Call Out the Damage Control Team!

Editor Note: Our great friend and long time commenter Eric Wassel (MissingWlat) send me this piece for you guys to discuss.  Even though I don’t really follow Pitt BB that much I watched part of the UL game to see if Pitt was as bad as UPitt thinks… well, we know the answer to that now don’t we?
Last week Reed sought out volunteers to pen a basketball article. At the time, in the midst of a four game losing streak, I thought that it would be a good time to assess where the primary blame lies. There are a couple of viable theories. Did Jamie Dixon leave the cupboard bare? hqdefaultIs Kevin Stallings just a poor basketball coach? Do the players lack heart or senior leadership?

Let me state for the record, that a week ago I was in the camp that Coach Dixon was primarily to blame for his lack of recruiting and for leaving the program without a center, a competent point guard, or any quality depth. However, after tonight’s embarrassing loss to the Louisville Cardinals (just for emphasis: Final Score: Louisville 106, Pitt 51. Second worst loss in school history),  I am reevaluating my position.

I admittedly only watched parts of the game, but I saw enough. Is it fair to say that this team is not playing hard for Coach Stallings?

I should add that I was not a big fan of the hiring of Kevin Stallings as our head basketball coach. I thought that it was a completely uninspired hiring. I was not impressed with what he accomplished at Vanderbilt. However, as time passed, and I heard a lot of well respected coaches and basketball analysts applaud his selection, I began to warm to the idea of him being our basketball coach.

No longer. While I still think Kevin Stallings is handcuffed to some degree by the players that he inherited, there is no justification for losses like tonight. Nor is there any defense for how we have played subsequent to the upset win over Virginia. Doesn’t that seem like months ago?

I questioned his decision to move Jamel Artis to the point. jamel-artis-ncaa-basketball-western-carolina-pittsburgh2Some would argue that at over 20 points per game, Artis has thrived. But regardless of his point total, Jamel Artis at the point has been a disaster. I have never been a basketball coach in my life. But a good point guard makes the rest of his teammates better.

Artis does not do that. I know that there are conflicting views among our brethren regarding the merits of James Robinson, but I’ll say it: The current Pitt basketball team would be better with JR at the point than they are with Jamel Artis playing there. 

pitt-bb
 I know that Reed is a stats guy, so I’ll throw this one in. Prior to tonight, Jamel Artis was averaging 3.3 assists and 2.6 turnovers per game. JR finished last season averaging 5 assists and 1.3 turnovers per game. Who would you rather have at the point?Unfortunately, it seems as if Justice Kithcart wasn’t ready to carry the load at point guard, and nobody really knows what the problem is with Damon Wilson. So did Coach Stallings have better options?

I accepted that Coach Stallings’ offensive philosophy would likely lead to a little less defense. But to regress to where we are defensively right now is alarming. We were 273rd (out of 347 teams) in points allowed prior to tonight. After tonight’s debacle, we are likely to dip closer to 300. To add to the defensive woes, this team treats rebounding as if it is an accident.

Keep in mind however that we have mostly the same players who quit on Coach Dixon last year. We lost 6 of our final 9 ACC games last year, including the final two against inferior opponents when an NCAA berth was believed to be at stake. So certainly the players deserve some of the blame also. 

But I can’t absolve Jamie Dixon either. It is well documented that he did not transition well from the Big East to the ACC. He did not adjust well to having to move his recruiting footprint away from New York City. He has in fact left Coach Stallings with a lack of talent and a lack of depth. Loved seeing Roselle Nix play with heart tonight. But he’s not a Division 1 player, let alone an ACC level talent. Can’t see what Jamie was thinking there.

And to say that the players quit tonight is an understatement. Is their effort a reflection of themselves, the guy who recruited them, or the guy who now coaches them? 

I could lay some of this on Scott Barnes too. But that is a topic for another day. 

What do my fellow POVers think? Who is to blame for the demise of our once proud basketball program?

Guys – feel free to send me things you want to see as an article.  Hell, some of Dr. Tom’s comments are novellas in their own right.

Editors Note:   If you enjoy what you read in the articles and the comment discussions on the POV then please consider being a supporting patron through our donation site on Patreon to offset travel and associated expenses that this blog requires.  Click on the image below to get started and THANK YOU!become-a-patronNote: if you prefer to donate by check just send me an email at rkohberger@gmail.com and I’ll give you my home address, and please make the check out to “Reed Kohberger” and not Pitt POV.

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111 thoughts on “Call Out the Damage Control Team!

