Zanna, and the Upcoming Season

I know I’ve been a little late on the news (a few tests and papers tend to throw off the blogging schedule), but for those of you who didn’t hear, Darnell Dodson will not be a Panther at any point in his basketball career. The one-time Pitt recruit didn’t academically qualify for his freshman year in 2007, so he went to Miami-Dade CC for two years of junior college, using up only one year of eligibility. The plan was for him to return to Pitt in the fall of 2009 as a redshirt sophomore and contribute to this team for the future. Unfortunately, the NCAA took too long to rule on Dodson in 2007, and he learned he was ineligible only after he was enrolled in classes at the University. Big East law prohibits non-qualifiers from going to prep school after enrollment, and since he was in classes already, he can’t transfer back to this (or any) Big East university. Chances are that Dodson will sign with Gary Williams in Maryland, and I wish him the best.

The bright side of that unfortunate incident is that Jamie Dixon got a 4th freshman commitment out of that class, 6’8″ center Talib Zanna out of Bishop McNamara HS in Forestville, MD. This is a guy with a lot of upside, another “sleeper” for Jamie Dixon. This is a good pickup, with the depth in the frontcourt we’ll have for 2009 (Gary McGhee, Dwight Miller, DeJuan Blair, Dante Taylor) we’ll have the flexibility to redshirt JJ Richardson and/or Zanna. Hopefully the Panthers can wrap up the 5th recruit they’re looking for in either SG Durand Scoot or wing Dominic Cheek, both blue-chip recruits for the 2009 class, and look ahead to our small class of 2010- probably Tom Droney with the possibility of Isiah Epps, both possible 4-or-5 star recruits.

I know this is a basketball blog but I wanted to give a quick shout-out to the Panthers football team for the win last night against South Florida. We’ve come back to establish ourselves as a top-3 (if not the current favorite) team in the Big East, and I’ll take a 4-1 record after 5 games with the upcoming schedule. Notre Dame and WVU are looking like very winnable games, as is UConn, and we can definitely take this conference. I don’t wanna get too ahead of myself but…dual conference champions, anybody?

The basketball season officially kicks off October 16th with Pitt’s media day, so between now and then I’ll put up previews of Pitt’s classes (freshman through seniors) in preparation for the season. Hail to Pitt!

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