LAST SEASON: 2.8 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 0.5 APG
CAREER HIGHS: Points-14 (11/19/21 vs Towson) Rebounds-8 (11/19/21 vs Towson) Assists-3 (11/09/21 vs The Citadel) Steals-2 (11/19/21 vs Towson) Blocks-1 (11/19/21 vs Towson) Field Goals Made-5 (11/24/21 vs Vanderbilt) Free Throws Made-2 (11/27/21 vs UMBC) Three-Pointers Made-4 (11/19/21 vs Towson)
Nate Santos has room to grow heading into his sophomore season for the Pittsburgh Panthers. Santos was the second-ranked player coming out of the state of Connecticut following his senior season at Loomis Chaffee School, but his Pitt career likely did not start as he planned.
Santos appeared in 25 games, six of them starts, but struggled to find rhythm in his shooting. Santos shot 32% from the field, 22% from deep, and 63% from the line, all much lower than what was expected coming out of high school. The good news? Santos can (probably) only go up from here. Another year in Pittsburgh has given Santos time to settle in and with that hopefully comes a return to what he knows. In speaking at a press conference following Pitt’s open practice earlier this fall Santos said, “I think that year under my belt was key for confidence.” (Per PGHsportsnow.com)
Nate Santos smooth with the left hand! @Pitt_MBB | @n_santos33— ACC Men's Basketball (@accmbb) November 17, 2021
His recruiting profile praised his outside shot as his primary tool, and it would be unusual for that ability to completely disappear, although Pitt’s fraught relationship with the three-pointer seems to have sapped the ability of players’ past.
Pitt Freshman Nate Santos comes off the hand-off and hits the pull-up 3. pic.twitter.com/JwsgESJ5PC— Aram Cannuscio (@AC__Hoops) November 13, 2021
Although listed as a forward on Pitt’s website, Santos has some positional versatility. A 6’7” wing with the ability to guard 1-4 is a certain benefit for Jeff Capel’s bunch, but the offense remains the greater question.
With the second exhibition tonight, look for Santos to build off what was a strong start to his year. Against Clarion in the first exhibition, Santos posted 12 points, including two makes from deep.
Nate Santos is my pick for a breakout player this year. His combination of size and ability provides a pathway to success if he can keep hitting shots at a consistent clip. The misses of freshman year were uncharacteristic of his game and his game/media appearances so far seem to reflect that. If Pitt exceeds expectations this year, Santos is going to be a key cog in that machine.