  1. I know this is not a big topic on this article but its something that has been on my mind….

    Everyone is wondering why the flop (thus far, hoping the kid finds his traction) with Damon Wilson. Is it possible his star rating and recruiting profile was inflated by his team? Correct me if I am wrong, but he played with 5-star Diallo and another super athletic kid who ended up going to Cal. When you are a point guard, you can look very good with star players around you.

    I think he may have been overrated is my simple point I am trying to make. He still makes careless mistakes with the ball like a high school player would. It is a shame, hopefully he finds his way. Also a victim of coaching instability…. But I was always skeptical of him.

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    1. What happened to Jamie Dixon’s recruiting? You say Nix is not a division 1 player, well it doesn’t end there. How can Kithcart ever play point guard when he can’t shoot at all, especially foul shots. We need him to penetrate and he doesn’t because he doesn’t want to get fouled. And Manigault is a brick thrower. His form is terrible. The 1 shot from the field & the 1 foul shot he attempted the other night were horrendous! Next year only 2 players returning that are division 1 players. There is no quick fix to dixon’s 3 straight years of epic recruiting failure.

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  2. All I know is that I can’t disagree with Upitt on Stallings any more.

    I said it before, he should make the tournament with this team (they made it last year) and that is not going to happen. Won’t even be close. He needs fired if he doesn’t.

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  3. FWIW I still believe he should not be totally judged for 2 more years … but this team is totally uninspired and he must take a good portion of the blame. Young and Artis are showing no leadership, and probably deserve even more blame.

    If the incoming class cannot offer immediate help, get used to these blow-outs. Heck, bring back Ralph Willard.

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  4. Good article, thank you very much. I have lost interest in Pitt BB for the moment. The team is weak, no depth and ho heart. You can blame the first two on JD, the rest lies with STallings and especially the players. People wanted higher scoring games with no defense, we got them – at least the other teams are scoring. 😦

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  5. The answer to “who is to blame” is a simple one: They ALL are!!!

    Jamie is to blame because he hasn’t been able to recruit a solid team in years. Half of this team maybe could start for Point Park, maybe!
    Kevin is to blame because, well, let’s face it – his team just lost at home by what, 55 points? The coach has final authority. The buck stops with him and clearly he has lost control of this team!!!
    The players refuse to play defense and rebound. The fact is if they are shooting hot than can beat anybody (rewatch the Maryland win). BUT if they are cold shooting they can lose to anybody ( replay Duquesne game), and because they only play O and no D or rebounding they can lose like last night.
    SO, what’s the answer?
    I fear “the answer my friend is blowing in the wind…… the answer is blowing in the wind.”

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  6. Hate to admit it but I was at the game last night. And I am in the home stretch of my season tickets which I have had for over 40 years but no more. Dixon left almost no talent in the freshman thru junior classes with his inability to recruit. In fact he actually gave up recruiting better players. If you think this year is bad, wait until next year. I am the first on here to predict next year’s ACC record: 0 – 18. If the Stallings era is to have any chance of success, he needs to recruit 3 to 4 players for next year and bump several of the current kids off the team.

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  7. Fifteen years and 13 NCAA tourney trips all washed away. Several factors come into play with most notably Dixon’s recruiting the last three years, these current seniors and their total lack of heart, Stallings’ terrible offense.

    The short-term future looks bleak for sure and long term I have no idea. The beauty of basketball is it can be changed overnight though hardly a guarantee. Flushing out the seniors and about three others is necessary since they aren’t ACC caliber. Stalling whiffed on eight of his top targets, so what does that say about his recruiting?

    Two more high school kids, two more JuCos and maybe two grad transfers could still be added for 2017-18 to make us see if Stallings is in fact the right man for the job.

    If the new AD came in and fired Kevin after one season, which won’t happen, but if it did and he brought in his guy then I also will OK with it. We have to think next year is going to be worse, so might as well be with a young guy. Firing Stallings after one season won’t make the Pitt job toxic either. The new AD tells the new coach that you’re my guy, Kevin wasn’t and it’s time to get to work. If a coach is scared off by that then Pitt doesn’t need or want that coach.

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  8. Stallings has done nothing to make me believe he has what it takes to compete in the ACC. How much rope will the new guy give him? I know this is not a good team, but they shouldn’t be this bad.

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  9. Once again Ray, no one needs bumped. There are 5 scholarships to give for next season. 4 seniors plus the open scholarship Pitt has carried all season while Stallings complains about a lack of depth. Fire him before he further ruins the program by filling them.

