Pitt freshman center must avoid foul trouble
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Steven Adams made it look so simple from the start.
Pitt's 7-foot freshman center caught a pass from Tray Woodall and dropped a jump-hook into the net, ran down court to swat a shot by Providence point guard Vincent Council, then scored on a three-point play.
Only one minute, 38 seconds into the Big East game at Dunkin' Donuts Center, Adams was showing signs he could be a force at both ends of the floor.
“That's what we recruited him for,” Pitt junior swingman Lamar Patterson said. “He's a big guy, he's real skilled and he works hard.”
Then, Adams picked up two personal fouls in a 24-second span and sat out the remainder of the half.
Adams finished with eight points, three rebounds, an assist and a blocked shot in 18 minutes in Pitt's 68-64 victory over Providence on Tuesday night.
Not a bad game, but given the way it started, Adams appeared to be on pace for a breakthrough performance.
Instead, Pitt was outscored at the center position, as Providence junior Kadeem Batts finished with 17 points and nine rebounds, including eight points in the first 8:23 of the second half while Adams played passive defense and did his best not to draw more personal fouls.
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon didn't hide his displeasure with the nature of Adams' first-half fouls, one of which came on a blocked shot.
“There's a lot of things going on out there,” Dixon said. “You can tell him all the time, but it's part of the game. He's not the first big guy to get in foul trouble.”
Nor will Adams be the last, but what the Panthers need is for their lone true post player to stay on the floor.
Adams has found himself in foul trouble in four of Pitt's seven Big East games, and his playing time continues to decrease as a result.
Where Adams averaged 26.8 minutes through the first four conference games — including the overtime loss to Marquette — he's only played 21.3 minutes the past three. Even so, his scoring has increased from 4.5 to 6.7 points as Adams is refining his post moves while learning how to handle the physical nature of playing in the paint in the Big East.
“The good thing is we went inside to him,” Dixon said. “I thought we went inside early and often and did a good job throughout. There are going to be some (fouls) where you wonder, but you've got to play through it.”
What Adams has to learn is not to commit fouls in rapid succession. He did it in the second half against Cincinnati, drawing two only moments after Bearcats center Cheikh Mbodj went to the bench with foul trouble. Adams also drew three fouls against Marquette and four against Connecticut.
“He's still a freshman, and he's still learning not pick up some of the fouls he picked up that got him out of the game and messes up his flow,” Patterson said. “Once he learns how not to get those tic-tac fouls, Steve's going to be real dominant.”
Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.
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.
- Pitt notebook: Receiving depth up in the air
- Pitt blows 10-point lead as Iowa rallies for win
- Pitt notebook: Boyd has breakout performance in loss