The Pitt basketball team is off to an 8-1 start and while the Panthers have relied largely on the team's stars, Michael Young and Jamel Artis, true freshman Damon Wilson is earning playing time early on.
Wilson's minutes are likely to be limited with starting point guard James Robinson expected to play quite a bit this year. So far however, Robinson hasn't needed to do nearly as much while the team has coasted to several easy wins. Robinson is averaging only about 27 minutes per game so far (well below the 34 he played a game last year) and that's opened the door for Wilson as the true freshman is playing just over 12 minutes per contest.
For the amount of time he's been given, too, Wilson is doing quite a bit with it. He's averaging 5.9 points this year to go along with two assists and nearly two rebounds per game. Over the 34 minutes that Robinson got last season, that would come out to about 18/6/6 per game. Obviously the competition has been light and expecting him to do that much given the team's deep rotation isn't realistic. But I point it out to show that his per-minute contributions show very well. A guy like Chris Jones, for example, is averaging about the same in rebounding and assists and only one point more than Wilson, despite the fact that he is playing five more minutes each time out.
Wilson's accuracy has been impressive, too. He is shooting 47% from the field, tops amongst the team's guards along with Sterling Smith (save Jonathan Milligan, who played a few games early on but is redshirting this year). Wilson is also connecting on 46% of his three-point attempts and will be a real long-range threat for the team.
How Pitt manages his minutes going forward will be something to watch. As previously mentioned, Robinson is not playing nearly as much yet due to some weak competition but that will change. In the Purdue game, he played 36 minutes and he reached 35 in the relatively close contests against Kent State and Morehead State where Pitt didn't run away with things. As the competition gets tougher, his minutes should increase, which will affect how much Wilson gets on the court (see the Purdue game where Wilson played only a single minute).
There is no question that Robinson will be on the court. The thing to watch is how much does Jamie Dixon allow to play him at shooting guard alongside his point guard. Some of that will depend on how well Sterling Smith, Chris Jones, and Cameron Johnson play there.
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