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  10. I can not blame Stallings for this disaster, it goes to Dixon. The lack of talent goes back several years. To think Chris Jones is a starter and we have no point guard is the proof. Plug a decent point in for Jones, and you don’t have a top ten team, but you would not loose by 55 to anyone.
    Stallings should clean house and bring in a complete new group. Keep Johnson and Luther and start over. If he doesn’t do something drastic blame him next year.

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  11. The house is cleaning itself. After next season only Johnson & Wilson will be left from Dixon. Wilson will most likely transfer after this season. That’s 5-6 new players next season & at least 3 more the following year.

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  12. There are three point guards on the roster in Milligan, WIlson and Kithcart. Milligan was recruited by Tennessee, NC State, Marquette and Creighton out of high school. He had a successful JUCO career for a tournament team and was named first team all region for the season. Milligan redshirted last year. due to some personal matters Wilson was a consensus 4 star with several offers from ACC and SEC schools. Wilson averaged more than 10 minutes a game last season. He had been averaging a third of that this season. Kithcart is a true freshman. He was mostly a 3 star recruit with one 4 star rating. It’s on Stallings that he prefers to play Milligan and WIlson so little and Kithcart so much. If Dixon were here my guess is that all three PGs would have played major minutes in the non-con and Dixon would have sorted it out from there based on ability to run the team. The Artis may have been allowed to happen in spurts as a bone to Artis, but I doubt it.. Stallings had his own ideas and stuck with those. It was his choice.

    Stallings knew what this roster looked like when he signed on. I doubt he’d have signed on if he didn’t think he could be competitive with it. That is of course unless the rumors at Vandy were true and he believed himself about to be unemployed.

    I take some exception with the Big East to ACC transition being the problem and Dixon being unable to adjust his recruiting. I feel that was correlated, not causal. Dixon had major problems in the 2010-2012 recruiting classes. Only Cam Wright and James Robinson remained in the program for the entirety of their eligibility from those years. 2011 was a near total write-off with only Durand Johnson remaining for more than one season. 2010 not much better with Epps and Moore. Adams stayed only one year from the 2012 class. Pitt joined the ACC in 2013-2014 season. Patterson and Zanna from the 2009 class were the senior leadership on that first ACC team. Granted, Cam and JR were great kids and decent to good players, however that left a lot of holes in the roster and few chips for Dixon to use with the very talented Young and Artis. Young started as a freshman and Artis was a major bench factor as a freshman.

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  13. Gallagher hiring Barnes and Barnes hiring Stallings cost Pitt 5M in losses.

    *Paid a search firm for Barnes 150k wasted.
    *Paid a relocation and closing costs on Barnes houses. 200k
    *Barnes lowered a buyout for Dixon, TCU would of paid the regular amount 2-3M
    *Paid a search firm to hire Stallings, I could of saved them 400k after referring him after I bought my summer loafers from him.
    *Now have to fire the turd and pay him 2-3M in a buyout.
    * Oh and paid a buyout for Stallings after he was already being fired from Vandy.

    So the wonderful Gallagher blew 4-5M so yes he is such a great businessman.

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  14. The blame doesn’t all fall on one person. There’s no logical way to give Dixon a pass. He created this mess and it couldn’t have been a better time for him to jump ship. But last night wasn’t on him. Last night it was on the players. I get that Stallings is the HC and he is ultimately responsible, but to me last night wasn’t on him either. The players should be embarrassed and ashamed. What makes me laugh is saying that Stallings should be fired right now. What HC is going to walk into this mess right now?? Seriously. This is going to get worse before it gets better. There are a lot of guys who need to go. The sad thing is Stallings probably won’t last long enough to get a fair shake with his players.
    I saw someone post something somewhere last night about the outcome of the game being unacceptable because we had 2 of the best players in the ACC on our team. I almost spit out my drink. Artis and Young are nowhere near the list of top players in the ACC. Not even close. They proved what coach said early in the week. Zero leadership. Of late, when the team needs a spark or a big bucket or something, they’ve been responding with TOs or bricks. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t bad players but they aren’t anywhere near great. There’s poison in the locker room – and it was there last year – so it isn’t Stallings. It’s spreading and getting worse.

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    1. Couldn’t agree more. Anyone who follows Pitt knows that there were major problems the last few years. There were times last year that both Young and Artis totally ignored Dixon in the team huddles. I believe that both of those guys (especially Young) are uncoachable. I don’t know if Stallings is the answer or not. He is in an impossible position with no options. It will get much worse before it gets better.

