Pitt guard Zeigler awaits opportunity
Going from leading scorer at Central Michigan to bench player at Pitt hasn't been easy for Trey Zeigler.
The 6-foot-5 junior watched his minutes dwindle as he struggled to find his place with the Panthers.
“It's been an adjustment period, just figuring out what Coach wants me to do,” Zeigler said. “It's a new role for me. I'm just trying to do my best with what they want me to do.”
When Tray Woodall left the Marquette game with a concussion, the Panthers put Zeigler at point guard and he had five points, three rebounds, two assists and no turnovers in 23 minutes in the 74-67 overtime loss.
“Honestly, I wasn't too concerned with him as a point in that situation,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. “He's pretty good with the ball, a very good decision maker and I think he did a good job.”
Zeigler had a scorer's mentality after averaging 16 points over two seasons while playing for his father, Ernie, at Central Michigan.
It didn't help his transition after his transfer that Zeigler was charged with driving under the influence Nov. 25, when he was found passed out behind the wheel of his Hummer. His blood-alcohol level was .129 percent, well above the state's legal limit of 0.08.
“It was a bad decision, obviously,” said Zeigler, who faces a Feb. 5 preliminary hearing. “I'm growing from it. I'm just trying to make better decisions, for myself, my family, as well as the community … knowing what I did and how serious it was.”
Dixon suspended Zeigler for the Howard and Detroit games, but called him a “super kid.”
“I think he's playing better, getting better,” Dixon said, “and that's what we had hoped as the year started.”
When Zeigler struggled to score, his minutes were reduced to 7.7 through the first three Big East games. He showed signs of progress by scoring seven points in eight minutes at Georgetown. Now, Pitt is hoping Zeigler can use his slashing ability to draw defenses and find an open man.
“I think the Big East, it's just being comfortable in our offense, being able to pick my spots and being more aggressive,” Zeigler said. “The last two games, I've been a lot more aggressive and trying to make plays, not only for myself but my teammates.”
The Panthers believe the better Zeigler is, the more dangerous they will be.
“He's poised and he handles whatever situation that's thrown at him,” Woodall said. “He's definitely a guy we're thankful to have. With his development, we're that much more of a threat.”
Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.
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