Hoops Team Open Practice & Other Dribbles ...

Fsgolfdr

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True - I remember everyone was excited when Drumgoole had a really good “private scrimmage” against Maryland. It was a fun gathering to engage fans. Nothing more, nothing less.
But at times it tells you all you need to know too .

Donte Taylor was really hyped , McDonalds AA , it took two minutes at Greentree to realize he wasn’t special.

Conversely watching guys like Adams , Sam Young , even JRob ( to stay current ) told you that these guys were really good .
 

Fsgolfdr

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Yes. Good discussion to have since it was flipped. The one who played for the Spanish National team was the less highly rated of the two by the recruiting services in the U.S.

IMHO, there probably isn't much difference between the two other than about an inch in height. Similar and typical Euro player skills. Both need to get physically stronger and add low block moves to compliment their existing outside skills and make them more complete allround players.
I’d be willing to bet they’re much stronger than they look . Now they won’t be muscling Big John off the blocks , but that’s not what they need to do .

Seven foot wings that can shoot and defend the corners , pass and run the floor ….sounds exciting to me .

Can’t teach size !
 

Duneaux Harm

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But at times it tells you all you need to know too .

Donte Taylor was really hyped , McDonalds AA , it took two minutes at Greentree to realize he wasn’t special.

Conversely watching guys like Adams , Sam Young , even JRob ( to stay current ) told you that these guys were really good .
I would say Greentree was different. Essentially its pick up hoops and teams wanting to embarrass the other. Those were fun games.
 

DT_PITT

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Lost to Pacific in what format of play? I kind of cannot recall as quickly anymore that particular format. Thanks for proving my point.
I think what he’s saying is that the team who was losing to CMU at halftime was the same year that Pitt lost to Pacific in the NCAA tournament - the 04-05 season.

I think this fact lends credence to both sides. Struggles against CMU did show that the 04-05 team had some weaknesses and they really could never have been called a great team as many of these weaknesses were never really resolved all year. But it also doesn’t mean that a team with exhibition struggles can’t be a tournament team.
 

Ski11585

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Let me rephrase so that I’m clear. It was as almost that you could sense a certain disappointment within him.

In no way am I suggesting that he won’t give 110% as coach.
In isolation, I understand why Capel might feel beaten down. But when you pair it with the video from last week(?) where he seemed really low energy there too? If I were looking for red flags I don’t think I’d have to look too hard.
 

Vader_Storm

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I think what he’s saying is that the team who was losing to CMU at halftime was the same year that Pitt lost to Pacific in the NCAA tournament - the 04-05 season.

I think this fact lends credence to both sides. Struggles against CMU did show that the 04-05 team had some weaknesses and they really could never have been called a great team as many of these weaknesses were never really resolved all year. But it also doesn’t mean that a team with exhibition struggles can’t be a tournament team.


Its not like a single exhibition game is the be all end all for full season predictions. There were exhibition games like the one against Slippery Rock where Taylor as a freshmen had a herculean effort to help win the game against a bad team in the preseason. That game was a 1 off for Taylor obviously, he was no where good as what he showed in 1 game. But inexperience matters early on, the 2004-2005 team had Ron Ramon eating up major minutes as a true freshmen for example.


The difference this year is the experience, especially in the backcourt. We are trotting out 4 5th year senior guards with 3 of them having NCAA Tournament experience. These are seasoned players with lots of experience. Coming out of the gate slow against a 9 win division 2 team is going to look really bad if that's what happens in a few weeks. We should beat this team easily without Hugley. Last year we struggled with Gannon with new players figuring out roles, and we were blown out soon after by the Citadel and West Virginia.

Like I said, if we cant make wide open jump shots as a collective team against lowly D-2 Clarion, its going to be a long season.
 
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Duneaux Harm

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I think what he’s saying is that the team who was losing to CMU at halftime was the same year that Pitt lost to Pacific in the NCAA tournament - the 04-05 season.