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  15. JJ – A young coach with fire and passion and wants to prove himself and get a name. Someone who can make 4x’s there money. UNC-Wilmington type of up and comer. There is always someone looking to prove themselves.

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  16. At one point not so long ago I would say I was almost as big of a PITT BB fan as a PITT football fan. I walked away a couple years ago and became a casual kind of fan. Why? Poor effort from Jamie. I could see it coming and it has.

    As far as Stallings? Not a big fan there either. Ho hum hire when PITT could have had some interesting prospects. All that may be gone by now. I’m not one to think I know more than a man who coaches and gets paid for a living. I tend to give a coach respect and at least some time to put his system into action. The fact that one day after Stallings went public by telling the world he was having trouble reaching this team, that they were just not buying in, then they come out and absolutely embarrass the entire University is very telling. Sure we can blame HCKS, it’s his job to at least not be embarrassed on any stage let alone national TV. Yet I believe this one goes to prove the coach being very right! These boys have a lot of growing up to do. They are selfish and quitters. I could see that a couple years ago, this is not new news. If you want to blame Stallings then have at it, they upset Virginia this year before the team imploded and they were playing as a team. It was after that game the players became lost though and started playing for themselves.

    I’ll just sit back and wait. Wait for the football season next year and the basketball season 3 or 4 years from now.

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  17. Dixon left little in the cupboard but last nite was a loss by players who don’t care and a coach who is not a coach Consequently we at Pitt will see a rough patch. Practice tonight should be a lot of running (coach in clouded) until they decide to play. We give them the scholarship we can rescind. Get kids with heart who will not quit and have pride. Two years of good recruiting clean out this mess let hem get out of Pitt what they put forth in effort –nothing. Your accountable for your actions the door swings two ways.

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  18. It is a mystery to me why two players who have a shot at the NBA are throwing away any chance for it. Leadership and team play are key to making it in anything. But who am I to question.

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  19. Need a little relief …. comments about official visit from Florida WR commit Dontavius Butler fro PantherLair

    “My mom – the look on her face and the vibe she had the whole trip, she loved it there. My grandma had everyone on the staff there laughing and stuff. She’s just that type of person, it’s never a dull moment with her,” Butler laughed. “She loves it up there. She saw Big Ben in practice and she couldn’t believe it was really him, so it was kind of like a dream for her. My dad and his girlfriend really loved it too.”

    Best wishes!

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  20. UPitt – Ben isn’t going anywhere. Too much of a contract tied up (on both sides). He is only publicly venting about the embarrassing loss (seems to be a trend in Pittsburgh these days).

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  21. Just listened to both Stallings and Pitino’s post game pressers and my thoughts are as follows:

    a. Stallings was once again very honest. He took plenty of the blame for himself and also stated blame was appropriate for the players also.
    b. Pitino was extremely sympathetic to Stallings last night saying he (Pitino) has experienced games like that himself. He noted Pitt’s bench is weak right now and that Stallings is one of the great O minds in college basketball.
    However, it is also true that maybe Pitino wants Stallings to stay because he beat him like a drum! :>)

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  22. Pitt BB this season is the perfect sh$& storm…You have a coach with an offense first mentality and a group of starters that can not or will not play defense or rebound. Last night’s Pitt effort was the same as we saw against Duquesne, exacerbated by the fact that we were playing a much better team…Many fans screamed for this style play, which is literally nothing more than playground ball. Live by the three, die by the three.

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  23. No – the fault lies squarely on ex-AD Scott Barnes’ shoulders.

    He was carpetbagging at Pitt for one year for the sole reason to get a Power-5 AD position on his resume’ and to show he actually accomplished something at Pitt he paid taxpayer’s $$ to a search firm and said “OK, what the hell? Not like I’m going to be around here anyway.” when they slid Barnes name across the table at him.

    After all – the most prominent thing he did in his year for the fans at Pitt was that less-than-effective “Fan Committee”. I had a beer with two ‘committee members’ before the bowl game and they laughed when I asked about it how it was going.

    And BTW – after a full two years of Chancellor Gallagher I think he doesn’t give any more time and attention to the athletic department as did Nordenberg… if anything Nordenberg had a better handle on things. The AD & BB coaching hires, and the departure of Dixon, were done under his nose and I’ve been told he didn’t want to be involved much if at all.

    I mean when Gallagher was asked about the retro football uniforms he had no idea what the person was talking about – and this was after the game where the retros were used – true story.

