2008 Pittsburgh Panthers Basketball Preview
After finishing in seventh-place in the Big East last season, the Pittsburgh Panthers (27-10 overall, 10-8 NCAA) went to the NCAA Tournament where they beat Oral Roberts 82-63 in round one and then were defeated by Michigan State 65-54 in round two. This year the Panthers, who are coached by Jamie Dixon, look to move up in the conference and go deep in the tournament.
Senior forward Sam Young (32.1 MPG, 18.1 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.2 APG, 50.3 FG%, 69.0 FT%) has been working overtime in the off-season to develop a pull-up jump shot and an accurate shot from downtown. Last season, he was All-Big East and the MVP in the conference tournament. This season, he could be even more potent. Sophomore DeJuan Blair (26.0 MPG, 11.6 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 0.9 APG, 53.7 FG%, 62.4 FT%) offers power and quickness. As a freshman last season, he was impressive at times. Swingman Gilbert Brown (22.0 MPG, 6.5 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 1.5 APG, 46.7 FG%, 75.0 FT%), a sophomore, is just one of three players upfront who will make important contributions.
Senior guard Levance Fields (30.9 MPG, 11.9 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 5.3 APG, 38.0 FG%, 71.2 FT%) is a team leader and tough as nails player. The point guard plays well in the clutch, has quick moves and possesses a fine basketball mind. The rest of the backcourt is young and being refined. Sophomore Brad Wanamaker (11.0 MPG, 2.2 PPG, 1.2 RPG, 1.4 APG, 32.9 FG%, 48.4 FT%) and junior college transfer Jermaine Dixon, rated as one of the top 10 JUCO players in the nation, will see plenty of work. Freshmen Ashton Gibbs and Travon Woodall have excellent three-point chops.
In five seasons, coach Jamie Dixon has guided the Panthers to five
NCAA tourney appearances, including two Sweet 16 showings. This
Pittsburgh team has talent, experience and depth. They will finish
either third or fourth in the conference and could go deep into
the tournament. The Elite Eight is certainly within their reach
and the Final Four is not out of the question.