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Current State: Part 1 - Front Court

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NCAA Basketball: West Virginia at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

I’ve been posting a fair amount of clips on Twitter, but in order to do a proper video breakdown I really need a full article. Through the first five games of the season, I’ve compiled around 160 clips (roughly 30-35 per game), so there’s definitely a lot to review. It would be impossible to do just one article, so I am planning for at least four.

I’ll be dedicating this article to junior forward Terrell Brown with a small breakdown of freshman forward Karim Coulibaly. Despite two starts and 48 total minutes, a breakdown of forward Eric Hamilton just wouldn’t make much sense at this juncture.

Okay, so you might be thinking why do I have something on Coulibaly when he’s played even less than Hamilton? That’s a fair question. I think Coulibaly is likely to eat into Hamilton’s minutes, especially if the former provides more offense. I’d expect that to revert during ACC play, however.

Of course as a reserve big on a team that really lacks size, Coulibaly has a ways to go. Still, I’ve been impressed with his general feel on the offensive end. He understands what’s being asked of him, and may already be the most comfortable big in terms of facing the basket and putting the ball on the floor. It appears that he has soft hands and his spacial awareness around the basket lends to reasonable angles for shot attempts.

For Brown, he started the season playing with confidence and was assertive on both ends of the floor only to see that regress over the last two games.

While I still don’t love his two-handed dribble (more on this later), Brown has shown a decisiveness on the offensive end that just wasn’t there in his first two seasons. The first clip is a real testament to all the work he must have put in during the summer, to the point where he was confident in a drop step over his right shoulder. The next clip is equally impressive as Brown shows he’s more comfortable away from the basket, and was able to put the ball on the floor in order to finish. Of course the last two clips show how his aggressiveness can still wane at times; he needs to work back to the ball a little more (passes could be better too).

The game against the Robert Morris Colonials was clearly Brown’s best performance of the young season. He was a two-way force and one of the main reasons the Pittsburgh Panthers were able to keep the game competitive in the first half.

He has noticeably better hands on the move this year (clips 1 and 3). Granted, the sample isn’t huge because of how few times the team passes to him. Still, he probably doesn’t finish any of the above plays last year.

Brown is much better defending in space this season (clip 2), and has found a nice balance between applying some pressure while maintaining his primary assignment of protecting the rim and rebounding.

Against the West Virginia Mountaineers and their size upfront, Brown just wilted. He lacked the confidence to go up strong and wasn’t his usual presence at the rim on the defensive end. Again, not a fan of the two-handed dribble, but if he just tries to assault the rim with a dunk instead of fading backwards slightly, he at least gets fouled.

Unfortunately for Brown, he let his play in the West Virginia game carryover to this past Monday against the Monmouth Hawks. To be fair, no Pitt player was very good for a majority of this game. Still, Brown didn't have a lot of confidence against Monmouth and it showed. I’ve been hard on Brown since he’s been a Panther, but he honestly seems like a humble, hardworking kid. They only thing stopping Terrell Brown from being a really valued, consistent contributor on this team is Terrell Brown.

Which Brown that shows up today will go a long way in determining if Pitt actually blows out a non-conference opponent for once this season, or if they need a furious second half in order to come away with a victory.

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