Today, we continue to rank the careers of all of the 67 basketball players ever to suit up for Jamie Dixon. As a reminder, here's the drill. Editor Anson Whaley, contributor Jim Hammett, and myself ranked each player and our composite results are displayed.
Before we get started, we employed a few main rules here:
1. Only the Pitt portion of a player's career counted - Khem Birch played less than a season with Pitt. While he was a productive college player elsewhere, the fact that he spent so little time with the Panthers showed in our rankings.
2. Only the time a player spent under Dixon counted - A player like Julius Page, for example, would rank higher, but he spent only his senior year under Dixon.
3. Best career, not best player - This isn't about determining the best player under Dixon. It's more about who had the best career at Pitt under Dixon. Steven Adams may be a better basketball player than several of the guys on the list but he only played at Pitt for a year and has certainly developed more in the NBA since then.
As we go through this list, we want to hear from you about players slotted too high, too low, or even the ones you think we got right. I've organized the rankings and would love to hear from you on Twitter as well @AronMinkoff.
Games Played: 143
Year(s) under Dixon: 2005-2009
Cardiac Hill Rankings
Aron Minkoff: 4
Jim Hammett: 2
Anson Whaley: 2
Average Ranking: 2.7
Let the debate begin.
Obviously with Sam Young at No. 2 today, DeJuan Blair will finish atop our player rankings. And while we've stressed the importance of 'best career' here, Young's four-year career still takes second to Blair's two in our minds.
We'll discuss why tomorrow, but today is all about Young and the player who could have very easily finished No. 1 on our list. Like Fields from earlier this week, Young was a part of Pitt's 2008-09 Elite Eight team under Dixon and he was the team's top scorer.
One of the staples of his game was, of course, the lethal shot fake. Somehow, Young would pump fake defenders out of their shoes in a move that was seldom called for a travel. He looked to be floating through the air, but somehow his toes never left the ground and he would burn right by defenders and bury an easier shot.
Young was perhaps the best scorer in Dixon's history. He averaged an incredible nearly 19 points per game in his final two years with the team and was a true four-year contributor, averaging more than seven points per contest in each of his first two years. Young was also a capable rebounder, hauling in five boards per game over his four-year career, and on defense averaged nearly a steal and block per game.
The quibbles with Young's game are minor. He was capable on the boards, but wasn't a monster. He didn't record many assists and was a sub-70% free throw shooter. His nearly 2 1/2 turnovers in each of his junior and seasons weren't great, either. But overall, Young was clearly one of Dixon's best players.
Despite first-year projections, he was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies with the 36th overall pick and he would play there for three years, even starting a decent chunk of games. He later went on to play for the Indiana Pacers and spent time under contract with the Philadelphia 76ers, although he never dressed for a game with them. He has been playing overseas, most recently in Italy and Turkey.