I think this fact lends credence to both sides. Struggles against CMU did show that the 04-05 team had some weaknesses and they really could never have been called a great team as many of these weaknesses were never really resolved all year. But it also doesn’t mean that a team with exhibition struggles can’t be a tournament team.
Compared to the last half dozen years, that Pacific Loss team was a FRIGGING AWESOME TEAM. LOL
 

Fsgolfdr

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I would say Greentree was different. Essentially its pick up hoops and teams wanting to embarrass the other. Those were fun games.
When someone jumps off the pages it’s easy to notice . Even Khem Birch showed why he was so highly regarded the first time you saw him . ( also you realized his offense away from the hoop was lacking ) . Guys with that something special normally don’t sneak up on you , you can see it .

The guy who never lived up to that was JJ Moore .
 
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Joe the Panther Fan

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IMHO, there probably isn't much difference between the two other than about an inch in height. Similar and typical Euro player skills. Both need to get physically stronger and add low block moves to compliment their existing outside skills and make them more complete allround players.


Based on what we saw yesterday (which is certainly not a lot to go on) the coaches see them differently. Guillermo played the five and only the five. When they were running their sets the shots that he took were pretty much all in the low post area. Jorge played the four. When they were running their sets he was one of the guys playing on the perimeter and took a ton of threes.
 

DC_Area_Panther

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Based on what we saw yesterday (which is certainly not a lot to go on) the coaches see them differently. Guillermo played the five and only the five. When they were running their sets the shots that he took were pretty much all in the low post area. Jorge played the four. When they were running their sets he was one of the guys playing on the perimeter and took a ton of threes.
Or, maybe that choice by the coaches has more to do with where they need to have bodies in their depth chart. However, that thought is probably mostly a reflection of my skepticism about whether this staff designs its style of play to best suite the roster or has a fixed style of play that they force-fit the players on the roster into.

Personally, based on limited recruiting videos, I see neither of these guys as naturally suited to playing the post. I see them both as forwards.

Perhaps since Guillermo is an inch taller (7-0) and 15 lbs heavier at 205 (per the official site roster) than Jorge at 6-11, 190 that could be the the main reason they are making Guillermo a 5 as opposed to actually having skills better suited than Jorge to play the post.
 
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pittchagg

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Or, maybe that choice by the coaches has more to do with where they need to have bodies in their depth chart. However, that thought is probably mostly a reflection of my skepticism about whether this staff designs its style of play to best suite the roster or has a fixed style of play that they force-fit the players on the roster into.

Personally, based on limited recruiting videos, I see neither of these guys as naturally suited to playing the post. I see them both as forwards.

Perhaps since Guillermo is an inch taller (7-0) and 15 lbs heavier at 205 (per the official site roster) than Jorge at 6-11, 190 that could be the the main reason they are making Guillermo a 5 as opposed to actually having skills better suited than Jorge to play the post.
Guillermo played the 5 almost exclusively for the Spanish national team and at IMG.
 
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Fsgolfdr

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Yeah, shame on those Pitt coaches for turning a guy who has basically been a center in the past into a center here at Pitt.
Most teams don’t have the luxury to play a seven footer anywhere else !

It will be interesting to see how they’re used and what they develop into .

Pitt could become a team that’s very hard to matchup against .
 
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Drew1208

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Most teams don’t have the luxury to play a seven footer anywhere else !

It will be interesting to see how they’re used and what they develop into .

Pitt could become a team that’s very hard to matchup against .
All this talk about offense... I'm more worried about their D anyhow.
Unless Jason Capel ruins all their shots lol
 
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** I start these thoughts today from the end, which was Coach Capel’s comments to close the Open Practice event at the Pete.

** Coach spoke for a just few minutes, saying most of the things one would expect a coach to say. This included how hard the team was working, about how a few players were injured, some notes regarding their practice schedule, and a thought or two about some upcoming games.

** When he concluded, @whirlybird optio said something along the lines of how Capel’s comments were fine, but perhaps somehow it didn’t feel his like his heart was in it. We both agreed that we could certainly understand why.

