Learning Experience

WVU sophomore Kevin Pittsnogle enjoyed his time in Greece at the FIBA Junior World Championships, but he's as mystified as anyone over his lack of playing time during the tournament.

"Eveything went ok," Pittsnogle tolde BlueGoldNews.com after returning from overseas. "The trip was pretty good, and we had a lot of fun."

The sweet-shooting sophomore said that he was able to learn different things from different players on the team.

"I didn't hang out with anyone in particular, we all pretty much stuck together," Pittsnogle said of his teammates. "I tried to watch everyone and learn something from everyone."

Of course, the burning question on everyone's mind as the boxscores came rolling in was 'What's up with the playing time'?

After leading the team in scoring with 12.6 points per game in the Global Games tournament in Dallas that was won by the U. S., Pittsnogle's playing time began to shrink He had four games where he saw only three, four, two and six minutes of action before finally getting off the bench for 19 minutes in a start against Puerto Rico. Not surprisingly, the sharpshooting center led the USA in scoring on 6-10 shooting from the field, including 5-8 from three point range, to help secure fifth place in the tournament.

USA head coach Ernie Kent, evaluating Pittsnogle's performance said that "For a guy to sit on the bench for as long as he sat there and not get major minutes, I think he showed a lot of character and a lot of growth as a player on the trip over here."

While most people might see the evident irony in that statement (after all, it was Kent who sat Pittsnogle on the bench for those stretches), Pittsnogle refused to get upset or take any shots at his coach.

"The playing time just worked out that way. I didn't question the coaches at all, and they didn't talk to us about who was going to get to play. I just played when I had the chance."

That sort of maturity, which is rare in college players, is no doubt one of the qualities that helpd Pittsnogle adjust to the college game so quickly in his freshman season.

On the trip, Pittsnogle lost only about five pounds, retunring to the US at "about 235". With the everyday nature of games during the two tournaments, Pittsnogle also didn't have the chance to lift and run like he would have if he had remained in West Virginia.

"We lifted a little bit in Dallas, but not much once we went overseas," Pittsnogle said. "And it was nothing like what we do here.

"I sort of knew what to expect overseas. I went to a tournament in Germany when I was a senior in high school."

Pittsnogle's immediate plans include another trip, which will be shorter than his previous one, then a return to the rigors of the Mountaineer workout program.

"I'm going to beach for a week, then I'll come back in and get back to work," said Pittsnogle, who has had a busy summer schedule. "I've been working on my strength and my quickness. I know I'm still going to play the five, but I might play some four with D'or in there. Coach hasn't really said much about it yet, but he'd like me to play some four. It depends on how my quickness has improved."

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