When Josh Newkirk came to Pitt, he was looked as sort of a changing of the guard, so to speak. Newkirk's addition was supposed to signal the Panthers' transition to recruiting for a style more suitable in the ACC. Not only was his style supposed to be ideal in the ACC, but Pitt even snagged him directly out of the conference's territory.
Newkirk, however, isn't exactly lighting things up down in Indiana.
With Pitt's struggles for depth, I wanted to check in on Newkirk. How much would/could he helping the current team?
Scout had him rated as high as a four-star player when he first came here, but after contributing only mildly for Pitt, he decided to transfer. Newkirk's departure didn't bother me all that much at the time, but given the current makeup of the team, at worst, he would be providing Pitt with some experience. Could he be giving them much more than that? Probably not.
Newkirk, in Indiana's starting lineup, is playing quite a bit this year. He logged 34 minutes in the Hoosiers last game against Northwestern and is averaging a career-high 25.2 minutes per contest this year. But despite all of the minutes, he's averaging only a modest 7.2 points per game while shooting 43% from the field. Lately, he's really been struggling, shooting only 29% in his last three games.
Despite being two years older since leaving Pitt, he hasn't progressed all that much, either. He is scoring right around the same on a point-per-minute basis and while his rebounding/assist totals are up slightly, he's turning the ball over more per minute as well. His 43% field goal percentage, while higher than his sophomore year at Pitt, is also still down from the 46% he shot as a freshman. Even defensively, his steals rate is down from his last season with the Panthers.
None of this is to denigrate Newkirk at all, really. It's merely to point out that I don't think he would be helping the team that much if he were still here. That's particularly true since so much of the offense goes through Jamel Artis and Michael Young.
Pitt could certainly use Newkirk from a depth standpoint. And at this point, of course I'd rather still have him to help out. But as a whole, I don't think his presence would significantly change the quality of the team.