Pitt will once again be represented on Team USA's Under 18 team this year. Incoming Pitt freshman James Robinson was one of 12 players selected to compete for America in Brazil next week. His high school teammate - and Syracuse signee - Jerami Grant was also selected to participate. Including Robinson and Grant, half of the players selected for the team are committed to current or future ACC schools, with Pitt, Syracuse, Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Maryland each having a player on the team.
Robinson is following in the footsteps of Ashton Gibbs, who by all accounts had a great experience representing Pitt and America for the U19 team before his sophomore season, eventually winning the gold medal with the Jamie Dixon coached team. Hopefully Robinson will have a similarly positive experience.
The games begin Saturday at 3:00 EDT against the Virgin Islands. The team is being coached by Billy Donovan, with help form Mark Few and Shaka Smart.
Oh, and Robinson and Grant have another teammate, center BeeJay Anya, who's working with the Under 17 team right now. Anya might be the best of three Dematha players when it's all said and done. His recruiting has blown up recently, but it sure would be nice if he followed his friend James to Pittsburgh.no comments
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER. The BIG EAST has just filed a suit against TCU for exiting the conference without paying the $5m exit fee (or playing a game).
UCONN'T TOUCH THIS. A female NBA employee is suing UCONN Women's coach Geno Auriemma for making unwanted advances towards her on a 2009 Team USA trip. She claims Auriemma tried to blackball her career when she said no.
KEEPING ON THE TOPIC OF LEGAL TROUBLES. A sad weekend near Auburn University as two former football players were shot and killed. Two suspects have been arrested, one remains at large.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S NEW HIRES. Sporting News ranked the Top 7 new head coaches by their chances of success in their first year. Paul Chryst came in at #7. Todd Graham did not make the list, but Charlie Weis came in 3rd. I guess they rate success in Kansas by ones ability to eat a 96oz. steak in a single sitting.
AND THE SEARCH BEGINS. The BIG EAST has hired a search firm to find their next commissioner. Talk about a fun job...not only will the new commish have to find balance between basketball only schools and football/basketball schools, but also football only schools...across three time zones.
SO NOT COOL. Our friends over at the Card Chronicle are running a bracket for "The 2011-12 Least Cool Person Tournament." The current matchup places local Louisville newspaper The Courier-Journal against Pitt Chancellor Mark Nordenberg. Hey, it's not his fault you guys didn't accept that ESPN TV Contract. Oh wait...no comments
With just about a week to go until Pitt fans get their first look at the 2012-12 Pitt Panthers, the Greentree rosters have been released. Once again, the league features players from most local teams as well as local products who played elsewhere.
Of particular interest to most fans is checking out Pitt's new contributors - likely starters Steven Adams and Trey Zeigler as well as James Robinson. Funny thing, they're all on the same team (via Pantherlair):
12 Pitt players are split over five of the teams. The team most fans will be interested in seeing is the PGT squad, as the four Panthers on the roster might be the summer league's biggest draw. PGT features freshmen James Robinson (who will join the team after playing with USA Basketball's U18 team until June 20) and Steven Adams, which would be intriguing enough for fans. But the team will also have transfer guard Trey Zeigler, who was recently declared eligible for the upcoming 2012-13 season, as well as redshirt junior forward Lamar Patterson, who should be one of Pitt's main contributors this season.
First tip-off is Monday, June 18 at 7:00. Should be a good time.no comments
Pitt held a prospect camp on the South Side over the weekend and so far, it's yielded at least one new commitment. Meet Tony Harper, Pitt's "H-back" commitment who doesn't really play offense (via the Trib):
“Coach Rudolph is real confident in me,” Harper said. “He said he thought I could get it done. I just loved working with him.”
Harper, 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, was a playmaker on defense last season for St. John’s, with 64 tackles, five pass breakups, four tackles for a loss and two interceptions.
He’s looking forward to switching positions at Pitt.
“I could have played more offense (last season), but our coach said they needed me on the field on defense,” said Harper, who’s rated as a two-star recruit by Rivals.com. “This season, I’ll get to play offense. I think I can do it.”
While the Trib calls Harper Pitt's third tight end in the five man class, there's likely only one. Orndoff will be a tight end, but Jaymar Parrish is likely a tight end. Plus, the H-back position for Wisconsin, while similar to tight end in someways, was a separate position.
