Jermaine Dixon Ready For Next Step

Junior Jermaine Dixon missed all three of his 3-point attempts in Pitt's opening men's basketball game against Fairleigh Dickinson Friday night, but it's a good bet that's not a harbinger of things to come for the junior-college transfer.

Pittsburgh recruited the left-hander for his sharp-shooting skills, and Jermaine Dixon certainly has them. But the Panthers got so much more from him so far. Dixon made his other three shots, all from around the basket, by finishing fast-breaks and driving to the hoop.

Dixon also contributed four assists, two rebounds and a steal with just one turnover in 26 minutes in his first Division I-A start as Pitt's two guard.

"I think I played pretty well, but I missed some open shots that Levance got me,'' Dixon said. "I think I still played pretty well for my first game.

"I played pretty good defense and made some good passes, and I was able to get some open shots. So, at least that was all right. I just have to knock them down when I get them. That was the only thing missing here.''

Pitt coach Jamie Dixon believed that Jermaine Dixon was more able to handle the transition to playing basketball at this level because he played for Tallahassee Junior College in the physical Florida Panhandle League. And the head coach gave him a solid grade for his performance.

"Jermaine did some good things, but we're still working some things out with the new guys,'' Coach Dixon said. "We want to find out who's going to turn it up when the lights come on, and who's going to be our best defender. So, we have a lot of work to do defensively.

"They made some shots, but we've got to do some things better. And we have to get Gilbert Brown out there, too. He's a good shooter, not like Ronald (Ramon), but he's good around the basket. And he's getting a lot of assists. So, he's proven that he can do that.''

Just a couple days before his first D-I start, Jermaine Dixon was extremely excited about it. That might have led to his over-exuberance during the game on his outside shots.

"For me, the transition from junior college to here isn't that much of a step, because I played in a pretty tough conference,'' Dixon said. "I had some up and down times, but we played a physical game that I believe will get me ready for the Big East. A lot of players from there went D-1, so it's a good preparation.''

And a good bet that Jermaine Dixon will find his outside shot soon.

Notes: Pitt's next game is against Miami (Ohio) Monday night at 7 at the Petersen Events Center. ... Redshirt sophomore guard Gilbert Brown (stress fracture) is not expected to play. ... Freshman forward Dwight Miller (bruised heel) did not play in the opener, either, and likely will be redshirted.

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