Vanilla-nova

For those of you that don’t know, the above nickname is what ‘Nova’s known as on the Main Line, and I think it’s a cute little moniker. Doesn’t really describe the basketball team too well, though- they did drive to the hoop and take on our big men fairly regularly. Anyways, good win for Pitt against a desperate team in the Pete on Wednesday night. Villanova was just as desperate as we were, and a convincing win really shows a lot about the Panthers- they didn’t just have to squeak this one out.

On the previous post, a lot was being said about Tyrell Biggs, and I would like to throw in my two cents’ worth. I really think that Tyrell has stepped up his game in the last month or so, and I’m going to go so far as to say that he is this team’s Mike Cook- while he doesn’t always put up huge numbers (though 14 points and 4 boards in 26 minutes against the Wildcats was solid), his contributions are much more than just stats. He really makes smart passes, and- while he does take the occasional ill-advised shot- makes good decisions on both offense and defense. Pitt certainly benefits from having him in the game, and I wouldn’t say that any of the bench players we put in are “minus” players at this point. Brad Wanamaker and Gary McGhee are definitely learning on the fly, but remember that DeJuan was getting into foul trouble early on and is still learning how to control himself around the basket and avoid stupid fouls. Don’t be too hard on Gary, he’ll learn a lot this season and should be a very solid backup center.

Anyways, now my thoughts about the actual game. I was worried in the second half that this might become a Rutgers- after getting that layup and the foul to put the ‘Cats up 39-38, Scottie Reynolds looked like a man ready to take the game over. I think the luckiest thing is that he missed the free throw- this prevented Villanova from using their energy in a press defense, instead allowing the Panthers to get the ball up the floor and re-take the lead for the last time. Big game also from Sam Young- he only scored 15, but he didn’t let a slow shooting first half stop him from making better decisions in the second half and ending up with 15 points. Pitt as a whole needs to work on shot selection a bit- both in the shots we take and the ones we don’t. There’s been a few times in the last few games when Gil Brown and Brad Wanamaker have been out on the perimeter, alone, and hesitated long enough to let the defender come to them. Unless they’re in a situation where we’re down by 1 point with twelve seconds left, I’d actually like to see them take the open shots- they need to work on their confidence. On the flip side, it seems sometimes we’re rushing shots when we DON’T have the open look, especially on second chances. Pitt’s a team that works the ball around for the open shot, and we need to be more consistent in that factor. Hopefully we’ll see some improvement before the UConn game, and a preview of that will be up shortly.

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13 Responses to “Vanilla-nova”

  1. The Prowler Says:

    Gary McGhee doesn’t look to me like he has any upside. He looks completely lost all the time. I know he is a freshman and that there is a maturing process that goes on, but considering Blair is also a freshman (albeit a stud), it should give some perspective to how good McGhee isn’t. I don’t want to come down on the guy, because I love Pitt, and I support anyone who dedicates their time and energy to Pitt. But we had another career backup center named Toree Morris, who never amounted to a player that should ever be on the floor. And compared to McGhee, Morris looks like an all-Big East performer.I am one of Wanamaker’s biggest fans, and have been willing to cut him a lot more slack than McGhee for this reason. Wanamaker plays with passion and heart. He reminds me of Krauser. His problem isn’t that he is lost out on the floor. He just needs to relax and let the game come to him. He currently tries to make too much happen, like he is just antsy.At this point, I would rather Wanamaker pass up open shots than shoot every time he has the ball, open or not (as he has done at times). But finding the open shot and knocking a few down, in my opinion, will do wonders for his confidence and help him to better find his place in the lineup. I think he has tremendous upside, and is going to be a big contributor in the future.I also agree that Biggs is getting a better shot selection, and doing things away from the ball that are of value. Now that he is past his early season “chuck the ball from anywhere on the floor as soon as I get it”, he is really contributing some much needed significant minutes.As to the Nova game, I think it was much more of a desperation game for Nova than for Pitt. If that loss to Rutgers had been to any other team, it wouldn’t have raised eyebrows. If the loss had been at the RAC instead of the Pete, it would have raised far less eyebrows. But ultimately, the Georgetown win gave us the feeling that this was still a final four team without 2 starters, when that just may not be true. If Pitt went 8-10 in the Big East, they would get a big pass considering what they have endured this season. Granted this team doesn’t make excuses, and we don’t want to accept them. But Pitt is currently exceeding reasonable expectations given their current roster while Villanova is in free-fall with their “stars” out there.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    What do you wanna do, start your own blog? This is a place for comments, not for your own article. This is a student-run blog, and you’re free to disagree but that doesn’t entitle you to just put in your own 7-paragraph entries.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    its a comments section. Prowler can do whatever the fuck he wants. I think his article was much better than most of what i have seen this year.

