Pitt freshman center recruit Steven Adams didn’t wow the standing-room only crowd that gathered inside the Greentree Sportsplex Monday night, but his steady and unselfish play provided a glimpse of the type of player he will be in the fall for the Panthers.
Adams had 6 points, 18 rebounds and 3 assists to help his team win, 78-63, on the opening night of the 2012 Pittsburgh Basketball Club Pro-Am.
Adams scored all six of his points in the first half and looked comfortable playing against West Virginia center Pat Forsythe. He was now shy about banging bodies, but at the same time showed some finesse in his game by tipping balls to himself for offensive rebounds.
His first bucket was a tip-in in the first minute of the game. He also scored another hoop after grabbing an offensive rebound. He could have easily been in double figures if he had taken the ball strong to the hoop on other occasions after getting offensive boards. On more than occasion, he faded away and took a shot falling away from the basket rather than trying to draw contact.
A scoring mentality in the post will come when he gains more confidence. The other facets of his game that made him a top-10 recruit nationally were on display at various times. He displayed good court vision, played unselfishly – perhaps too unselfishly at times – and exhibited nice passing ability.
Talib Zanna watched Adams play Monday night and has been around him for the past month since he arrived on campus.
“He’s a nice person to be around,” Zanna said. “He’s working hard. We need someone of his size in the middle. He’s coming along with everything. He’s doing well.
“He really has long arms. He’s playing hard. We need him for rebounds and finishes. He just has to keep grinding and he’ll be fine.”
Adams spoke highly of Zanna and said Pitt’s 6-foot-9 junior is helping to show him the ropes. Adams said he feels like he’s behind Zanna and the other Pitt veterans because they have all of the fundamentals down pat. He said he relied on raw talent before coming to Pitt, and he has to catch up to those guys skills-wise.
The Adams debut overshadowed an outstanding game from his teammate Lamar Patterson, who was terrific all around and scored 25 points. Patterson knocked down outside shots and got to the hoop at will, often at the expense of Pitt redshirt freshman Durand Johnson, who was charged with the task of guarding him for much of the game.
Adams likes playing with Patterson.
“If there’s five seconds to go, just give him the ball,” Adams said. “He’ll pull some crazy thing out and make it. You can always rely on him to do that.”
Trey Zeigler also plays with Adams and Patterson on PGT Trucking. Zeigler scored five points, and while it was not his best performance, he did show an ability to get in the lane. I’ll be interested to see Zeigler play again this summer.
While Durand Johnson struggled to defend Patterson, he did play well offensively. He scored 14 points. Dante Taylor also scored 14 points, but he was rarely matched against Adams in the post.
I’ll be at the games Wednesday night. For those who follow me on Twitter I apologize for the lack of tweets during the games, but cell phone reception is subpar at the Sportsplex.
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