ryan Luther, and the walk-ons.
- The team seems to have another three-point threat in Cameron Johnson. He may still be headed for a redshirt, but the kid hoisted up 19 shots from three-point range - more than three times as many as any other player. If he's somehow able to play this year, his range from outside is definitely going to be a contributing factor. Ironically, Luther, who has some three-point abilities, didn't take a single shot from beyond the arc.
- Pitt shot free throws very well and I'm hoping there's some carry over. Like I've mentioned before, even something like that has to be taken with a grain of salt since there wasn't much pressure in these games. But Mike Young was 12-13. Wright was 8-9. Jamel Artis was 9-10. Sheldon Jeter was 7-7. James Robinson and Josh Newkirk were a combined 7-7. The core guys did really well in that regard and that gives at least some cause for optimism.
- Joseph Uchebo averaged 12.5 rebounds per game and still looks like he could be a Wild Card. I won't be convinced that he's the real deal until he gets into actual game action during the season. His summer league and Bahamas performances make him look very good, but the level of competition isn't what he'll face. It's still a wait and see thing with him IMO.
- Again, all things being taken into consideration, Mike Young has looked good there and in the summer league. He's going to have a bigger role and could be one of those guys that takes a big leap forward this season. He was the second-leading scorer on the team with 15.5 ppg. The rebounding (5.3) was again a bit underwhelming, but overall, this is a kid that's going to be doing more this year - maybe significantly more.
- Don't bury James Robinson just yet. He's taken a lot of flack, but actually outplayed Josh Newkirk in the games a little. They both played about the same (Newkirk got 19 minutes a game while Robinson got just under 21), but Robinson scored a few more points and shot significantly better (50% to 40%). Newkirk had more assists, but also committed many more turnovers. There's been a lot of talk about Newkirk outplaying James in the second half of last season, but the Bahamas games saw Robinson get the better of Newkirk.
- The Panthers' defense was stifling as opponents shot only 28% against Pitt. One thing you should know, however, is that these teams just didn't shoot very well as a whole. That's indicated by their opponents' free throw shooting, which was horrendous (54%).
All in all, it was a successful trip for Pitt. Now begins the real work for Jamie Dixon in taking what he was able to witness first-hand and cobbling out a lineup and the distribution of minutes for the start of the season.
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