Pitt recruit Adams opens eyes in Summer League
Pitt five-star recruit Steven Adams was surprised to see fans standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the tiny gym at Greentree Sportsplex.
“For real, people standing up?” he said. “What the hell? It shows you how committed they are.”
Adams should get used to the attention. The 6-foot-11, 248-pound center from New Zealand made his debut in the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Pro-Am Summer League on Monday night, in front of a standing-room-only crowd that included Pitt coach Jamie Dixon and several hundred fans crammed onto the three-row aluminum bleachers and encircling three-quarters of the gym.
Adams, the incoming star for a Panthers program coming off its worst season in more than a decade, had 18 rebounds, six points and three assists for PGT Trucking, which won, 78-63, over Steel City Tickets, a squad with Pitt teammates Dante Taylor and Durand Johnson.
“I just made sure I do all the little things to make sure we win,” Adams said in his thick accent. “I tried not to force anything.”
Adams, a consensus top-10 national recruit, arrived on campus three weeks ago — long enough to find his favorite Oakland eateries — but this was the first time he competed in an officiated game. Playing against mainly West Virginia 6-11 center Pat Forsythe and Taylor, Adams went 2 for 8 from the field and 2 for 4 from the foul line. But in between, he showed some of the skills that have him ranked as the No. 6 overall pick in the 2013 mock draft, according to NBADraft.net.
“I definitely see a bright future for him,” Taylor said. “He has a knack for rebounding, just certain things that you can't teach a player.”
Adams, who played prep ball last season at Notre Dame (Mass.) Prep, remains his toughest critic.
“Me, personally, I don't think I'm doing too well,” he said. “(Taylor and junior forward/center Talib Zanna) know a lot of technical things that I still have to learn. I'm still kind of raw.
“I just want to make sure I bring a positive kind of energy just so other teammates can feed off it. I'm not looking to do anything extra. I just want to do what Jamie Dixon says and what the team wants me to do. I just want to win, really.”
Said Dixon: ”He's a good kid and he plays hard. He will get better because of those two things.”
Adams joins 6-9 Taylor, 6-9 Zanna and 6-11 sophomore Malcolm Gilbert as Pitt's big men this season. Taylor, told he will play some power forward, said like every player on the Pitt roster, Adams will have to earn his playing time.
“I know I'm going to have to bring it every day at practice,” Taylor said. “It's not going to be easy, and I'm not going to make it easy on him. He's going to have to work for it, and that's going to help our team.”
John Grupp is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7930.
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.