  4. The Prowler Says:

    I certainly meant no offense by taking part in what I thought was intended to be a discussion. I will take this site off my list and stop contributing.Sorry for the trouble.

  5. Merlin Says:

    Just ignore that, prowler. I think we’re gonna turn off anonymous comments as is, you’re more than welcome to contribute to the discussion. Funny enough, McGhee was the only player in the UConn game who didn’t pick up a foul- even though he only played 6 minutes, that’s usually enough time for him to pick up a foul or two, especially the way the refs were calling the game.

  6. The Prowler Says:

    Thanks Merlin. I don’t mean to write long posts, or to sound contentious, if I do. I moved to Kansas 3.5 years ago, so I have been excited about finding some places to chat about Pitt because I now live in Big 12 country and everyone wants to talk KU. But I am certainly not trying to hijack anyone else’s blog when I have my own. Sometimes I get going and don’t realize how much I have said. (If it helps to understand any better, I work as a preacher, so I am used to talking much longer than anyone wants to listen.)I was definitely impressed with McGhee today. This was the first time that there wasn’t a major drop-off with him on the floor… which is promising. It also has to do with UConn’s offense being miserable. But good minutes for McGhee are a great thing for this team.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    prowler, ignore jerks like that. I honestly thought your first post was very insightful and shows your competence. Its good to create discussions with. I think Gary looks scared to make a mistake on the court sometimes, for example he rarely tries block shots. He has the skills, he just doesnt want to hurt the team by doing too much. 2 years from now, I think he’ll have

  8. Keith McBride Says:

    I think the prowling preacher is retarded!Just kidding, but I do disagree:Gary has a big upside. Remember, Aaron Gray was a giant oaf until his junior year. Even in his senior year he was way better on the floor than his junior year. If you had seen him get minutes as a freshman like Gary is now, you would be laughing even harder.Gary looked pretty good today. He did let some balls end up in Huskies’ hands, but he made some good rebounds too. I think he is a decent defender at this point.You can’t compare him and Blair at all, it is completely unfair. Why not compare Brad Wanamaker to the way Fields or Ramon played as freshmen. In that respect, Wanamaker sucks. But I wouldn’t do that. I think he will come back better next year too.Keep posting, you are more interesting than anonymous anyway.

  9. The Prowler Says:

    DeJuan Blair is better as a freshman than Aaron Grey ever was. I agree that the comparison between Blair (a very special player) and McGhee is unfair. My point was just to point out the difference between two freshmen on the team, and how one is much better than the other.I think McGhee will be the kind of player who gives Pitt good minutes, but I think he will be a career back-up, much like Toree Morris was. I do hope I am wrong, because Pitt would be much better with a large inside presence. If McGhee could take over center, even as a junior, it would do wonders for Blair, who would then be unguardable because he plays bigger than any power forward. If McGhee doesn’t develop into a threat, but does become a starter, Blair will draw the Hibbert’s of the league, while the taller McGhee will end up guarded by smaller men. Just think how dominant Blair would be as power forward with a solid (taller) center for Pitt.

  10. Merlin Says:

    While it would seem to make sense with a 6’7″ Blair playing PF, at this point I really don’t think he has the game for it. While he is a decent passer and has good hands for a big man, the truth is that his strength comes in banging down low. If he were to play power forward, that comes with a lot more outside game and playing around the high post, which I’m not sure DeJuan would do as well at compared to his current position. While Tyrell has the versatility to get outside and play the post, DeJuan isn’t there yet. That being said, he has been working on his jumper in pregame warmups, so it’s good to see him realize that adding to his game would certainly help his potential, as well as Pitt’s.

  11. The Prowler Says:

    Being a power forward doesn’t necessarily mean he couldn’t be down low. He has some good spin moves and what not from 10 feet. But consider that Aaron Grey, a 7 footer, played his game at the foul line. So whether Blair was technically a pf or a center, the bigger issue is if we could develop either McGhee or get another 6’10”-7′ guy who is enough of a threat that the other team’s big man has to guard him. Even if that big man were to play at the foul line, letting Blair remain the primary inside force, it would keep teams from putting their 7’3″ shot blocker on Blair.If Blair is going to be a big NBA threat, he is going to need to develop a game from a little further from the hoop. There is a big difference between 7′ in college and the ones in the NBA.

  12. Drew Margulis Says:

    I think we all agree with the prowler in that Blair will not be a center in the NBA, but a power forward. As far as our team goes, though, he is a perfect fit for down low. Someone has to do the dirty work and put up some points, and I think his numbers and credentials so far back up playing him there.

  13. The Prowler Says:

    Don’t misunderstand me. I think Blair is a MONSTER and would be more than happy to have him be the center for 3-4 years. He impresses me more than any big man they have had in the last 10 years, and he is only going to get better. Duke can have its 9 McDonald’s All Americans. I’ll take Blair any day. =-)


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