Pitt built up two big first half leads this past week and then had to hang on, in each game, to go 2-0 last week. It’s concerning that they keep letting teams get back into games, but there is time to figure it out for the Panthers. Senior Michael Young is doing his part to help them figure it out, as he continued his fantastic final season, at Pitt, to bring home Panther of the Week award ... again.
No one other than Young has won this award this year. Fellow senior Jamel Artis was solid in both games in most aspects, but 13 turnovers is something that simply can’t happen. Cam Johnson continues to give Pitt a lift from beyond the arc, but Young’s all-around game, combined with his dominating game against Penn State, give him the nod.
Young started the week off with just 23 minutes of playing time against Buffalo, due to some foul trouble. His 17 points and seven rebounds helped Pitt take out the Bulls by five points. They had a huge lead, but let Buffalo climb back into it. From there, it was on to a power five opponent and Young knew he would have to show up big. He did just that in Pitt’s eight point win over Penn State. Young played a lot more in this game and his numbers show it. He finished with 29 points, nine rebounds, two assists, and just one turnover.
One important aspect of being a big man is the ability to hit free throws. There is constant banging down low, in a basketball game, and free trips to the line are of massive importance. Pitt has had its fair share of guys who struggled from the charity stripe, in the past, but Young is not one of them. He’s helping Pitt put games away and keep fans from banging their heads off the wall with missed free throws. This past week he was a total of 15-20 from the line, for 75%. That included 11 for 14 against Penn State.
Look, I’d love to give this award to someone else, but Young won’t allow me to do it. He’s getting dangerously close to Lamar Patterson territory in his senior season, where he just made it very difficult to name anyone else.