G- 00 James Robinson (11.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg)
G- 03 Cameron Wright (8.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg)
G- 12 Chris Jones (9.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg)
F- 02 Michael Young (13.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg)
F- 01 Jamel Artis (9.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg)
Michael Young -- A sophomore, Young has had a breakout year for the Panthers, as he leads the team in scoring and rebounding.
An undersized post player, Young can shoot from mid-range and score around the rim.
Pitt opens ACC play the exact same way it opened its inaugural ACC regular season in 2013-14 with a Saturday game at NC State.
• Pitt enters ACC play riding a six-game win streak, following six consecutive non-con- ference victories.
• Pitt coach Jamie Dixon needs just two more wins to reach 300 career victories. Once achieved, he will rank among the fastest coaches to reach 300 wins in NCAA basketball history (see chart on page 11).
• Pitt opens ACC play on the road. The Panthers put together the ACC’s best road record (7-2) last year and have won nine of their last 14 and 13 of their last 19 road matchups.
• When comparing ACC basketball programs over the last 13 years, Pitt ranks second in the ACC in overall winning percentage (5th nationally, 355-109, .765), league winning percentage (152-70, .685), homecourt winning percentage (.881) and NCAA Tournament appearances (12).
With two of Pitt’s three most experienced players sidelined through its first seven contests in 2014-15 (Cameron Wright, broken foot; Durand Johnson, suspended for year), Pitt’s production has been dominated by sophomores and freshmen and players who will return to the team next year.
Next year, Pitt returns its entire team with the exception of Wright and senior Derrick Randall.
CAMERON WRIGHT RETURNS TO
ACTION; BEGINS SENIOR YEAR
SIDELINED WITH INJURY
Pitt’s returning leading scorer from the 2013-14 team, Cameron Wright made his first start in the 2014-15 season against St. Bonaventure on Dec. 13. He backed that up with 14-point, 34-minute performance in his third game back against Manhattan on Dec. 17, then scored 16 points vs. Oakland on Dec. 20.
He officially returned to game action on Friday, Dec. 5 against Duquesne. Previously, he had missed the season’s first seven games. It was announced in October that Wright would miss 10 weeks due to a broken left foot (fifth metatarsal). With Wright in the lineup, Pitt is now 6-0.
Wright, the 2014 recipient of the Skip Prosser Award which is presented to the ACC’s top scholar-athlete in men’s basketball, is Pitt’s top returning scorer (10.5 ppg. last year) and most experienced return- ing player.
In his five-year career, Wright has seen action in 110 career games, played in 2,147 minutes and started 52 contests. He has reached double figure scoring 27 times in his career and his veteran presence is a key ingredient for this year’s team.
JAMES ROBINSON IS TRUE DISTRIBUTOR; IMPROVED SCORER
AND ALMOST PERFECT FREE
Junior point guard James Robinson continues to amass high assist:turnover numbers. Robinson is in his third season at Pitt with a school-record 3.14 career assist:turnover ratio (330 assists/105 turnovers), which is 0.25 points higher than the previous school record of 2.89 held by Levance Fields (2005-09).
After 13 games, Robinson’s assist:turnover numbers are down a bit because he is trying to score more. Robinson is averaging 11.3 points per game, up from his 7.6 ppg. last year. He has a 2.36 assist:turnover ratio (66 assists and 28 turnovers).
IMPROVED, QUICKER AND LEANER
MICHAEL YOUNG EXPECTED TO
MAKE IMPACT IN 2014-15
Pitt sophomore power forward Michael Young lost 10 pounds over the summer with the sole purpose of becoming quicker and more versatile at his power forward position. He is arguably Pitt’s most improved player this year.
That hard work is paying off as Young leads Pitt with a 13.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game averages. He has already reached 20-plus points in two games, notched two double-doubles and scored in double figures in a team-high 10 contests. After averaging 16.0 points and 9.7 rebounds, Young was named to the EA Sports Maui Invitational all- tournament team.
PITT SPORTS PRODUCTIVE BENCH
In the early going this year, Pitt’s bench has proved to be a valuable commodity. Each player coming off the bench provides Pitt with a diverse array of strengths:
Josh Newkirk, 6-1 • G
Newkirk can play either the point or off-guard and has proved to be one of the quickest and most athletic guards to play at Pitt in recent memory. Newkirk’s also sports a 2.55 assist:turnover ratio.
Ryan Luther, 6-9 • F
Luther surpassed career-highs for points (13), 3-point field goals made (3), field goals (5-7) and minutes (24) in sparking Pitt to a 23-point victory against Kansas State earlier in the year. The all-around talented Luther is a good shooter and is one of Pitt’s best low post defenders.
Cameron Johnson, 6-7 • G
One of Pitt’s best perimeter shooters, Johnson is a long and lean guard who grew five inches prior to his senior year in high school. A long range shooter, Johnson is steady and consistent on offense. He has missed each of the last four games with a left shoulder injury.
Joseph Uchebo, 6-10 • C
Uchebo started Pitt’s first four games of the year and gives Pitt size, re- bounding ability and bulk in the middle. He also has good hands and post moves on offense.
Pittsburgh athletics contributed to this report.