Incredible Day at the Pete

Well, after watching the Pitt/OSU video for a second time, I have to say that I am again thoroughly impressed by this Panther basketball team’s ability to respond and react to different looks and defenses, and to adjust to different situations. This was a type of game that we could have easily let OSU shoot us down from beyond the arc, but instead we limited their most productive player, James Anderson, to only 8 points on 2-8 shooting, including only 1-5 from beyond the arc- this from a player averaging 20.8 points on 48% from beyond the arc. Mike Cook and Gilbert Brown did an excellent job of preventing his open looks, and the defense as a whole did a great job of rotating on their shoots and keeping the Cowpokes under 30% shooting from beyond the arc.

This was also the most complete game the team has played this year- after surviving OSU’s 7-for-11 start to the game, the Panthers pulled out to an impressive 18-point halftime advantage, and again weathered a revived Cowboy defensive effort to start the second half to again pull out to a double-digit advantage and put the game away with about five minutes remaining.

The biggest delight today was watching the play of DeJuan Blair- for a team that was supposed to become a fastbreak, jump-shooting team, it’s been incredible to see how Blair has kept the ability to get the ball into the post alive, while still allowing the team to be incredibly athletic and be able to move the ball in transition. It will only be a matter of time before he is recognized on the national level, but putting up a monster game (20 points, 10 rebounds, 5 blocks, and 2 steals) on ESPN will certainly help. His inside presence will certainly be a huge factor against the Duke Blue Devils in our next (and most important game so far) matchup, this upcoming Thursday night.

I know it’s not basketball related, but it was great again to see the Zoo give a warm welcome to top football prospect Shayne Hale, and after he donned a Zoo shirt near the end of the first half, it seems like he will follow his cousin (and fellow football star) Cameron Saddler to being a Panther in the fall. Wannstedt is certainly a great recruiter, but it can’t hurt to have a section like the Zoo chanting your name and holding up signs throughout the game.


6 Responses to “Incredible Day at the Pete”

  1. J Jones Says:

    Blair is going to be an NBA player, I’m completely convinced of it now. 10 games into his freshman season he already has the physicality and athleticism to be a dominant player. Offensively he has multiple post moves and a soft touch. On defense he uses his body better than any guy his size in the nation. He is already the best player on our team and this team will go as far as he can carry us upfront.I don’t know if we can beat Duke on Thursday I haven’t seen a bunch of Duke this year. I think the team is already much better than last year’s team.

  2. Keith McBride Says:

    That’s quite a lofty claim to make having not played any conference games yet.That said, I pretty much agree with Jason. One of the OK St. players said yesterday, “Blair is more aggressive that Aaron was. Blair isn’t as skilled as Gray, but he is just a freshman. Overall, athleticism and strength is the difference between them.”Everyone who earns their living writing about sports said that Pitt would be no good without Gray and Kendall inside this season.Somehow that 6’7” freshman seems to think otherwise.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Word is that Shayne Hale is waiting until after the Army High School All-Star game to announce his commitment to PITT.

  4. Elmo Says:

    hale will probably commit at the all american gameas far as blair goes, its hard to say if he’s going to be an NBA player. he just doesn’t have the height to play center in the NBA. he’d have to play the 4 and he doesn’t have the ballhandling or jump shot right now to do so. he’s an excellent passer and has good vision. it’ll be interesting to see how he progresses. as far as duke goes, i really think we can beat them. and that’s not just me being a pitt homer, because i honestly don’t think we can beat UCLA, UNC, Kansas, GTown, or Texas (right now).we match up very well against duke. very, very well.

  5. Keith McBride Says:

    Blair isn’t a center. If Pitt had anyone else that was suited to play that position, Blair wouldn’t be in the position that he is.If McGhee gets it together (may redshirt this year) and can start next year or the year after, look for Blair to shift to the PF, by that time Sam Young will be gone.As much as I hated how everyone hyped him up before the season, people aren’t giving him enough credit now. Not too many freshmen (especially in Pitt’s program) can put up the numbers that Blair has. Not only that, but he is really affecting Pitt’s offense. They were expecting him to be a liability, not a strength.

  6. J Jones Says:

    Let me rephrase what I said about Blair, he is the most complete and important player on our team. He definitely isn’t a natural center but he is the closest thing we have. If Blair goes down we are screwed as our options in the post are not performing. Where Blair is really saving our ass is on defense with the new jumping lanes style we are implementing. He has tremendous position and range to change shots. When we get into Big East play we are going to see him step his game up another level.Blair is an extremely unique and gifted player. I’ve never seen a guy at his height be so physically dominate. Once he gains more experience in the big game he is going a recognizable name on the national stage.

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