Pitt center Zanna continues to lift his game in senior season
It would be hard to blame center Talib Zanna for feeling confident entering Pitt's first season in the ACC.
The Panthers were moving to a conference in which offense is dominant and rangy, athletic players such as the 6-foot-9 Zanna are encouraged to shoot. Five of the top six scorers in the ACC this week are frontcourt players.
“Play an up-tempo game,” Zanna said during ACC media day in October when asked what the conference change means to him. “ACC is up-and-down. I think the change is good. Probably we'll try new things. It's going to be fun.”
Pitt (17-2, 5-1 ACC) is winning while playing at a slightly faster offensive pace. Taking about one more shot per game, the Panthers have produced a higher scoring average from last season.
The Panthers averaged 74.0 points in their first six ACC games compared to 65.9 points against Big East opponents last season. Overall, Pitt averages 76.0 points compared to 69.2 in 2012-13.
Zanna, meanwhile, has increased his scoring average from 9.6 to 13.4 points to rank second on the team behind fellow senior Lamar Patterson. Zanna leads Pitt in rebounding (7.9), field-goal percentage (61.7) and blocks (17).
In Saturday's rematch at Maryland, Zanna will attempt to build on his Jan. 6 performance at Petersen Events Center when he scored 13 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds in a 79-59 victory.
“He's played really well,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said Thursday. “Offensively he's shown more patience. We've gone inside to him. Teams are really digging down in the post. He was trying to thread it, play in crowds. Since then, he's let it come to him. More balance. It's all coming together.”
Saturday's game has special meaning for Zanna, who attended Bishop McNamara High School in Forestville, Md., about 20 minutes from the Terrapins' campus in College Park.
“Maryland's right up the street from us. It's a homecoming, basically,” said Martin Keithline, who coached Zanna at Bishop McNamara.
With the departure of Steven Adams to the NBA, Zanna advanced his role as a scorer while continuing to be a rebounding and defensive force.
“We've got good passers giving him the ball,” Dixon said. “He can stretch the (defense) and make shots. He's best around the basket, making plays.”
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.
- Emotional send-off awaits Pitt seniors
- Artis leads Pitt to lopsided victory over Cornell
- Bowl destination is at stake for Pitt football in regular-season finale
- Miami’s Scott has improved program since replacing Golden
- Pitt’s Dixon monitoring minutes early in season
- District college notebook: Pair of Pitt wrestlers win titles at Keystone Classic
- Zone defense more common for Dixon, Pitt men’s basketball team
- Pitt notebook: Narduzzi reaches out to Syracuse coach
- Pitt pulls away from Detroit in 2nd half
- Pitt players praise Narduzzi’s coaching style