With fantastic size, Harper is a medium risk / high reward type io player. While he's not an overly experienced offensive player, he did play offense before last year. And it's not like there's a shortage of places for 6'4", 200+ lbs athletes (via):
Highlights after the jump (sophomore year).
Hail to Pitt!no comments
RUSHEL SHELL IS REALLY GOOD, REALLY. His numbers say that he is the best running back in the history of Pennsylvania. But is he the best athlete to come out of Western PA? The Beaver County Times talks about their Co-Athlete of the Year.
HAS EXPANSIOPOCOLYPSE COME TO AN END? It sounds that way, after Florida State made up their entire budget deficit, in part by receiving an additional $1.6m from the ACC that they were not expecting. Hmm...
PUSH THE CIRCLE BUTTON. EA Sports released their team ratings for NCAA '13. The Panthers come in 58th overall with a team rating of 85. Their offensive value is an 89, good enough to tie for 24th. Their defense, however, ties West Virginia at 77th with a value of 76.
THE BIG EAST/ACC YEAR IN REVIEW. If you read this blog, then you already know everything that happened this past year involving Pitt, Syracuse, the BIG EAST, and the ACC. The Syracuse SNY blog decided to put together a nice recap if you need a nice little refresher.
BECAUSE I NEED TO FILL SPACE. If you are like me, you hate this song but can't get it out of your head. So I present to you Jimmy Fallon, Carly Rae Jepsen, the Roots, and a bunch of elementary school music class instruments...you can thank me later.
KDKA's Bob Pompeani took Steven Adams on a tour of Pittsburgh. Of course, they went to Primanti Brothers' and had a sandwich. No word yet on whether his listed weight of 240 is being adjusted accordingly.no comments
JAMIE DIXON'S GOT TALENT. I'm sure Coach Dixon has plenty of talents (like yo-yoing or maybe he makes a mean guacamole), but it's the talent of the incoming class that has everyone's attention. Today, James Robinson was named to the USA Men's U18 National Team.
According to @paulbiancardi, Pitt 4-star guard James Robinson has made the USA Under 18 team. Dixon is adding some serious talent this year— mike vukovcan (@mikevukkdka) June 8, 2012
ONE OF THESE THINGS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHER. Atleast that's how
ESPN SB Nation is portrating Robert Foster's Top 7 schools he tweeted yesterday. Despite many recruitniks considering Pitt one of the top candidates to land Foster, SB Nation glossed over the Panthers, not even linking to their SB Nation team site.
PERHAPS A BASEBALL ANALOGY IN PITTSBURGH ISN'T THE SMARTEST IDEA. ESPN's BIG EAST Blogger is doing a series called "Home Run Summer", naming a player for each team that really needs to "knock it out of the park with their preparations for the start of training camp in August." Her player for Pitt is...Tino Sunseri. Here's a tip Tino, just watch the last quarter of the WVU game, that pretty much encompassed your entire season.
WHAT IN TARNATION (PUN INTENDED) IS A "RAYCOM"? Remember the name Raycom, fellow Pittsburghers...it is a name you will learn to know in the ACC. Raycom is essentially the ACC TV Network, broadcasting on local channels in the teams' respective markets. Many proponents for the FSU/Clemson move to the Big XII cite the ACC's relationship with Raycom as part of the reason. ACCSports.com says that isn't the case at all.
THIS WEEK IN "SH*T TODD GRAHAM SAYS." As many have said, if Todd Graham would simply shut his mouth, much of this would go away. Instead he keeps talking to the national media about Pitt, trying to "clear things up." This time, it's Sports Illustrated. I'm sorry, but I've begun lose respect for writers who continue to push Graham's "it was a bad fit" and "I did it for my family" messages without offering up any additional content.no comments
This afternoon, NBC released it's schedule for nationally broadcast football games this fall. The only item of interest to us is that Pitt's game in South Bend on Movember 3th will be a 3:30pm kickoff as almost all Notre Dame home games are. I'm just thankful that Indiana has adopted Daylight Savings Time. Previously, Indiana did not change their clocks, so some of the 3:30pm kickoffs there were 2:30 eastern...and that just throws off your entire football watching schedule.