    Turn, turn, turn…

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  24. Nick, things are a lot more serious than you realize. We need 3-4 additional players to come to Pitt, not just the 5 or so signed recruits. That’s why we need to bump (convince the player it is their best interest to leave for a better chance of playing time) another 3-4 kids for any hope next year and the year after.

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  25. I just hope Narduzzi doesn’t bring in any more recruits to view a Pitt basketball game.—How anyone could believe that Pitt had any chance for a decent year when they have no decent point guard or center on this team. Beyond that they have very few players sitting on the bench that should even be in this league.

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  26. @Reed .. at the Clemson alumni gathering I asked Patrick Gallagher when were they were going to restore the chant to the Pitt victory song… The band is prohibited from playing the chant …but the football players singing in the locker room after a victory…His reply to me “I don’t know what you’re talking about… I didn’t know it was missing.” I was a bit dumbfounded… The band director told me that only the boss can make that call… The chant was taken out because all of you mean people would scream at the top of your lungs “Penn State sucks… Instead of fight Pitt fight” former administration would not all right such ” vulgarit” at that moment I wondered how in touch he was Pitttradition I thought by the way, whoever wrote the article – good job!
    Might need to bite some of the fellas over from the blather to get a little relief on the POV site… Those are some suffering bastards…

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  27. At this point, Pitt will have to wait two or three years for a good team. No matter who the coach is.

    No up and comers, go steal a good established freaking coach from someone.

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  28. Pitt Baseball Expected to finish last in ACC.

    Yes, same Coach Barnes added another 3 years to his contract.

    Can’t make this shit up.

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  29. Personally, last night’s loss feels worse to me than the football team losing 72-0 to Ohio State in 1996. We were awful for years before that, and at least the team hired a new coach at the end of the year. With basketball, we return 4 starters and the 2 leading scorers from a tourney team, and we have regressed to this in year 1 of the new coaching regime.

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  30. 4-star LB Nathan Proctor who committed to Va Tech a couple of weeks ago but made a visit to Pitt last week just tweeted he will make his final decision tomorrow. Since HCPN visited him last night, it may be a good sign … but you never know.

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  31. Did Jamie Dixon leave the cupboard bare?
    Is Kevin Stallings just a poor basketball coach?
    Do the players lack heart or senior leadership?

    Yes,
    yes,
    yes

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  32. Growing up in Oakland, I first started going to Pitt BB games up at the Field House when Don Hennon and Brian Generalovich were playing. In all the time since, last night was the lowest point.

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  33. Barnes has extensive BB connections and quite frankly no one of any substance was coming to Pitt. The search was just a check the box item to hire Stallings. My point is Pitt didn’t have coaches banging on the door. They saw the lack of recruiting and the need to rebuild the program. Dixon left the program far worse than thought.

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  34. Heard the tail end of the Narduzzi intervieway on the Fan today . He made some generic comments about the OC position and wasn’t, at least during the part I heard, pressed by the morning crew on the status of the search. I’m thinking the questions must have been screened by the coach before the interview. WTF is going on….can’t he even say when an announcement may be made?????

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  35. Colin Dunlop actually opened with the question about hiring the OC, and HCPN evaded it … saying that he was in Baltimore recruiting players …. as if the OC hire was not his priority. Like eveyrone else, I don’t have a clue what’s going on. Would like to think he has someone lined up but has a reason to wait.

    Maybe he s hiring someone from Mich St but told Dantonio no announcement until after LOI. MSU has Salem’s brother who is QB coach and two offensive co-coordinators. Maybe Napier has something in his contract where he can’t leave until after LOI. If Van Pelt, he should have been announced by now

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  36. keep reading raves about Nate Peterman at the Senior Bowl practices. Here’s a prediction for you ….for the first time in this millennium, The Steelers will draft a Pitt player …. a QB who they will groom over the next 2-3 years (and it won’t be Manny Stocker.)

    I’m figuring going after a smart QB will be a refreshing change for them

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  37. Ray, I never said anything about who did or didn’t sign. I said they have at least 5 to fill for next year & at least 3 the year after. 5 is a very big class, unless you’re bringing in 1 year guys I wouldn’t go higher.

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  38. Reed At this low point in Pitt BB, please allow UPitt to write an article on this fascinating subject. We could all use a good laugh.

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  39. why didn’t Stallings pull all of his starters and replace them with walk-ons? I would rather lose by 70 with kids that want to play versus lose by 50 with kids that won’t give maximum effort. Offensively I would have put us in a 4 corners offense to run clock. Sometimes as a coach you need to challenge your kids. If they fold, good riddence.

