Ray Fittipaldo: The Post-Gazette did speak to him about the Howland/UCLA situation. I did not, but we'll have a story coming out soon. I think it's scheduled for tomorrow.
Todd Graham: Am I crazy or was this the second straight year nick rivers was honored on senior night?
Ray Fittipaldo: Yes, it was. He is in graduate school. He went through the senior day ceremony last year because he wasn't sure if he was going to come back to play. He did not go through the ceremony this year, but Jamie made sure he got him in the game with less than a minute left last night.
one eyed mike: If you had to describe pitt's season with an 80's or 90's rock song what would it be, at this point i'd say living on a prayer
Ray Fittipaldo: Good call. Certainly not Paradise City by G 'n R. Or The Best of Times by my all-time favorite band -- Styx.
chicago_pitt_fan: do you have anything untoward about howland's handling of assistant coaches and relationship with players?
Ray Fittipaldo: No, I don't. I started covering the team on a full-time basis in 2003, Jamie's first season. I was a round the team a little bit in Howland's last two seasons, but not every day.
Fast Times: what's been the difference with taylor and moore these past few games
Ray Fittipaldo: Taylor is simply dunking and making layups. He could have been a very productive player if he had done that all season. Moore is kind of a mystery to me. Part of me thinks he might have helped out a bunch in December and January when this team was struggling and he was playing 10 minutes a game. Another part of me says the light goes on at different times for different players, and the light went on for Moore a few weeks ago. Whatever it is, I feel a whole lot better about the future of this program with him playing a key role, which I think he will next season.
Matt: Any idea who we will start the Big East tournament against and when? Any predictions on how many games we can win?
Ray Fittipaldo: Looking like a 2 p.m. game Tuesday against either St. John's or Rutgers if Nova loses tonight. If Nova wins we won't know until Saturday. If Nova wins its last two and Pitt loses at UConn, the Panthers will be in the 9p.m. game Tuesday.
steigerdogs: I saw pitt got a sg recruit a few days ago, what's your take on him. I also heard their still recruiting for this year and if so do you think they would make someone leave,and who do you think it might be
Ray Fittipaldo: I never heard of him until Pitt extended the offer last week or two weeks ago.He's not highly ranked by the scouting services. I guess he's a late bloomer. I know it makes Dixon's roster very guard heavy next season so I'm thinking someone is going to transfer out.
chicago_pitt_fan: do you know if .500 qualifies for nit? or do we need one more win to gurantee nit?
Ray Fittipaldo: There are not qualifications for the NIT, although since the NCAA took over the even a few years back a losing team has not taken part. I think some .500 teams have played in it. I think Pitt's OK for the NIT now that it won the St. John's game.
Matt: Considering that Dixon has "signed" another guard for the 2012 class, what does that say about the power forward position? Would he consider moving Patterson there with Moore at the small forward? Also, does this mean that Epps is gone?
Ray Fittipaldo: Hate to speculate on Epps, but he is the likely candidate to go. I wrote a story last week that stated Jamie is not worried about getting JJ and Lamar on the court at the same time. That could mean more LP at power forward or shooting guard or JJ at shooting guard. LP could solve the problem at power forward next season although I'm not a huge fan of playing that small all the time. Could be OK if LOP plays 20 minutes at power forward and Zanna the other 20.
Dude Abides: I have seen video of Steven Adams, but I don't know much about James Robinson. What are his main assets and how good do you think he will be and how fast?
Ray Fittipaldo: I think he'll come in and learn behind Woodall, play 10-15 minutes a game. If he's really good he could push Woodall, who has not played up to Dixon's standard lately with all the turnovers. He is a point guard who thinks about distributing first and creating for himself second.
steigerdogs: I think pitt has a chance to win at uconn, they have the same record over the last 15 or so games what do you think
Ray Fittipaldo: Sure, it's possible. UConn has lost 9 of 12 I think so the Huskies aren't exactly hitting March in stride. But it is at Gampell Pavilion, which is a very tough place to play. I think the last time Pitt played there it was 2004, and Checy Troutman had a huge game and carried the Panthers to a win. I might be missing another game there, but I know the past few have been in Hartford at the XL Center.
Matt: What are the benefits of this team going to the NIT? If they go, can they just sit Gibbs and Nasir and let the young guys earns som pt?
Ray Fittipaldo: Gibbs played great Wednesday night and Nas played hard as always. Not sure why you would want to sit them. They are seniors, and I don't think much is accomplished by throwing them under the bus. A lot of young guys are playing a lot of minutes anyway. Malcolm Gilbert has played almost as much as Zanna the past two games. We're seeing the future to a large extend anyway.
AtillaCosby: Can we please stop referring to Oakland Zoo as one of the great student bodies in all of college sports. Two sections last night. Weak!!! Don't they get their tickets for free???
Ray Fittipaldo: Jamie pointed out after the game that spring break already started so I think that was the reason for the empty seats in the student section. Not making excuses, though. The really good fan bases come to games in good times and bad times, and I can't say Pitt fans have come out this season like they do when the team is winning.
Matt: Is the problem with Woodall that injury or is he justs playing that bad on his own? After those turnovers and THOSE FINAL TWO SHOTs against Louisville, I am starting to wonder if it is a head injury and not his groin?
Ray Fittipaldo: I think the injury is a part of it, but Dixon said the other day that he's not giving the team what it needs. Jamie said he was banged up again last night. I'm sure the soreness is not helping him, but let's face it he was rather loose with the ball in his first three seasons in the program.
Dude Abides: Thanks for the assessment on Robinson. Do you know what type of speed he possesses? I think Pitt needs to get faster.