** Maybe it should be said that even as spectators, our hearts were a little less in this than they might have been just 24 hours earlier. Still, my Son and I enjoyed sitting with Whirly and his family along with @PittMBA, even though we couldn’t help to reminisce about past times when we would enjoy each other’s company at gatherings in Green Tree or at game watches.

** On this occasion, we sat down with our tasty Panera Sandwiches and fine fruit cups, spending the first 10 minutes or so trying to figure out which Diaz brother was which. And as I type this, I still don’t know if we figured it out.

** Since the twins were both on the court shooting before any of the other Panthers, we’ll start there. Whirly said it well, suggesting that one of the reasons fans go to events like this is to walk away very optimistic about players such as the Diaz pair. However, none of us could say such a thing about them this day.

** That isn’t to say they looked disappointing. Both showed nice form shooting the ball and running the court, but they just didn’t instantly jump out as major players.

** But there were a few guys that jumped out a little bit in a more positive way – those being Nike Sibande and Blake Hinson. We were all impressed that at no point during the practice did Nike look like a guy who was coming off of a knee injury. Hinson reminded as a Panther who may have played at Pitt a decade or so ago. He looks thick and strong (think Jamel Artis – but a little taller and without the handle) and hopefully tough.

** Personally, I was a little disappointed with the notion that I almost didn’t notice Nelly Cummings. Of course, It was just a practice, and it was mostly just drills so I can’t really say what I should have noticed.

** And in fairness, we didn’t really “notice” Jamarius Burton today either, and we already know what he brings to the court.

** One player our group did notice was Nate Santos. In fact, it was stated that he may have stood out more than anyone else during the hour. You can decide if you think this is a good thing or a not so good thing.

** For the first half of the practice, PittMBA noticed that Greg Elliott seemed like he was going through the motions a bit. He even wondered aloud if Greg was injured or perhaps under the weather. But almost seconds after this concern was verbalized, Greg appeared to pick it up nicely, almost in response.

** I talked to @Bethlehemjohn after the event, and he mentioned that he saw the coaches give Greg a little “pep talk,” so many they made an impression.

** I described Fede Federiko as an “Airport All-American” in that he certainly looks good on his way to the game (think Amare Stoudamire). But tall and sleek and muscular doesn’t necessarily mean he can play.

** John Hugley and Will Jeffress walked the sidelines with injuries. John was walking without a brace or crutches, but perhaps a very slight limp. Will was sporting a nifty knee scooter.

** And the course, the guy we would previously have come to see was elsewhere.

** Otherwise, I’ll avoid any additional comment on the situation with Dior. Nevertheless, regardless of anything I watched today, it’s hard for me to see how this Pitt team without Dior is remarkably different than last year’s team.

** All I can say for sure after watching today is that our offense moves the ball well against a defense of two coaches, and our offensive rebounding looks stellar in the same situation. Lastly, Jeff Capel's jump shot now looks poor.

** I’m one to always enjoy events like this despite the Dior downer, so I was still glad to join the 100 or so fans who were to able to go today. But forgive me if my heart wasn’t in it. Hopefully this team will offer some greater reasons to love them as this year progresses.

Well this couldn't have possibly depressed me any more, ha.
 
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Bummer ... this wasn't quite my intention. :(

But I do confess that it's probably reflective of how I felt at that moment (maybe still). The Dior news was certainly a gut punch.

Nothing against you at all. I prefer an objective assessment any day. I just hoped that a few guys would really stick out as overachieving studs.
 

DT_PITT

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Nothing against you at all. I prefer an objective assessment any day. I just hoped that a few guys would really stick out as overachieving studs.

Keep in mind it was just a practice. There weren't really any ways anyone could stick out too much per se.
 

Joe the Panther Fan

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Keep in mind it was just a practice. There weren't really any ways anyone could stick out too much per se.


Especially since they were basically running sets against air. Someone can't knock down some tough shots against good defense if no one is playing defense. You can't see that someone was doing a good job setting screens and rolling to the basket if there wasn't anyone there to actually set a screen on. And so on.
 

