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?
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.
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.
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