The BIG EAST and ESPN also released a slate of 68 games. Game times for Virginia tech, Gardner-Webb, and Buffalo were included. The updated Pitt schedule is as follows:
|Sept. 1||Youngstown State (ESPN3)||6 p.m.|
|Sept. 6 (Thurs.)||@ Cincinnati* (ESPN)||8 p.m.|
|Sept. 15||Virginia Tech (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU)||Noon|
|Sept. 22||Gardner-Webb (ESPN3)||3:30 p.m.|
|Oct. 5 (Fri.)||@ Syracuse* (ESPN)||7 p.m.|
|Oct. 20||@ Buffalo (Big East Network)||3:30 p.m.|
|Nov. 3||@ Notre Dame (NBC)||3:30 p.m.|
|Nov. 9 (Fri.)||@ Connecticut* (ESPN2)||8 p.m.|
|Dec. 1||@ South Florida* (ABC, ESPN, ESPN2)||TBA|
Biggest home game of the year, it's on a day where the Pirates are on the road, and it's a Noon kickoff. Color me surprised. That will also likely rule out ESPN GameDay making a visit (wishful thinking, I know.)
STICK THIS IN YOUR TAIL PIPE! Former Pitt offensive lineman Rueben Brown was on The Fan Morning Show yesterday saying “There are many who would like to put a banana in his tail pipe.” You can listen to the entire interview there.
I AM SO ALL ABOUT ULTIMATE FRISBEE. Last week, the Pitt Ultimate Frisbee team claimed it's first national championship. Stories like this need to get more publicity.
HIGH OCTANE AND THE HEISMAN TROPHY. Fellow Bloguin blog Crystal Ball Run has a rundown of contenders and pretenders for this season's Heisman Trophy. Ray Graham made the list, but his chances are being negatively impacted by the Todd Graham fiasco and injury.
WHERE IN THE WORLD IS STEVEN ADAMS? Apparently he is on a tour of Pittsburgh with KDKA's Bob Pompiani. You can check it out tonight on the KDKA news at 6:45pm.
(No idea who to credit for this picture, but it's fantastic)
ESPN decided to rank each conference in terms of best to worst coaching jobs. Hey, it's a long, long offseason. In the Big East, Pitt comes in fifth (via ESPN):
5. Pittsburgh: With one of the toughest home gyms in the country, the Panthers have built a reputation of blue-collar success. There is football money to cull from, but hoops does pretty well on its own merits thanks to a string of savvy hires.
Ahead of Pitt is Syracuse, Louisville, UConn and Georgetown. No real surprises there. But I was surprised that Pitt was ahead of Villanova, only because of Nova's location in a recruiting hotbed.
I do wonder how each team would fair in the ACC rankings, which predictably have UNC and Duke at the top, but then Maryland at three and NC State at four. My guess is they'd put Syracuse at three and Pitt at either four or five, depending on how much they value Maryland's recruiting location and somewhat recent success. Either way, Pitt should be above NC State.
Also of interest, Penn State is last among the twelve B1G members, WVU is fourth in the ten team Big 12 and Duquese is 14th in the 16 team A-10. Seems a little high for WVU, but see what happens when you get to a Final Four?
As ESPN writes, a big part of Pitt's success has to be attributed to the Oakland Zoo, which has made the Pete one of the toughest places to play in America. The Pitt News profiled the Zoo and it's accomplishments, including Pitt's 9-0 record against top-5 teams at home. Not to mention this amusing antidote about WVU's Joe Mazzulla (via Pitt News):
An hour before a February 2011 home game between the Pitt men’s basketball team and its Backyard Brawl rival, West Virginia, a Pitt student dressed in a gold shirt, navy gym shorts, high white socks and a headband stood behind a row of courtside seats. He intently watched the Mountaineers’ warm ups.
He paraded a mock-up of Joe Mazzulla’s mug shot and shouted Mazzulla’s name in an attempt to taunt him. Much to the student’s surprise, the West Virginia guard, who has had several run-ins with police, came over, signed the mug shot and then resumed his warm up. Both walked away with a grin.
See, WVU fans, sports can be fun even without throwing things at the players. Go read the whole piece.
And speaking of the Zoo, you have to be excited to read this (via Twitter):