Our player review articles roll on with Jamel Artis up today. Artis really transformed himself this season and became the team's primary scoring option by the end of the year. He still has a ways to go in his development as a player, but took the biggest leap on the team in my opinion.
I have Cardiac Hill basketball staff writer, Aron Minkoff. Aron was able to cover a few games for us at the Pete, and he is definitely worth the follow on Twitter if you don't already. He does some writing for some other basketball sites, and has a pretty good following on the game.
Final Stat Line - 13.6 Points 6 Rebounds 2.3 Assists .46% Field Goal 39% Three-Point 79% Free Throw
Best Game - 20 points 10 rebounds 5 assists in an 83-77 win over Syracuse
Worst Game - 0 points 4 rebounds in a 74-70 loss to Hawaii
Aron, there seemed to be a big change in Artis' season when he made the move from small forward to power forward, what do you make of that change? Do you attribute his success to that move?
It was certainly a successful season for him. His numbers peaked and his contributions both on and off the ball improved. He preformed better in the paint playing a more inside-out game than the other way around. While Pitt may not have a dominant big man like they had in years past (Gray, Blair, etc..) the tandem of athletic forwards that Artis and Mike Young formed was Pitt's biggest strength this season.
Artis proved to be a good scorer down the stretch for Pitt, scoring in double figures in every one of Pitt's final 18 games, and finished as the team's leader in points. Should we expect that trend to continue next season? Can he average more than 13 points a game?
He absolutely can average 13 points a game and I would expect that he would average more next season. Getting hot for a few games in the middle of the season could be considered a fluke, but when you play like the way he did the whole ACC season, he proved that he's a quality scorer.
Artis will be one of the top scorers in the conference next season. His presence in the paint allows Young to come out of the post a little bit more and the two really compliment each other quite nicely.
Do you think Dixon continues going with a smaller lineup, or do you think Artis can make the move out to small forward again with an entire off-season to work on it?
I really do not think Artis should play on the wing personally. He is perfect at the four for Jamie Dixon's system. I would put Durand Johnson at small forward, and start either Jones or Newkirk alongside Robinson and that is your starting five right there if Young remains at center. The nice thing about Artis is he does give Dixon the flexibility needed to play the three for periods of time.
Finally, what elements of his game would you like to see improved? What are a reasonable set of expectations for Artis in 2015-16?
He needs to work on making the smart play. Artis was known to commit some questionable turnovers this season. He can elevate this team next year by avoiding these horrible plays down the stretch of a game that cost them in the end. If he limits turnovers and keeps proving scoring, he will be an even more improved player.