    Personally, I would have pulled the team from the court and taken them back to the dressing room when things went so bad early on. Would have made Asst Coach stay out and take timeouts. By taking all of my timeouts in a row, the other team may cool off. It would also give your squad a chance to reboot after being off for 8-10 minutes straight.

    Maybe the “pooh” comment was a reference to Winnie the Pooh color of hair….looks like procter’s top. The honey badger. Just a bad guess. Yes, I am stretching. The silent assassin is Twyman, if you follow snapface or instachat.

    Here’s hoping we can flip a VT and Neb verbal…..That would be impressive.

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  40. STALLINGS – “EMBARRASSING, UNACCEPTABLE”

    HCKS gets the credit for being the leader of a Pitt BB that posted the SECOND worst scoring defeat in it’s history.

    I’m not big on protest marches, but if Pitt fans organized an Oakland march to oust Stallings, I’d do my best to attend.

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  41. Not sure when Barnes last day is supposed to be but I hope Oregon State realizes there are no give backs, as I’m sure buyers remorse is kicking in up there pretty strong up there right now.

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  42. While Dixon bears some responsibility for that debacle, we wouldn’t have lost by 50 points if he was still the coach.
    Just saying.

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  43. Slog ball kept scores in double digits……..

    Dixon struggled to recruit for years, hence the fan base displeasure. Thad Matta will be available in a couple months. At least he recruits 4 and 5 stars.

    Doesn’t mean he coaches them great once he gets em, but we are used to that. Bring in players for football and basketball and baseball and soccer and wrestling and hockey and lacrosse. Anyway, recruiting is effort. You outwork your opponents and you typically win.

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    1. 19 years is amazing. We had four at one time and are now down to two. Oldest is 16 and she is doing great. I am so sorry for your loss. Dogs like us when no one else does.

      H2P

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  44. tvax..we have a long haired miniature dachshund . She is the closest thing to a child – you probably know where I’m coming from…she has to be where we are….wonderful companion in a small package

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  45. panther94, sorry for your loss … but as I told my sister who lost her long time dog (15 years) a short while ago, her dog lived a much better life than a lot of humans. It sounds like you took care of your dog as she did hers.

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  46. http://www.sportingnews.com/ncaa-basketball/news/pitt-panthers-basketball-kevin-stallings-jamie-dixon-acc-basketball-ncaaa-tournament/1p87yyw62j8zk1fbj4vipiz0yt?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    This is a pretty much a scathing article of US (Pitt fans) from native Pittsburgher Mike DeCourcey in Sporting News. Now, I know most of you here will resent this article but, like it or not, we (Pitt fans) seem to always demand more but IMO don’t necessarily deserve it.

    I believe this is the case of what many here on this blog are guilty of just recently with our reaction to our bowl loss .. as if we believe we are entitled to 9 or 10 wins after years of mediocrity. As I wrote a week or so ago here, we should be thankful that progress is being made, and instead of this world is going to end mentality every time we lose… especially for a team who came home to an empty stadium after the beating the #2 team.

    Here is an excerpt from the SN article: That’s what Pitt and many in its media and many of its followers failed to recognize last March. They thought they might convince Arizona’s Sean Miller to walk away from one of the top jobs in college coaching because he is an alum, or his brother Archie to leave UD because he is a native of Western Pennsylvania. There was never a chance. The lack of appreciation of Dixon’s achievements – and the understanding among fellow coaches of the great work he’d done – also dissuaded candidates.

    And so they wound up with a coach with a solid-but-not-overwhelming performance in 17 seasons at Vanderbilt: seven NCAA bids, one Sweet 16. He was perhaps even more out of favor at Vandy than Dixon was at Pitt.

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  47. Don’t get me wrong … Dixon’s recent recruiting efforts were very poor … no doubt; but the ridicule aimed towards him here and on other forums was just way over the top,. A point I made several times was that he was a victim of the success he created. And remember, he had turned down a handful of better paying jobs while he was at Pitt.

    Maybe we need to just give Stallings a chance with his recruits and be patient … a trait that most of us (including me) lack.

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  48. Pather94 – Very sorry to hear of your loss. That little guy had a amazing life and glad you and family had such a long time with him!