Ray Fittipaldo: I think he has good speed. It's not always speed though. It's the ability to change direction and get into the lane that the great point guards possess.
steigerdogs: students pay 5 dollars per ticket
chicago_pitt_fan: you think pitt gets off the schneid this year in ny? is 2 wins optimistic/realistic?
Ray Fittipaldo: I don't think Rutgers is a great first opponent. The Scarlet Knights held Pitt to 21 percent shooting and 39 points six weeks ago at the Pete. After the game, Gibbs said Mike Rice, a former Dixon assistant, was calling out the plays before Pitt ran them. St. John's is a better matchup in round 1. If lucky enough to win that game right now USF awaits in round 2. And USF is a bad matchup for Pitt.
GriffinAbel: What could of been........JJ Moore looks like he makes this team go. In my opinion he is the slasher/penetrator that guys like Taylor needs. He draws two guys towards him and leaves Taylor wide open. I think Pitt will be much improved with Moore and Johnson in the starting lineup next year.
Ray Fittipaldo: I agree although I'm not sold on Johnson yet as the starting shooting guard. He has to improve defensively.
jeffk: Next year should be some improvement but TW is still going to be running the show...... Way too many turnovers for Dixon's system...... Van't waste that many trip with nothing to show....
Ray Fittipaldo: To be fair, he has been playing through pain, but I agree he has to cut down on the turnovers big-time in his senior year.
Matt: Any news on the possibiltiy of recruiting a power forward for next year? Any good jucos available?
Ray Fittipaldo: I think they'd like to get one, but most of the good ones were snatched up in the early signing period. Maybe Dixon can find another diamond int he rough a la Ontario Lett.
PerplexedinNYC: Ray why does it seem like our star guards have horrible Senior years shooting-wise. Brandin Knight, Carl Krauser, Levance Fields and now Ashton Gibbs can't seem to hit shots. I don't have the numbers but I do remember Knight and Krauser really struggling their senior year with their shooting percentage.
Ray Fittipaldo: The thign about Fields is he always hit the big shot. Pitt doesn't even get to the Elite Eight if Fields doesn't hit that step-back 3-pointers versus Xavier. I know Krauser had his share of struggles, but I don't think it was anywhere near as bad as the senior year Gibbs has had.
mater: if for whatever reason jamie had to miss an extended period of time, who would be interim head coach
Ray Fittipaldo: Guessing B Knight.
Matt: Dobish and Smizik offered their top five all-time, Big East Pitt players, how about you?
Ray Fittipaldo: Off the top of my head, Charles Smith, Jerome Lane, DeJuan Blair, Sam Young and Brandin Knight. Who am I missing?
chicago_pitt_fan: any inside word on the move to the acc? what do you think the odds that we are playing at nc state instead of st johns?
Ray Fittipaldo: I think Pitt is in the Big East for one more season in football and basketball. I know Steve Pederson made his pitch to get out earlier, but Pitt doesn't appear to have the funds to buy their way out and the ACC isn't about to chip in when they don't need PItt and Syracuse until 2013.
PerplexedinNYC: Ray did you read the article in SI about Ben Howland's approach to discipline at UCLA? Did you see anything like that when he was around?
Ray Fittipaldo: No. I mentioned above that I started covering the team in 2003 after Howland had left for UCLA.
jeffk: This team continues to say the injuries are not an excuse... Well if they are not then stop talking about id, what is your take....
Ray Fittipaldo: I think it's hard not to use them as an excuse when two of your top three players have battled through injuries all season. Robinson said himself he would have thought hard abut a redshirt if he wasn't a senior. Woodall maybe too
Yonco: I really thought Nasir showed a lot of class and character after the Butler game last year when it had to be tough for him, and the team rallied around him pretty nicely too. Plus, he's been through so much agony with the knee this year. Does it surprise you that he hasn't been able to push Ashton and some others to show a little better attitude this season?
Ray Fittipaldo: Nasir and Ashton both lead by example. They are not vocal leaders. When you are not vocal I think your leadership abilities are limited. Low-ley leaders by example are much-needed on any team, but sometimes teams need vocal leaderships, and this team missed that when Woodalll was out with the injury.
Yonco: Chris Dokish seems to love James Robinson, and he mentioned in the past week the possibility of playing him at point with Woodall at 2. I kinda liked the idea. tray is a good shooter, a little bit turnover prone so it wouldn't hurt to lessen the extent of his ball handling responsibilities. Still, could also help against press and zone traps to have an extra "point guard" on the floor, even if he's playing the 2. Plus, they're probably the two best guards on the team next year, so why not play them together instead of burying one on the bench?
Ray Fittipaldo: That's puting an awful lot of pressure on a freshman and asking a senior point guard to step aside for a freshman...Not saying it won't happen, but I'd say the chances are slim unless Robinson is an absolute stud.
chicago_pitt_fan: while we are walking down memory lane.....best shooter in pitt history: rod brookyn, jason mathews, ronald ramon, or gibbs? or someone else, a la fields in the clutch?
Ray Fittipaldo: I guess Matthews because he was consistent for four years. If Gibbs had a different senior year he would have made a strong case.
Bob sacramano: Do you wish you ever got to cover a bob knight type character
Ray Fittipaldo: Good question. Sometimes I guess. With the NCAA tournament coming around the corner we'll get to see that Knight press conference from a few years back when he mocks a reporter for asking if his player's had their game faces on. Classic Knight presser, almost as good as Jim Mora's.
Ray Fittipaldo: OK, thanks for all the great questions this week. Stay tuned for news about the chat next week. I might have to switch it around because of the Big East tournament.
|< Prev||Next >|