Top freshman impresses in Pitt scrimmage
He dropped in a baby hook from the right block the first time he touched the ball. A 3-point attempt from the top of the key later barely rimmed out, but it showed shooting range not generally associated with 7-footers.
He flushed a missed shot in the second half, coming from the opposite block to record a dunk that drew “oohs” from the sparse crowd at Petersen Events Center.
Steven Adams looked as good as advertised in helping the Blue beat the Gold, 65-55, in an intrasquad scrimmage Sunday. The caveats to the sinewy center's showing: Pitt is less than a week into practice, and scrimmages are one thing while Big East games are quite another.
Adams appears to have the polish to give Pitt a scoring threat from the post and to allow the Panthers to play inside out as they try to bounce back from a disappointing 22-17 season.
“The best thing is he's worked so hard, and it's going to come defensively,” coach Jamie Dixon said of the prized freshman from New Zealand. “He has a good feel, good hands and (is) a pretty good passer, too.”
Adams recorded the only double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. He looked comfortable catching the ball in the post and passing it from inside, and he made baskets with each hand while shooting 7 of 11 from the field.
Pitt didn't make Adams available to reporters after the game, but his teammates had plenty to say.
“When he's on the court, the game comes a lot more easy to me and other players because we know we have him to protect us on defense,” freshman guard James Robinson said. “And (on) offense, we can get it in down low, and he's pretty much going to make it every time.”
Robinson also shined Sunday, scoring 15 points and handing out five assists against just one turnover. Redshirt senior forward Talib Zanna made all seven of his shots for the Blue team, scoring a game-high 20 points.
But neither figures to match Adams' impact this season. The 7-foot, 250-pounder surprised even Dixon with how much he has added to his offensive repertoire since playing in the Pittsburgh Pro-Am league this summer.
Adams' defense appears to be lagging behind his offense, which is to be expected of a freshman. And he still has to work on keeping the ball above his head and away from where quick-handed guards can swipe at it.
But there's no denying the player nicknamed the “Kiwi Phenom” possesses a combination that coaches love: the physical maturity and skills to play right away and the upside to improve.
“He's one of the best big men I've played with right now,” junior forward J.J. Moore said. “He just opens up the floor for us. If you throw it in the post, guys are going to come and double him, and that's just going to up the floor more for us.”
Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Fire victim’s ex-boyfriend jumps from Tarentum Bridge
- Steelers rookie says Sam, his former roommate, has changed
- Rossi: Buying trust is a must for Pirates
- Steelers aim to create more turnovers this year with speedier defense
- Two cars strike horse near Fayette fair
- LaBar: Big week for future of WWE & TNA
- Dixon, Pitt men’s basketball team aren’t planning island vacation
- Pitt’s new chancellor Gallagher to continue broad role at school
- Pirates’ attempts to bolster roster at deadline a fruitless endeavor
- Pro runners go extra mile prior to Downtown Pittsburgh event
- QB Grady earns high marks for playoff-bound Power