NEW YORK--Pitt was selected by league coaches to finish sixth at the Big East Conference's annual men's basketball preseason media day held Wednesday at the New York Athletic Club. In addition, Pitt freshman center Steven Adams was picked as the league's preseason Rookie of the Year and senior guard Tray Woodall earned Big East honorable mention honors.
In a vote of the league's 15 coaches, Pitt finished sixth with 132 total points. Louisville was unanimously selected to capture first with 196 points, followed by No. 2 Syracuse (175 points), No. 3 Notre Dame (166), No. 4 Cincinnati (152), No. 5 Georgetown (136) and then Pitt. Louisville's Peyton Siva was named the Big East preseason Player of the Year. Cincinnati's Sean Kilpatrick, Georgetown's Otto Porter, Louisville's Gorgui Deng, Notre Dame's Jack Cooley and Providence's Vincent Council rounded out the All-Big East First Team selections.
Adams became Pitt's third preseason Big East Rookie of the Year selection and first since Vonteego Cummings earned the honor prior to the 1995-96 season. Jerome Lane also earned the honor before the 1985-86 campaign. A seven-foot, 250-pound center from Rotorua, New Zealand, Adams has been in the United States since January. He attended Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass. where he guided the squad to the National Prep School Semifinals. A consensus top-10 recruit, Adams averaged 22 points and 16.8 rebounds in the five-game adidas Nations Tournament held in Los Angeles during the summer of 2011.
Woodall enters his senior season after an injury-filled 2011-12 season. He is 100 percent healthy after off-season surgery to correct a groin/abdominal injury. Last year, Woodall averaged 11.7 points, 6.1 assists and converted 49-of-127 3-pointers in 28 games. He was named the USBWA Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week and Big East Player of the Week after he averaged 26.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in back-to-back wins over West Virginia and Villanova. Woodall begins his last season in a Pitt uniform ranked among program career leaders in assists (10th, 413), double figure assist games (4th, 7), point-assist double-doubles (2nd, 6), and assist:turnover ratio (4th, 2.03). He has also scored 730 career points.
Pitt returns three starters (Woodall, Patterson and Taylor) and seven of its top-nine scorers from the 2011-12 squad.
Pitt has already played its Blue-Gold Scrimmage which took place this past weekend. Pitt's first exhibition game is on Friday, Oct. 26 when it hosts Indiana, Pa. at the Petersen Events Center. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. Pitt will also host Hawaii-Hilo on Friday, Nov. 2 at the Petersen Events Center in its second exhibition contest. The Panthers open regular season play at home against Mount St. Mary's on Friday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m.