FrogmoreZeke

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I dont want to speak for DT or anyone else but,

1) Jeffress is injured
2) Big John got injured in the last week and is currently out who was projected to be a star this year
3) Dior is in some serious trouble and not with the team and probably gone


This has been a reoccurring theme under Jeff Capel in the preseason with unfortunate events. And the snake has bitten once again this offseason with an arrest and 2 injuries. Like I said, I don't want to speak for anyone, but if I was Jeff Capel, I would not be in a good mood either after what the hell just happened in the last week.

With that said and before claiming Jeff has his head buried in the sand, we are getting John back, still have a chance to do some damage this year, and have a great chance to have a really good 2023 class. The preaseason start to this basketball season sucks for everyone, including the coach. But its not how you start, its how you finish, and that wont be determined until March next year.
All very fair points. However, coaches are always preaching to kids how they have to Battle Thru Adversity. And I'm not trying to pile on Capel. I really hope he is able to at least bring this program back to respectability. But how does he expect the players to respond to this stuff if it is affecting him, If that is what is happening. It's all very curious also since he was mentored by coach K who seemed to know exactly how to handle team situations. Just watched the documentary about K coaching the Redeem Team. Interesting behind the scenes look at how he handled that Olympic team.
 

4Mark_Marty

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I don’t think it’s quite accurate to say Nate was lights out. He was more just the guy we all seemed to “notice” perhaps a little more than the others. Regardless, we all kinda figured he probably shot well in practice last year. Hopefully it will translate a little more in games this year.
Yeah. And I'm a great range player in golf.
 

Vader_Storm

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Per Jon Rothstein, Blake Hinson has looked really good at practice today as he was there live. Considering the PF position is by far the biggest question mark (outside 3 point shooting) entering this season, that is good news to hear.

Rothstein also expects Greg Elliot to start at the 3. Considering the dire need of 3 point shooting, obviously Elliot helps fills that role and need.
 
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DT_PITT

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Per Jon Rothstein, Blake Hinson has looked really good at practice today as he was there live. Considering the PF position is by far the biggest question mark (outside 3 point shooting) entering this season, that is good news to hear.

Rothstein also expects Greg Elliot to start at the 3. Considering the dire need of 3 point shooting, obviously Elliot helps fills that role and need.
I’d be really surprised if Nike doesn’t start.
 

DC_Area_Panther

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A starting lineup of (1) Cummings, (2) Burton, (3) Elliot or Sibande, (4) Hinson and (5) Hugley statistically (based on each player's scoring results from last season) looks about the same in points scored per game as a group as Pitt's starting 5 from last season---a team that with the minimal contribution off the bench only averaged 61.5 total points per game.

This, IMHO, suggests that Federiko and the Diaz-Graham twins combined may need to collectively contribute enough points off the bench to, at a minimum, make up for last year's team giving up 6.6 points per game more than the 61.5/game scored by Pitt last season---if this year's team is to show any real improvement in W-L record.
 
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Fsgolfdr

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Per Jon Rothstein, Blake Hinson has looked really good at practice today as he was there live. Considering the PF position is by far the biggest question mark (outside 3 point shooting) entering this season, that is good news to hear.

Rothstein also expects Greg Elliot to start at the 3. Considering the dire need of 3 point shooting, obviously Elliot helps fills that role and need.
Hinson stood out to me , but Elliot appeared to be struggling physically .
 

pittchagg

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Hinson stood out to me , but Elliot appeared to be struggling physically .
I don’t think Elliott is ever really going to be a guy who blows you away physically. But he’s made a ton of shots over his career at a high major

I think Hinson’s the lead candidate for the annual Jeff Capel “why the hell didn’t everyone else want him?” Award.
 
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DT_PITT

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I don’t think Elliott is ever really going to be a guy who blows you away physically. But he’s made a ton of shots over his career at a high major

I think Hinson’s the lead candidate for the annual Jeff Capel “why the hell didn’t everyone else want him?” Award.
Please don’t take this as an argumentative post against your point, but I wouldn’t describe Elliott as a player who has made a ton of shots. I see him as someone who has been a career first or second off the bench guy who has hit a solid percentage from three. In other words, he can help but he will have to prove to me he can move the needle. And prove me wrong I hope he does.