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  49. Agree with the criticism of JD being a problem Pitt fans own, but what was behind his declining recruiting efforts/results? and why really did he leave?
    All the speculation regarding Barnes influence on schedule upgrade? Barnes being the basketball AD guru brought in partly to pressure JD? JD being handcuffed by SP with budget constraints? JD being lazy in recruiting efforts? JD not holding his assistants to higher expectations? Pitt as school and city lack the commitment it takes?

    I would love to hear the honest rendition from Jamie.

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  50. Yet Pitt showered Dixon with one contract extension after another. I love how DeCourcey attacks Pitt yet fans everywhere just want to win, period. No fan base is ever happy and the perfect storm just so happen to occur at the college of DeCourcey’s hometown. Where is DeCourcey’s investigative journalism toward Dixon’s slide in recruiting and choosing his assistants? I mean hiring Smoke was an utter joke. Making Brandin the No. 1 assistant? Come on. When he landed the No. 1 assistant job Knight should have been a number two guy on the bench with someone better next to Dixon.

    Incredible how Josh Pastner at Georgia Tech wasn’t supposed to win a conference game yet has Tech competitive with four seniors. There was no Pitt fans anywhere who were calling for Pastner to be the next coach after Dixon left yet he would have been a better choice than Stallings.

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  51. I get really confused when ready theses posts (The blame on Dixon and the hate for Stallings).

    My take is as follows:

    Dixon and everyone else in the Pitt Admin knew that there were going to be several tough years ahead because recruiting was terrible for the last 3 to 5 years. In all likelihood the fans and boosters wouldn’t give him a chance if the team played like this under him. So the future wasn’t bright for Dixon at Pitt. As result, Pitt offered/pushed and TCU approached Dixon with an opportunity to spare him the possibility of leaving Pitt on the lowest of lows.

    Therefore, Pitt got to hit reboot. Dixon gets to leave the University and City he learned to love while he still has a mostly positive legacy and the next coach inherits the disaster with an opportunity to slowly resurrect the program from the ashes.

    In a way I feel sorry for Stallings because he put himself in a really tough situation. However, the gamer in him loved the idea of the opportunity to turn the program around and get a change of scenery at a new University that he perceived as an upgrade over Vandy.

    My interruption of the situation.

    Additionally I feel a school like Pitt had to make a choice. Football or Basketball. I think they have finally chosen Football and you know what? I am completely fine with that choice.

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  52. Great summary , AJosh…I concur on all points. The question at this point can Pitt afford the time necessary to truly see what Stallings can do? How much worse can the team be allowed to get before making a change. If they show as pitiful an effort the rest of the season as they did against Louisville, who would want to come here to play or see a game? Quite a quandary. Maybe Barnes, like Dixon, quickly saw the error of his judgment and decided to get out of Dodge too. We know he doesn’t like noise and it’s getting LOUD around here.

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  53. it’s the same situation in football. When you don’t have the athletes that your opponents do, you play ground control. This is why Navy employs the triple option.

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  54. My sympathies Panther 94; my wife and I adopt older cockers that assholes throw away when they are nine or ten – always have two and they live to 12 – the loss sucks but a dog should not be thrown on the scrap heap.
    I have made it well known I don’t care for Artis, million dollar talent, 5 cent heart. He and MY quit the last two years and neither will play defense. Artis recently attributed a poor showing by him as “HIS” players didn’t get him the ball – thought they were teammates. There has been talk that the team is divided in two – my guess Artis Young on one side.
    As to search firms, they are a joke. An inside source at Pitt indicates they just take the top three names and contact them to guage interest and that is it. No research into up and comers, no background checks, nothing but a big sham.
    I cant even watch BB anymore, it is a disgrace. Dixon recruited poorly but the players own that fiasco versus LVille, period. Agree KS should have benched all seniors, gotta start somewhere.
    ps Reed has named the long haired dachshund Sandusky to go with his cats Joe and Pa. 🙂

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  55. I think the main purpose of search firms is that they contact coaches’ agents to gauge interest … and then when either the school or the coach are asked about a certain position, they can say that haven’t talked to each other. Apparently, they don’t even vet their candidates … Maike Haywood??

    Of course, there was a major conflict of interest in the Stallings’ hiring BUT … if KS is fired right away, are we going to get anyone better? We may have to settle for a Brandon Knight … who may turn out to be a good one, but is a major risk.

    As we at Pitt should have well learned by now … firing a coach is just one half of the process. The new hire is the more important decision.

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  56. Anyone else think Proctor comes to Pitt? I’d say Garbutt is about 5% chance. Looks like the staff is all in on Proctor, DeBose, Thomas, Davis and Bryan. Would we take them all if they all gave Pitt the nod? From what I’ve seen, even though it isn’t public, Twyman has given the staff a commitment. I think it would be smart to go after Munford hard if somebody falls through – we need the big O linemen.

