Oct. 11, 2012
QUOTING Jamie Dixon
Pitt Basketball Media Day Press Conference, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012
“We’re getting ready and getting excited for the event. We haven’t had Midnight Madness for awhile. We’re excited about ESPN being a part of it. It’s homecoming this weekend and the Blue and Gold scrimmage is on Sunday with the Maggie Dixon Heart Health Fair.”
On the new NCAA rule that allows teams to workout during the summer;
“I think we were able to get our freshmen James and Steve earlier than most, they got full eight weeks and JJ and Tray were out for five months. It’s a good rule for academic reasons, relationship development, and it required the guys to be here. Summer grades were the best they’ve ever been. Eight weeks with two hours a week is not much basketball but it solidifies the relationships and continues the relationships in the off-season and allows us to have that ongoing contact with them.”
On the team’s health:
“Health wise were good, Tray and JJ. We’ve held JJ out longer than anybody would. We were conservative with those because of our history with broken feet.”
On if Tray Woodall is able to go 100 percent right now?
On how significant is it to have two point guards which you didn’t have last year?
“Sometimes you have guys that can make plays at the point. We think James and John Johns are ready for that. We’ve got three guys were going to count on and work with.”
On if Pitt’s seems like those guys that group you just mentioned first have a pass first mentality. Is that about the most you think you’ve had?
“There’s no question that last year we went in with the goal for Tray to lead the country with assists. We’ve always been one of the best teams in the country with assists and that is what we intend to do here as well.
You’ve had Lamar and James at the same position, basically. Are there ways to get them on the floor together?
“They’ve played a lot together and we’ve played small. We’ll practice it more than the past and it is something you’ll see a lot more for obvious reasons because we’ve some guys move on. I know it’s something that you’ll see.”
Considering that J.J. Moore will see action at the four, what about his upper body strength?
“He couldn’t do any shooting or running so he was in the weight room working hard. He did about as much he could in the situation. He didn’t start playing live until September. That gives you an idea about how long he was out.”
On how Steven Adams will fit in to your frontline?
“He’s got good size and strength. He’s physically more ready than probably any kid we’ve brought in. Conditioning and strength wise he is farther ahead than most guys.”
On how far away from the basketball will you allow Steven Adams to roam?
“He’ll be inside and out but prominently on the inside. He can shoot some jump shots. His passing and ball handling are pretty good.”
On what you expect out of Dante Taylor:
“I expect. He’s been healthy and he’s been out there every day and hasn’t missed a day of lifting or individual workouts. We really want to get the ball inside and he’s a big part of that.”
On the development of Malcolm Gilbert:
“He’s a guy that can really run and he’s a good defender. He’s getting better and developing and showing signs of improvement. I think he’s going to develop into a great player for us and when that occurs he will be a very good player for us.”
Since Trey Zeigler has been around for about six months now, do you have a good feel about how he will fit in?
“No, I don’t. We’ve had a couple hours worth of practice this week. He’s improved his stamina. He’s had some health issues last year and his conditioning has gotten better. But he’s a good passer and playmaker. He gets in the lane and gets fouled and that’s probably his strengths.”
On how you feel about this being your last year in the Big East:
“The Big East has been so good to us and at the same time the ACC opens a lot of doors for the entire Athletic program. What we really want to do is finish this thing off right. We’ve had the best record in the conference for a decade or so and we want to finish with that. We want to maintain that and continue it into ACC play.”
On Steven Adams’ physical maturity and skill set: Is he as good as a freshman you’ve had?
“We’re going to see in practice. He’s got good hands, a soft touch and has played against some older kids at a Notre Dame prep school. He’s got some good tools and the main thing he’s got is that he works. I mean he really wants to be a player. He works out during every opportunity he can to improve himself.”
On Coach Dixon's emphasis of team defense and individual defense. Does this team have the potential to play up to your expectations?
“It does. We have a long way to go and when you talk about defense you need depth. We have good size and also good size on the perimeter. We’re going to have the versatility to play and we have to be the best defensive team in the conference.”
On how you go about building defensive intensity?
“It’s experience, how you play, and who you play. We’ve got size and athleticism.”
On the state of the Big East:
“Three good teams are going to leave. I don’t wish ill-will on the Big East; it’s been our home for 30 years or so and has been good to us. I think they will have success and have a great future ahead of them. I think the ACC will as well. We’re excited about this year being a part of the Big East. We want to look back, remember the history of it and be a part of it. We want to finish it the right way and finish out as the team with the best record of the last decade or so.”