As for Hinson, I do think he’s more legit but your comment about why didn’t anyone else want him unfortunately rings a little more true than i would like.

I wish I could be more positive as I do wish I saw more reasons to think this team could be better than something like 12th in the ACC this year.
 
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pittchagg

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Please don’t take this as an argumentative post against your point, but I wouldn’t describe Elliott as a player who has made a ton of shots. I see him as someone who has been a career first or second off the bench guy who has hit a solid percentage from three. In other words, he can help but he will have to prove to me he can move the needle. And prove me wrong I hope he does.

As for Hinson, I do think he’s more legit but your comment about why didn’t anyone else want him unfortunately rings a little more true than i would like.

I wish I could be more positive as I do wish I saw more reasons to think this team could be better than something like 12th in the ACC this year.
I don’t disagree at all - that’s the role I’ve seen him in. He’s been effective as a 15 mpg bench guy for high major tournament teams, though, and that’s what I hoped he’d be here. Now that Dior’s gone, I’m not sure if Elliott will be as effective if he’s pushed closer to 20+ minutes.

And with Hinson, it just feels like Capel’s roster always has a guy who plays really well out of nowhere and makes you think how the heck he ended up here. Gueye last year, you could argue Champagnie the two before. I think Hinson’s going to be that guy.

I agree with you though about Nelly, Burton, and Sibande being the starting backcourt that gives us the best shot.
 
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I don’t disagree at all - that’s the role I’ve seen him in. He’s been effective as a 15 mpg bench guy for high major tournament teams, though, and that’s what I hoped he’d be here. Now that Dior’s gone, I’m not sure if Elliott will be as effective if he’s pushed closer to 20+ minutes.

And with Hinson, it just feels like Capel’s roster always has a guy who plays really well out of nowhere and makes you think how the heck he ended up here. Gueye last year, you could argue Champagnie the two before. I think Hinson’s going to be that guy.

I agree with you though about Nelly, Burton, and Sibande being the starting backcourt that gives us the best shot.
I can see this as a possibility of starters:

Cummings
Sibande
Burton
Hinson
Hugley
 

pittchagg

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I can see this as a possibility of starters:

Cummings
Sibande
Burton
Hinson
Hugley
That’s my preference, too, but it certainly sounds like Rothstein didn’t create that starting five with Elliott out of thin air.

I feel like this will probably be the starting five by conference play, though. I don’t think it’s a bad one, either.
 
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joeydavid

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Per Jon Rothstein, Blake Hinson has looked really good at practice today as he was there live. Considering the PF position is by far the biggest question mark (outside 3 point shooting) entering this season, that is good news to hear.

Rothstein also expects Greg Elliot to start at the 3. Considering the dire need of 3 point shooting, obviously Elliot helps fills that role and need.

Elliot might be the most important add for this season.
 

joeydavid

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What makes you say this?

Would you really care as an opposing coach if Nike, JB or Nelly were taking volume 3s opposite of John? They will be better than last seasons guards but I'm not taking a double team off of John for them.

Elliott's ability to shoot is why I think he's going to be important this year. (The twins could help here as well if they are ready for regular minutes.)

One of twins (Jorge) in the deep corner and Elliot on the wing should open up the lane for Nelly, Nike and JB, give more John space or open 3s for the good shooters.
 

DT_PITT

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Would you really care as an opposing coach if Nike, JB or Nelly were taking volume 3s opposite of John? They will be better than last seasons guards but I'm not taking a double team off of John for them.

Elliott's ability to shoot is why I think he's going to be important this year. (The twins could help here as well if they are ready for regular minutes.)

One of twins (Jorge) in the deep corner and Elliot on the wing should open up the lane for Nelly, Nike and JB, give more John space or open 3s for the good shooters.
Hope you are onto something.