Mount St. Mary’s, Pitt’s opponent in Friday night’s season opener, might not be all that easy to figure out for the Pitt coaching staff. New head coach, Jamion Christian, a Mount St. Mary’s alumnus, is bringing a drastically different style of play with him after taking over for Robert Burke.
Christian is promising an up-tempo style, which is the exact opposite approach the small NEC school in Emmitsburg, Md. used for much of the recent past.
Christian coached last season at VCU under Shaka Smart, who made a name for himself in 2011 when VCU advanced to the Final Four. Before his stint at VCU, Christian, who is 30, coached at William & Mary, where he helped the Tribe reach the Colonial Athletic Association title game in 2010.
But how does Christian blend his style with players who were recruited by his predecessors? The Mount went 8-21 last season and has a handful of veterans returning, but only one that averaged in double figures – junior guard Julian Norfleet, who averaged 13.7 points per game last season.
The NEC coaches believe Christian will have a tough first season. They chose Mount St. Mary’s to finish ninth in a preseason poll. The last time Mount St. Mary’s visited Pitt, the Panthers won 66-48 in 2009.
I’ll have another post tonight after Pitt’s practice.
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