The 2014-15 Pitt basketball season got under way somewhat this season. In case you missed it, Pitt is playing some exhibition games in The Bahamas over the next few days against some international competition. In their first game played Saturday, Pitt rolled to a rather easy 101-62 win over Pyramid Food Rockets in front of 322 people. While there is limited information and highlights out there, the university is covering the trip fairly well, and you can see their write-up on the game here.
Without having seen the game, the best we can do is examine the box score and see how the team fared. Pitt went with an interesting starting lineup, but so much can change before now and when the season starts, that it needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Derrick Randall started at Center, with Michael Young and Chris Jones manning the forward spots, and James Robinson and Cameron Wright return as last year's starting backcourt. Before we look at stats, this is an interesting lineup on many levels. Randall is no doubt the first center, but many thought that Dixon could start two forwards in place of a traditional center. Also, Chris Jones starting is a bit of a surprise. Jones struggled last season, and tends to be overlooked. So much can change before game one, but it is interesting to see those two getting the nod as of right now.
Here is a quick breakdown of Pitt's scholarship players, and how their numbers looked.
- James Robinson had a rough game with only 2 points, 2 assists, 3 turnovers, and 3 rebounds. He is Pitt's unquestioned point guard, but these type of games can pop from time to time.
- Cam Wright went from 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. The big stat from this game is Wright going 4-5 behind the three-point arc. Wright is not a good shooter, but if he improves at all, it will be a big bonus for this team.
- Chris Jones went for 12 points. He shot 4-8 from the field, and 0-1 from three. Jones may be keeping the seat warm for Durand Johnson.
- Michael Young had a workmanlike 17 points and 9 rebounds, with an impressive 5 assists. Many feel Young is Pitt's overall best player, and he has been showing it this Summer.
- Derrick Randall had 6 points and 9 rebounds, and played the least of the five starters. Randall had a rough first season, but could be asked to do a lot more this season. If he can rebound, he will get minutes.
- Jamel Artis had a solid 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists in 20 minutes of game action. Artis was efficient and made three of his four shots he attempted.
- Sheldon Jeter also played 20 minutes, and had a very nice showing. Jeter finished with 8 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. He could be a candidate to start, and if he can fill the stat sheet like Lamar did, he will.
- Josh Newkirk went for 5 points and 5 assists, with 1-1 from three point land. Newkirk is another guy that Dixon could tinker the lineup for, and maybe see him play alongside Robinson.
- Cam Johnson looked like Pitt's three point specialist going 3-6 from three-point land, and finishing with 13 points overall. Can he avoid the redshirt? Maybe, but if he shoots like that on this exhibition tour, he very well could.
- Ryan Luther had a quiet 2 points and 1 rebound. Unlike Johnson, it may be a forgone conclusion he will be taking a redshirt.
- Joe Uchebo continued his surprising Summer with by collecting 13 rebounds and chipping in 5 points.
Obviously not listed is Durand Johnson, as he continues his path to recovery. All indications point to Johnson being able to play right away. Also absent from this trip is junior college transfer, Tyrone Haughton. He is set to join the team sometime this month, but is losing a valuable experience by not being there. He is a wild card in this whole race, as nobody really knows what to expect. It will be interesting to see if Dixon tinkers with the lineup throughout the road trip, or will he try to establish a normal rotation early? I expect the former, as this is a good trip to experiment. The journey continues today against the Bahamas All-Stars.