Pitt Panther Stock Report
Right now Pittsburgh’s rotation includes five returning players. The void left by academically-ineligible Gilbert Brown and injured Jermaine Dixon, the returning minute’s leaders, forced heavy minutes upon 2nd year players Ashton Gibbs and Travon Woodall. Woodall (28.8 mpg) and Gibbs (34.1 mpg) get plenty of action every night.
If early play is at all indicative of the Panther’s scoring options, Gibbs will lead the team in scoring. Perhaps Dixon usurps Gibbs in the New Year. For now critical possessions conclude with either Woodall or Gibbs attempting a shot. That is quite a change from a year ago when the guards combined for 6.0 ppg.
Now the tandem plays as much as possible.
Let’s take a look at Pitt’s first Stock Report of the year.
Because first year players enter as question marks, their first fluctuation will be documented next week. All ratings are based on a 1-10 scale, indicative of where the player resides amongst current Big East players.
For frame of reference, Scottie Reynolds of Villanova is a 10. Kyle Kuric of Louisville, Seton Hall’s Jordan Theodore, and Jonathan Mandeldove of UConn represent a 1 on the same scale.
Travon Woodall: An interesting player, Woodall entered the season as a below average Big East point guard. Partially, but not wholly, because of an injury he played below expectations a year ago prior to redshirting. At this point, nearly one month into 2009-2010 Woodall ranks amongst the ten best at his position in the tough conference.
Point guards who still overmatch him include (in no particular order) Scottie Reynolds, Corey Fisher, Eugene Harvey, Sharaud Curry, Tory Jackson, Edgar Sosa, Peyton Siva, Chris Wright, and Kemba Walker. Mike Rosario might be considered a point guard by some, but generally plays off guard.
Woodall is an expert decision maker, clearly calculating with the ball in his hands. Whether it be amidst a fast break or settled in a halfcourt set, TW makes wise choices.
The Wichita State game revealed the kind of all-around impact player Woodall can be in time. Woodall put up career highs in points with 19, rebounds (6), steals (4), and seven free throws.
As far as weaknesses go, Travon needs either better shot selection or simply few shot attempts. Field goal, three point, and free throw percentages are all nasty low for the redshirt freshman. Coach Jamie Dixon would prefer to have more scorers, but Woodall needs to score for this wide-eyed unit.
As the team around him grows and roles are defined, Woodall will be able to comfortably assume the function of a pass first point guard.
Preseason Rating: 5. Current Rating: 6.
Trend: Stock slightly up.
Brad Wannamaker: For a player that entered the program with the adorably youthful name of Bradley, Wannamaker really matured in the last month.
Aside from a two game funk in late Novemnber Wannamaker consistently provides Pitt with a much needed second scoring option. The team would love to get a few more BW3’s to fall. His percentage from behind the arc is way down hinting at 30%.
Where he is most dangerous is the open floor as Wannamaker attacks the tin like a wing with the handle of a point guard. His defensive contributions rarely show up in the stat sheet, but undoubtedly warm Coach Jamie Dixon’s heart.
Preseason Rating: 6. Current Rating: 6.
Ashton Gibbs: Along with Wannamaker, Gibbs was the only known quantity able to begin the season. He showed composure and shooting touch during the freshman campaign. With 52 points per game leaving campus in the off-season, Gibbs knew more shots were coming his way.
Even the most offensive-minded player could not have foreseen the green light Gibbs now sees. It’s the greenest shade of green. Like shamrock green.
Gibbs takes 27% of the team’s shots. Consequently his shooting percentages are way down. Gibbs is a great scorer. Anywhere on the floor exists as a potential kill zone for the fluid shooter. The quick triggered set shot release can come at any time, anywhere.
The team just needs more weapons. Gibbs’ gun works best alongside a firing squad.
Preseason Rating: 6.5. Current Rating: 8.
Trend: Stock rising.
Gary McGhee: Prior to the New Hampshire debacle McGhee ran off four straight games of double figure scoring. Pretty impressive when you consider Gary entered this his junior season with 69 career points scored.
When DeJuan Blair left early, alongside seniors Tyrell Biggs and Sam Young, Pitt was left with a lane-sized hole in the middle. McGhee is the only returner taller than 6-6. That is a severe problem in the conference that gave the world Patrick Ewing, Emeka Okafor, Jason Lawson, Hasheem Thabeet, etc.
Seven returning scholarship players are joined by six newcomers. The heaviest player on the team is McGhee. The next five heaviest players are wearing a Pitt uniform for the first time in 2009-2010. In other words Coach Jamie Dixon brought in five bulky forwards to replace three bulky forwards.
Last year McGhee had only one visible asset. He was big. Still big, McGhee finally increased his mobility. Previously as an agile as a tree trunk, the stiff, heavy-footed Gary at least sways from the lane’s side to side, like the limbs of a tree.
Preseason Rating: 2. Current Rating: 5.
Trend: Stock dramatically rising.
Nasir Robinson: Robinson rebounds as tenaciously now as he did last year. With quick leaping ability Nasir snatches down errant shots he has no business reaching.
Thus far Robinson brings little else to the table. Hustle, effort, and the other intangibles help to be sure. The fact that Pitt counts on Nas for nearly 15% of their scoring is troublesome. On a good team Robinson should be a 4 ppg, 8 rpg player.
The Panthers are still struggling to find interior scoring to replace Blair, Biggs, and Young. The 6’5” Robinson generally only finds his shot off rebound putbacks. Thrice thus far he managed double figures, the most impressive being 11 points at Duquesne.
The undersized, battling power forward notched his first career double-double November 28th against Youngstown State. This season Robinson should aim for 10+ rebounds every night. The stat will be very difficult to attain, but occasionally possible.
Eventually Dante Taylor should be the starting power forward on this team. He has more talent and offensive capabilities than Nas. Whether he starts or comes off the bench Nas will always give the most effort of any Panther.
Preseason Rating: 5. Current Rating: 5.
Trend: Stock steady.
First year players will be given their first Stock Report next time. Expect Jermaine Dixon to be back and evaluated by then, as well.