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    1. I wouldn’t expect another O-lineman in this class. Pitt sure could use one though. Not counting walk-ons the numbers are lower than you’d like. Quality of quantity matters more, but you’d like to see one of these years a five-man class. Munford would have been terrific to have added with the four others in this class.

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  57. Thank you all for the kind words. He was a Jack-Rat terrier–1/2 Jack Russell, 1/2 Rat terrier. rkb, you and your wife are doing great work.

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  58. past indicates future 80% of the time.

    past Stallings sucked at Vandy and now is aging.

    current he sucks at Pitt

    Future he will most likely suck at Pitt.

    Fire him now and burn it down and rebuild it with young fire and a duke disciple or pay witchita States coach.

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    1. Lol Upittbaseball — this is perfect for you, these direct responses. This is great. Direct dialogue with you lol.

      And your reasoning is oh-so-right here if I may say so. haha

      Nordy-Pitt in the Bottom-Basement, Dungeon Big East Bball days got a Ben Howland, and look what happened.

      Current, ACC, (at least should be) Primo-Money Pitt should be able to go find a true Hungry, Charismatic Up-n’-Comer (regardless of age — just be able to freakin’ recruit!!) for the program with no issues.

      Scott Barnes Fooked Up big time and everyone knew it right-off. People aren’t all just total A-holes and jerks —> The hire was so insane that people let it be known that the hire was HORRIBLE (!!!! everyone knows Stallings was about to get totally unceremoniously Canned / Sacked / FIRED from Vandy, what the heck????).

      I had zero issue with the Vitriol because the hire was Stupid and Insane and totally blew my mind. It was “The end of Scott Barnes at Pitt” right there. Yet I still attempted to “wait and watch” first lol.

      I had way, wayyyyy too much faith in Scott Barnes and I thought he was gonna go find a Fiery, HUNGRY new coach for Pitt to Fire-Up the Fanbase. —- Nope, and that’s exactly why Scott Barnes is gone and no one cares one-lick. 😦 😦 Barnes didn’t even bring Narduzzi, Chancellor Gallagher brought Pat Narduzzi.

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  59. Sorry 94 for your loss, there’s no way around it, it’s hard. Best wishes to you and the family.

    I do think PITT fans were hard on Jamie for not winning more in the tourney but if you don’t think it was time and in the best interest for both JD and PITT to part ways you weren’t paying close enough attention, imo.

    I have always thought Jamie and steve had a great relationship. Although I don’t know about how much money was available for asst coaches? I understood when Slice moved back to NYC to be a head coach but when he was let go and began watching PITT games a few rows back of Jamie, I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t brought back as a bench coach and the ace recruiter he is. JD’s asst coaches were not very good at the end.

    All of a sudden people are yelling for Brandon Knight when most were skeptical as hell just last year. Brandon would bite his finger nails during the rough part of games.

    Yes I think Twyman is on the PITT list.
    Looks good for Proctor
    Garbutt and Proctor wanted to go to the same school.
    Munford is still waiting for the OSU offer that he may never get. Could be?
    Mathis’s teammate Davis would be a nice pickup
    I really like DeBose
    I really like Thomas
    Those last two may be stretching it a bit……
    One name I remember from PCC last year is Tim Terry. Couldn’t find his name but I liked the way he played.

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  60. Tim Terry is a hard commit to Buffalo, PITT has lost players to the MAC that could have helped them out. The Shannon kid out of Jeannette was one.

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  61. I know even less about basketball than football. So, for whatever value this may be, I think that we need to give Stallings a few years to try to establish his team playing his way. Actually, the meltdown should make recruiting easier—“come and play as a freshman.” A totally different message than Dixon’s, which was to come and learn his system and eventually play in a 8-man rotation.

    So, I am optimistic about our basketball team of the future. This year—not so much.

    H2P

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  62. Here’s a possible theory I’ve haven’t much off…could it be that Pitt did offer plenty of up-and-comers in the coaching ranks (like Miller at Dayton & Andy Enfield) and they all turned us down? These guys can interview just to get more money from where they work now with zero intention of leaving.

    A new AD would never let that info out either. Maybe all we could get is a washed up old coach to come here. I mean, the Athletic Dept. at Pitt is always known to be among the worst in the nation. They have been cheap with Dixon as far as assistants and the distance they could recruit.

    Like

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