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Greentree and other basketball notes | May


Now that the heat and humidity have reached unbearable levels, it must be time for the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Pro-Am - more affectionately called "the Greentree League." Nothing quite says basketball season than sitting in a very hot gym in the dog days of June and July, but it's always completely worth it to get a taste of Pitt sports in the long, long offseason.

June 18th will be the first time we get to see Steven Adams, Trey Zeigler, James Robinson and Chris Jones. The league will once again be Mondays and Wednesdays starting at 7:00. The playoffs run July 16-18th.

No rosters yet, but I'll post them when they're available. Rumor has it that a number of Pitt hoops alumni will be on hand.

Please consider donating to the Pittsburgh Basketball Club if you can. You can find out how to make a 100% tax-deductible donation here. This league has really become something unto itself and keeps Pitt's players in organized, NCAA approved competition. Definitely a worthy place to send some extra bucks to support the Panthers.

In other news, SNY's Adam Zagoria ranked Steven Adams and Trey Zeigler among the Big East's best players next season (via Zags Blog):

Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh– Perhaps no new player will be more intriguing than the 7-footer whom coach Jamie Dixon brought over from New Zealand, where he led the adidas Nations tournament in scoring (22 ppg) and rebounding (16.8 rpg).

Trey Zeigler, G, Pittsburgh — Pitt coach Jamie Dixon scored a major coup when Zeigler received a waiver to play immediately this season after his father, Ernie, was fired as head coach at Central Michigan.  In just two years at Central Michigan, Zeigler scored 1,011 points, or 16.0 per game.

ESPN's Eamonn Brennan took a look at Pitt's expectations after the Trey Zeigler news (via ESPN):

If Adams and a new-look Pitt frontcourt can excel immediately, then Pittsburgh's goal of returning to the NCAA tournament should be little more than a boring expectation. If all goes well, the ceiling should be much higher; this team could compete with Louisville and Syracuse at the top of the Big East. And it will be fascinating to see Zeigler -- a talented player asked to do everything for a team that ranked No. 270 in KenPom at the end of 2012 -- competing in a big-time conference with talented players around him. That alone could improve his play considerably.

At the very least, Dixon has his backcourt back in fighting shape. It took a slightly unusual NCAA decision to make it happen, but the end result is the first truly great news Pitt fans have heard in a year.

Whether Pitt can compete for a final Big East crown remains to be seen. There's a lot of questions. Can Zeigler maintain consistency against markedly better competition. Will Steven Adams come close to living up to the hype? If so, Pitt should be able to make the Big East race at least interesting. And either way, Pitt's 2012-13 title chances are in much better shape that they were a week ago.

Finally, here's a video and write up from SI.com naming Adams their high school player of the week. And here's a pretty fun interview he did back in New Zealand: