Panthers fans will be hoping for upset as Duke comes to the Pete.  I say it’s just a good measuring stick for a team that has exceeded expectations.

Lets go Pitt!

137 thoughts on “Pitt Basketball: Pitt vs Duke Open Thread

  1. I heard LastRow can’t make the BB game tonight – there goes our chance for an upset!

    Hope you’re feeling better soon, Fran.

    Go Pitt.

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    1. I’ve watched three games this year and i consistently come away with three impressions
      1. McGowans is good
      2. Johnson is good
      3. Chuckwa can’t get out of his own way

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  2. Touch fouls called on Pitt (at home), while Duke gets away with hacking.

    The refs don’t need to help coach K. He has the horses – let the ponies play too.

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  3. Browne has no backbone to take Zion on inside. He needs to man up even if he fouls out. Saving it for the 2nd half won’t matter much if they are getting blown out.

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  4. Capel agrees – he just T’d up for arguing a hack on his guy.

    Whatever happened to Home court advantage. Big money wins? And Pitt ain’t big money is BB, but Duke is…

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    1. We were no match. Duke is the best team in the country.

      Sorry for not commenting. Wanted to watch in peace.

      Never said we’d beat Duke or NC. Everyone else fair game.

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    1. What are you looking at? Upset that the Mounties have a losing record? Uh, not even close. We lost by 35 last year at home (& 27 on the road). Last night we lost by 15. I’m sure you’re just ‘in the moment’, but comparing this year’s team to last years in any way shape or form is pretty nutsy…

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  5. Couple thoughts”

    Pickett saying high to JayZee and not Stocker.

    Captain Obvious says…. PITT lacks size, outside shooters and depth.

    Duke, New England and every teams that plays a Pittsburgh team get’s all the calls.

    and lastly, this PITT team doesn’t quit……..Watch……

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  6. We need to remember that these freshman are in unchartered territory. They’ve never gone through practices, workouts, travel, school, and games like they are going through now.

    As they progress up the learning and experience curve, they are also liable to hit a wall, or some walls…

    Better times are ahead…

    Go Pitt.

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  7. As pessimistic as I am in football, I am optimistic in basketball. I see this as nothing to be ashamed of, coming from the depths where the Pitt B-ball program was a year ago.

    These guys had a couple of games where they had a chance to win with the final shot. One against the Big10 #14 Iowa team they played in the challenge.

    Last year there would’ve been no hope in that chance.

    I was talking to my brother last year around this time about which he thought could turn it around more quickly.

    He said he thought the basketball team was in pretty bad shape.

    Look it ain’t in the greatest of shape, but I do like what I am seeing.

    And I like Wilson-Frame quite a bit. Think his Senior leadership means a lot to this team (not necessarily his talent as much as his maturity).

    Ok if you must slash at me, feel free to do so…

    🙂

    Dave

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Back on the road this Saturday for another tough one at Louisville. After that, the final 11 games I think Pitt could win five and with a break or two, maybe six.

    A big recruit makes a decision soon, Wahab. Pitt is desperate for size and Capel has to reel him in though it will be tough. We know this team won’t be the same next year, but talent needs added so Ellison is pushed to ninth or tenth in the rotation. It should be an interesting spring but first this season has a long way to go.

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  9. “They are what we thought they are” (or something like that)

    They will be outrebounded by all, out-talented by most ,,,, but to their credit, they are out-hustled by none.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Zion Williamson was 11-13 from the floor. The rest of the Duke players were a combined 17-52.

    BTW, in response to the comment above that Pitt gave Duke a better game last year ….. wrong. Pitt was beaten by 27 and 35 points last year, and this year’s Duke team is much better (with 2 likely lottery picks)

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  11. The inability to hit the THREE is killing this Team.

    Frankly, don’t understand it. How can you not have at least ONE Player who can at least offer a threat of having it go in?

    Most High School Teams do!

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  12. I’m with David and others that appreciate what JFF contributes to this team. I see him constantly keeping the young guns under control. For that alone it’s worth it to have him on the floor….. and when he’s hot he’s hot but when he’s not he’s… you know how the saying goes? He’s not the best ball handler and his defense can be sporadic but without him, X Johnson, speaking of hot, (headed) probably would have been thrown out of several games.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. The talent on Duke is unbelievable and their star point guard is injured. The good news is that Capel helped recruit a lot of those guys. If he can bring in guys with similar talent as his freshmen this year lookout.
    Duke had complete control of the boards, impossible to overcome. Zion is a beast, lucky he will be gone next year, but Duke will bring in more talent.
    Yes we need better thre point shooting but we also need a guy that can hit from the foul line to break the zone. Toney will get better, but Ellison will not. Maybe N’Dir could do it.

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  14. Well GC I’m pretty confident that both you or I could recruit to Duke as long as Coach K is running the show. Recruiting to Pitt is just a shade better than us going up against Clemson in recruiting for football.

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  15. JWF has been a class act. He’s taken a backseat to the freshmen with grace. He’s also better off the bench. Not cool seeing people trash him. He stayed when he didn’t have to and, even when slumping, is providing senior leadership that is needed. He’s not a superstar but he is a Pitt Man. Show the kid some respect. He’s earned it.

    Liked by 6 people

  16. I kind of have to chuckle that at this point in the basketball recruiting cycle compared to football and not one commit for next year yet for Capel. Narduzzi would be getting crucified….. and I’m not saying Capel should be crucified, just pointing out that when you like someone or something, there’s an altogether different tolerance level.

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      1. Is there any chance Capel got a little lucky with last years recruits? And is there a chance he hasn’t been as good this year so far by being out recruited by Illinois and Seton Hall no less?

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  17. Biggest and most all encompassing problem for Pitt Basketball has been the bugaboo since day one of the season….the zone defense. I think Carlow could throw up a zone at Pitt and give them trouble. It’s not all about shooting 3s, although that helps. It’s really about players standing around without the ball on offense watching our two super guards exchange passes. YOU HAVE TO
    MOVE WITHOUT THE BALL against any zone D!

    Pitt has several good motion offenses including the Flex but they need more. Capel is no dummy and I’m sure he’s putting in several set plays. Problem is that Pitt is not just facing zone defenses, they are facing matchup zone defenses. This is where a defender plays man to man defense with anyone in their defensive area. Iowa State did it first and totally shut down Pitt second half.

    Pitt can expect to see it over and over until they find a way to eliminate 5-7 minute scoring droughts

    Needless to say, better outside shooting would also be a big help!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. PS – Duke is easily the best team in the country. There second five could beat most anyone!
    Imagine Pitt having 3 forwards/centers with the same or better talent than our guards. Duke has that….on their bench!

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  19. gc, my point wasn’t to bust on Capel but I’ll remind you that Capel only recruited 3 players last year to PITT and two of them were 3* players. McGowen being the 4* and again, none so far for next year.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Capel got here after recruiting season was pretty much over and still did very well.
    Rivals rates Narduzzi’s class at 45. He is trending downward.

    Capel will get plenty of criticism if he doesn’t produce, just like Narduzzi.

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  21. No one should expect Capel to recruit like Duke or Kentucky, just like no one expects Narduzzi to recruit like Alabama or Clemson, but classes in the 20’s shouldn’t be unachievable for either guy. A class in the teens would be spectacular.

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    1. I speak jive so I understand what he was saying. One difference between our last years coach and this one is that this coach yelled those things at the referee, not his own player. Plus 1.

      He needs to close on Coulihay to get a big man in the fold whilst the guards are freshmen. If the 2 freshmen guards keep improving, we will lose them after their true junior year. Pitt will have a spacing problem (smalls without bigs). Without multiple bigs this year, we will be in trouble. We should have a lot of schollies to dish, right?

      Also, Dan, I don’t think our guards understand the basics on how to beat a zone. If 2-1-2 our offense should be a 1-3-1. If defense plays 1-3-1, you play a 2-1-2 offense. That’s old school fundamentals that most D1 guards never learn because it’s always 1 on 1. Dan?

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  22. I don’t think it makes any sense to try to compare Pitt’s recruiting in BB versus FB,. In BB, we check all the boxes (aside from being a blue-blood…); while in FB, we have big handicaps in the game-day atmosphere and the northern weather (especially since so many of our targets are deep south kids).

    Weather isn’t an issue for most BB players. And the Pete has been and will be full and rockin’ when Pitt is competitive.

    So I expect a good evaluator/recruiter like Coach Capel to bring in very good players – when it comes down to Pitt and one or two other schools, he’s not as handcuffed as Coach Duzz is. I think Coach Capel will win out in those situations at a much higher percentage than Coach Duzz.

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree to a certain extent, but Pitt is not a blue blood in either sport, so not easy to recruit in either.
      Maybe fewer obstacles in basketball, but Pitt is still a Johnny come lately, where in football we have a long if not sporadic tradition, we have plenty of NFL HOF guys and future ones, where in BBall, we only have Billy Knight and Charles Smith that have made a small dent in the NBA. Does anyone even remember that Steve Adams went to Pitt?

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      1. over the past 2 decades, Pit’s blood is a lot more bluer in BB than FB. Pitt has had HOF football players over the past 30+ years, but little to show for it teamwise. This is the problem for FB, it takes many more top recruits to be really good.

        Butler (twice), VCU, George Mason, Wichita St, Gonzaga and Loyola-Chicago made the BB Final 4 in the past 15 years. You don’t see any teams like this making it in the FB play-offs .. although UCF came close

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      2. Yes, and I golfed yesterday with an Oklahoma City Thunder season ticket holder – he tells me Steven Adams is his favorite player and he is a rock star in their area.

        H2P!

        Liked by 1 person

  23. Basketball and football recruiting are certainly two different animals, Capel was a great get for sure. Actually, I like Narduzzi’s recruiting class more than most and I’m sure that doesn’t come as any surprise. Carter being dropped to 3* is very telling about the lack of respect PITT has from the subjective recruiting sites. Give me a tank of gas, a Saturday morning news paper, the desired which I don’t have and I’ll be able to start my own recruiting service. Of course it would be limited to the WPIAL. . .. ..ike

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  24. QUESTION: Is anyone else having problems with the POV site crashing on them? It’s fine on my computer, but this morning, when I used my iphone to access it, it crashed over 10 times.

    Usually I run into the crashing when the number of comments reaches a couple hundred. I can get onto the site with no problem, but when I pull up the comments try scrolling down to the new comments, the site just quits at some point during the scrolling – then I get a message asking if I want to send in a report or not to WordPress. I have pushed the button to send in many, many crash reports.

    Michaelangelo — I was wondering if you are aware of any problems with the site crashing when accessed by iphone?

    Thanks.

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  25. The grit and tenacity on Pitt is great, and X and Trey will be great players as long as they continue to develop, especially their outside game. But, until Capel recruits and develops a couple of Bigs, this team will always be under-manned. He is on the clock . . . . Shame he couldn’t keep Stevenson on the team.

    BTW, finding 3 point shooters, even if they don’t fit the mold of the penetrating guard or tenacious defender is much easier to do then finding 4* big men. Capel needs to follow Syracuse and ND’s lead and look where they do. They are constantly finding 3 point shooters, possibly in places he doesn’t typically recruit. Zones will beat this team until he finds shooters, or develops them internally.

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  26. I like Toney or N’Dir at the free throw area vs. a zone D. Also, good ball movement would open up outside shootin on the wings and in the corners. Maybe try moving X or Trey to the corners vs. the zone. Love the atmosphere at the Pete and Coach Capel! Keep the momentum moving forward. Very tough rematch game at the ‘Ville this week. So far, this team has done well with a very difficult January schedule . Love the effort!

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    1. I don’t believe he played last night, and played very little vs Cuse. Don’t know what the issue is but he has been a decent shooter from the deep corner .. certainly as good as anyone else

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Switching to football for a minute, I heard some interesting stats on ACC Radio this AM. Looking at the HS star ratings of the players on each Super Bowl team….New England has one 5 stars and their average rating is 2.9.
    Los Angeles Rams have four 5 star players and a team average of 3.5 stars.

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  28. Interesting info on PSN that Mr. Whipple is recruiting Norwin HS QB Jack Salopek.

    What’s interesting is that Jack, who is a junior, has 2 offers at this point. One from Pitt and one from UMASS. Small world…

    Go Pitt.

    Like

    1. MM, Chris Peak @pantherlair reported that the Salopek offer by U Mass came after Whipple left the head coaching job at U Mass. Still one would have to believe Salopek was on their radar even when Whipple was the head coach.

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  29. I wonder if there were many potential football and basketball recruits at the Duke game. Anyone with an update on the recruiting scene?

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  30. Xavier is from Woodbridge but played at a private school, Bishop O’Connell, in Arlington, Va. Same league that Paul VI plays in … which Pitt fans may remember as being home to Corey Manigault and almost pledge, Aaron Thompson who is now a starter at Butler. Great league … one of the best in the country.

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  31. Regarding Kham, I think against a team like Duke you have to have your best athletes on the court. Kham has heart but he’s not an elite athlete. It was a just a bad matchup. Against Louisville or Clemson, we’ll probably see a little more of him.

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  32. Even though he’s an excellent defender, I think he was a liability against the elite athletes on Duke, on that end of the court … and he’s not really a volume scorer that would have helped much in a comeback effort against Duke. i really think it was just matchups and situation. He’ll play more against the mid-tier and below teams but against the UNC’s, Duke’s and UVA’s of the league he’ll be relegated to the bench.

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  33. TT, The match-ups are also decided on the game situations. Brown getting the 3 quick fouls and Kenne looking lost out there dictated someone like Davis to step in for defensive purposes. PITT couldn’t score which made it imperative that Duke was held to a minimum in scoring. Davis is a very good defensive player.

    I’m not so sure it was the game itself that decided his playing time?

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  34. Nice write on coach Beatty at PSN. One would have to believe that Pitt didn’t make this hire on the cheap. His background and experience should have commanded at salary certainly much greater than the other candidate from U Mass that Narduzzi interviewed last week.

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    1. the coaching pool is greatly expanded when the money is in the budget.

      but deficit spending is not sustainable. Either the ACC revenues have to dramatically go up or Pitt has to find a way to increase attendance and other revenues.

      The new ACC network is expected to provide from $4-$7M in new revenue each year.

      Pitt borrows from the general fund to support athletics.

      If Pitt ran sports as a profitable business, Pitt wouldnt have cut womens tennis and the team would already have tennis courts on campus. Pitt is the only ACC school without a tennis program now.

      I would have Mark Cuban consult for 2 years. A profitable department can open up so many opportunities.

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  35. Good point jrn, I wouldn’t think its the honest money that will keep from becoming a big-time player in the P-5 football world, PITT seems to be spending what it takes to run a respectable program. It’s how much will the PITT boosters bend a rule or two to keep up with the big-time cheating programs?

    I hope they don’t and it’s why I still get excited to root for PITT. I’ve always cheered for the underdog…. it makes winning so much more fun!! ike

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Late addition to comments about the game… We were ZERO and 16 last year. What Jeff Capel has done in a short period of time is miraculous. We don’t have a shooting guard, we have no rebounder or big man who can play back to the basket. We have no depth. We have little experience beyond JWF and N’Dir. We have no true point guard who can distribute the ball.

    Yet we have been mostly competitive. The kids played hard (but not always smart) last night and for the most of the season.

    When Coach Capel gets some recruits in here, things will get better in a hurry. He’s recruited everywhere he’s been. He’ll get us some good players. Patience.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. The difference between Capel and Duzz are dramatic. Duzz has NEVER been a HC. Hence, he has been receiving OTJ training at ours and the programs expense. Watching his productively is what should and is being done. Can this guy actually be a successful head football coach. Very fair statement.
    Capel has ALREADY been a BIG school successful HC at……wait for it…. Big 12 powerhouse OKLAHOMA

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  38. …… and OK hired him away from Vanderbelt. He is a high end HC. Duzz is not (yet) but he may or may not be. It’s year 5 and we still don’t know. So yes Ike, it is factual and logical that Capel is already highly regarded. And we are all encouraged to give our own opinions and not have to only agree with yours. So pkease stop dissing POVers who don’t agree with your personal opinions. I, for one, am getting very tired of it.

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  39. To clear up my points here:

    I love coach Capel

    I think Capel will be the savior of the PITT basketball program.

    Capel has zero recruits for next year right now…… which is ok…. My point is, that it wouldn’t be ok with many who dislike Narduzzi. Not comparing BB to football but the tolerance level with many of Narduzzi.

    Simply stated…. Narduzzi gets raked over the coals because he doesn’t have the personality of Capel and not his coaching ability. He won the coastal division this past year!

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  40. You kind of missed my point Jim and I don’t care if you’re tired of my comments… anyways… when did I discourage anyone’s opinions? Read above.

    BTW, Capel was let go in Oklahoma accused of indiscretions. but I still like the guy. If you see my comment, pass over it!! ike

    Like

  41. While Carter was just downgraded on Rivals from 4 star to 3, 247 just announced its final ratings which raised two PSU commits from 4 to 5. What a shock!

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    1. excerpt from a PennLive article ..

      Barton Simmons of 247Sports went in-depth on some of the nation’s top prospects as the publication released its final 2019 class rankings. Simmons and the 247Sports crew ranked linebacker signees Brandon Smith and Lance Dixon at Nos. 12 and 13, respectively, and graded them both as five-star prospects. In Dixon’s case, 247Sports went “against the grain” in doing so.

      Simmons wrote:
      “We are way against the grain here with this ranking relative to the rest of the industry, but we aren’t sweating it.”

      Like

  42. Magnet school Lincoln Park (Midland) had a 83 game section win streak until losing to Aliquippa last night. Quips were led by MJ Devonshire 20 and Will Gipson 16.

    According to Beaver Valley Times, Pitt has as good a chance as anyone in reeling in Devonshire but he is visiting Kentucky this weekend. Due to its rash of recent transfers, PSU is in communication with him, and the new WVU staff has contacted him.

    LOI day is 2 weeks away

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  43. Narduzzi was never known as an ace recruiter
    Capel is an ace and a proven head coach at 2 schools
    Narduzzi needs to find assistants that can recruit. He then needs to close the deal.
    There is no denying that football recruiting is trending down
    Basketball recruiting is a Big TBD but I have confidence in Capel unlike Narduzzi
    It really is that simple
    I never look myself in the mirror BTW

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  44. Its this new generation of kids. When it gets tough, they bail. We would be speaking German if the kids today landed on the Normandy beaches. This is coming from a Gen X-er who despises both the Boomers and Millennials. We dont discriminate and hate you both…no apologies. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Loyalty? Please. I manage a team of 12 sales people. In my one on one’s with them, loyalty comes up all of the time. The first question I ask is why are you being loyal? They give their answer and then I tell them the truth … That the company won’t be loyal in return. The company is loyal to the share holders. I tell each and every one of them that the best thing that they can do for their career is to interview at least once a year to find their market value. Once you know what you’re worth, then you have leverage. You can then make decisions based on happiness or career ambitions or money. Whatever is most important to you at that point in your life. You get to choose if you stay or go. Don’t ever be loyal to a company.

    People get this sense that they can’t be replaced … everyone is replaceable. Maybe the replacement won’t be as good … but they sure as hell are replaceable.

    Yes, I’m Generation X.

    If you have pro-aspirations why the hell would you stay at a school that you don’t feel can get you there? Even if you’re a starter. Maybe he knows the next man behind him will have the edge going into camp? Maybe he feels he’s not being showcased properly. Who cares? At this point in this person’s life, they feel that they have to make a move to better themselves.

    Being loyal over personal happiness is fool’s gold. There’s a good chance you’ll have some regrets later in life.

    Most of these kids only have 4 years left to play the sport that they love. Why would you spend that not playing? Because of loyalty? Forget that nonsense. Coaches aren’t loyal. Schools aren’t loyal.

    If I can make more at another company and still be as happy, why would I stay at my current job? Loyalty? Oh hell no.

    Sorry to go off on a tangent but loyalty is one of the most overrated and overloaded phases out there. Be loyal to your family and friends and whatever else brings you joy like church or country … but never be loyal to an institution. You won’t get loyalty in return.

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    1. There should be some loyalty to your school and program.

      These athletes are getting a free ride and a good education.

      Many kids should appreciate what they are given. Many kids are too selfish these days.

      If a kid is not good enough to play, maybe they arent D1 caliber. Maybe they should transfer to DII if they really want to play. Maybe they realize they are robbing the university and a more deserving athlete should have the scholie. But I doubt that

      I get the point about blind loyalty but these kids knew what they were signing up to do. I sure the Hell would appreciate 4-5 free years of school at a world class university and to be part of a team and I would be perfectly content to practice, support, represent and ride the pine.

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  46. And TX, I call BS on that about Normandy. Look at the enrollment in the US Military after 9/11. I personally know people who have made the ultimate sacrifice because they made the decision, on their own, to enroll. Despite what the TV makes you think, the love that people have for country is ever present and the youth will always rise to the occasion when our freedom is threatened.

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    1. Tossing – Gen Y was born in the mid 80’s to Year 2000. None served in the 1st Iraq war. Few served in the 2nd Iraq war. Maybe you’re confusing our generation with the one that came after us?

      Many are serving in post war Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan today though.

      Military operations aside, I would take any Still Mill kid from the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s over any kid today for football. Kids are generally entitled, soft and spoiled today. I can think of other non-PC words but I digress.

      Like

  47. couple things:

    Hey Tx, German language still nearly became out nations language….. *” Legend has it that English only defeated German by a single vote to become the official language of the United States, in a 1795 Congressional debate. * Until now, America has never had an official language. Before World War I, more than 6 per cent of US primary school children were taught in German”.

    Checking the transfer portal I notice PITT’s former commit and TE friend Matt Alaimo has left UCLA and transferred to Rutgers, near his home town. Matt has a highly rated QB brother who is still in high school. I think he has a PITT offer.

    PITT has no one on the portal list as of right now. . .. .. …ike

    Like

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