The Pittsburgh Basketball Club Pro-Am Summer League returned to the Greentree Sportsplex, in hopes of providing another exciting summer of basketball. It sure looked like there was a need for it, based on the standing-room only crowd.
PGT 78, SteelCityTickets.com 63
The first game featured the marquee matchup of the night between PGT Trucking and Steel City Tickets.com. The early arriving crowd was eager to see the highly anticipated debuts of incoming transfer Trey Ziegler and incoming freshman Steven Adams. Both are teammates for PGT. PGT got out to a 4-0 lead behind returning Pitt starter Lamar Patterson. As the game progressed both teams picked up the intensity and started playing much more efficiently.
As play picked up, so did the production from the five-star recruit, Adams, who impacted the game with his length and athleticism around the basket. Adams finished with 6 points and 18 rebounds was guarded for much of the game by teammate Dante Taylor. Taylor, after a slow beginning to the game, finished with 14 points and 7 rebounds. After seeing Adams and Taylor being matched up against one another, it provided an interesting glimpse for the Pitt fans on hand who hope to see them play along side each other this season.
Another key contributor who helped PGT take a 39-25 lead into half time was rising Robert Morris sophomore guard Lucky Jones. Jones consistently beat his defender off the dribble and dazzled the crowd with his penetration to the basket. Jones finished with 13 points.
As the second half got underway, the intensity instantly picked up. It started with a dunk by redshirt freshman Durand Johnson, who tried his best to keep his Steel City team in the game. Johnson finished with 14 points, and was often matched up with Pitt teammate Lamar Patterson; with Patterson coming away with the upper hand. Patterson hit three three's early in the second half to give his PGT team a quick 16-8 run. The second half featured much of the same from Adams dominating inside. PGT also received contributions from former IUP standout Darryl Webb, who added 14 points and 7 rebounds.
GNC 84, South Hills Audi 82 OT
Game TWO of the evening featured a South Hills Audi club loaded with former Pitt players and graduates of other local programs. They went up against GNC, which did not feature any current or former Pitt players. However, it was GNC prevailing in overtime.
After a slow start, it wasn't long before one of the star's of last years Pro-Am--Youngstown State guard Kendrick Perry--reminded the crowd of what he is capable, specifically with his dunks. Not to be outdone was former Perry standout and incoming transfer for Robert Morris, Vaughn Morgan. Morgan contributed 16 points for his GNC team. Despite all that, however it was the off the backboard pass from Duquesne freshman guard Derrick Colter to Morgan for the monster dunk that really fired up the crowd.
The first half concluded with the South Hills club fighting back to end the first half tied at 38-38. South Hills Audi received stellar performances former Pitt guard Keith Benjamin, 20 points, and former Pitt forward John DeGroat who finished with a respectable 21 points and 8 rebounds.
This game also featured a great matchup inside between current Duquesne and former Radford center Martins Abele going against former Gannon standout and current member of the Erie Bayhawks, Kyle Goldcamp. Abele played well considering he had to sit out last year for the Dukes, finishing with 8 points and 5 rebounds. Goldcamp who also had a terrific dunk, finishing the game with 5 points and 15 rebounds.
This was by far the closest game of the evening giving the crowd the first overtime game of the summer. After an 82-82 at the end of regulation GNC took the lead in the extra frame and held on for the 84-82 win.
Oliverio's Peppers 69 UPMC 64
The finale of the night featured an Oliverio's Peppers team that featured former Beaver Falls standout Lance Jeter. Jeter played alongside former Gateway Gator Mike Kromka and former West Mifflin Titan and current West Liberty player CJ Hester. The opponent, UPMC, featured current Pitt players Malcolm Gibbert and Cameron Wright.
Both teams struggled to find their rhythm throughout the game. Wright served as his team's main contributor on the offensive end of the floor. Wright was aggressive on offense, and was trying to find ways to create plays for his teammates. Wright contributed 12 points, and led his team to a 42-26 halftime lead.
Defensively, the combination of Pitt center Malcolm Gilbert and Duquesne big man Andre Marhold made it hard for Oliverio's Peppers to get any easy baskets inside. Gilbert led the evening--unofficially--with six blocks. He also served as an intimidator inside for the entire game. Pitt is hoping Gilbert can continue to improve his offensive skill so that he can provide a quality option inside this year.
Overall it was a great start to the 2012 Pro-Am however there are many questions that remain, that will be fun to watch for this summer. Ziegler is coming to Pitt in the midst of high expectations. Will we see more scoring from him?. Is Adams the answer inside? While Adams flashed glimpses of his first round pick potential with his game changing effort around the basket, what kind of offensive expectations are realistic? Hopefully, as the summer progresses we see improvement on his hook shots inside that he had trouble finishing this evening.
Lastly, what is the long-term health of key contributors J.J. Moore and Travon Woodall? Moore was in a walking boot this evening and from what I gathered will remain in it for the near future and hopefully resume all workouts this fall. How much Woodall will we see? Pitt wants him to be the starting point guard and play high quality basketball for them next season. Despite battling nagging injuries this past season, we saw glimpses of what he is capable of.
GNC 1-0, 84, 82
PGT 1-0, 78, 63
Oliverio's Peppers 1-0, 69, 64
UPMC 0-1, 64, 69
South Hills Audi 0-1, 82, 84
SteelCityTickets.com, 0-1, 63, 78,