Pitt guard Jared Wilson-Frame has yet to start a game for the Panthers in the 2018-19 season, but he has still managed to play a prominent role on the team early on. Thus far, he has played in three of Pitt’s four games, and in each outing, he has scored 20 or more points off the bench. He is the first player in the history of the program to accomplish that feat.
While that’s a unique achievement in and of itself, it’s especially notable because the bulk of Wilson-Frame’s scoring has come in the form of three-point shots. If it were anyone else, that would be a mundane detail, but Wilson-Frame made just 32 percent of his three-point shots last season, ranking among Pitt’s least accurate shooters. Now, he leads the team at 56 percent.
Wilson-Frame has also shown no signs of letting up in any of the three games he’s taken part in, as he hasn’t taken fewer than eight three-point shots in a game this season and has never failed to convert on fewer than 50 percent of those shots. His efficiency has extended to the rest of the field, as he’s shooting 61 percent overall. That’s up from 38 percent in his junior year.
The senior guard’s latest 20-point effort came in a 97-71 win over Central Arkansas on Thursday night, and after the game, Pitt head coach Jeff Capel commented on his performance.
“All of our guys have confidence in him when he has an open look, and we look for him,” Capel said. “I’ve said since I’ve been here and had a chance to work with him that I think there’s a lot more to his game than he’s shown. I think he has a really good feel, and I think he can pass. … It shows that he trusts his teammates, he trusts what we’re doing, and he’s out there forcing the issue. He’s not been just a really good offensive player, he’s been an efficient offensive player.”
Another intriguing detail regarding Wilson-Frame’s early-season outburst is that prior to his senior year, he only had four total 20-point games in his Pitt career, all of which were nonconsecutive. With that said, the senior guard isn’t just improving in terms of efficiency, he also appears to have taken a quantum leap forward in terms of consistency.
It’s unclear how long Wilson-Frame will be able to sustain this level of play, but his outings against VMI, Troy and Central Arkansas have begged questions regarding why he has entered every game from the bench instead of starting. Although Capel offered no explanation as to why Wilson-Frame hasn’t started, he did note on Monday that he could experience a role change.
“[Wilson-Frame coming off the bench] has been good for us,” Capel said. “That doesn’t mean that’s going to be his role throughout the season or going forward, but it’s been good for us.”
Wilson-Frame will get an opportunity to extend his streak of 20-point games on Saturday, as Pitt is scheduled to face North Alabama. As a whole, the team will be looking to improve to 5-0 on the season. Pitt will be at the Petersen Events Center once again, and tip-off is set for noon ET.