The 2014-15 Pitt basketball team will look a lot different from last season. Seniors Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna, both of whom started for the Panthers graduated leaving the team with big shoes to fill.
Patterson and Zanna combined to score 30.1 ppg last season that is 41.8 percent of the Panthers total points per game. It will be difficult to expect anyone to join the starting lineup and make that large of contribution. Returning starters will have to carry some of the weight in order for Pitt to be successful.
Projected starting lineup:
Robinson had a successful sophomore campaign and boasted one of the nation’s best assist to turnover ratio at 4.1. He was unselfish with the ball and helped facilitate much of the Panthers offense. Robinson will be relied upon as one of the leaders of the team and will have to step up his ppg. He averaged only 7.6 ppg and had the worst shooting percentage of any Panther in the 10-man rotation at 40.1 percent. He will need to perform better to fill in for the departed seniors.
Wright will be a senior and will need to provide veteran leadership to a team that is full of underclassman. Wright averaged 10.5 ppg last season and shot 45.6 percent from the field. Expect his numbers to increase as he transitions to one of the top-2 scoring options.
SF-Durand Johnson/Sheldon Jeter
Johnson will be a star for the Panthers. The redshirt sophomore will hopefully be healthy and return to the team during the preseason. He only played in 16 games last season before tearing his ACL, averaging 8.8 ppg. Johnson will be the starting small forward if he is healthy. If he is not healthy Dixon will have to look elsewhere for a temporary fill-in for him. He could look to transfer-sophomore Sheldon Jeter who after playing a year at Vanderbilt sat out last season. Jeter should me more than ready to take on a large role for the Panthers.
Young had a stellar freshman campaign last season, and will build upon that next season. He averaged only six points last season and went through his fair share of growing pains, but proved his worth throughout the season and will be relied upon to contribute more down low. Young showed his ability to score from mid-range throughout the season and could be used to set screens up top and the pop to the elbow for a jump shot.
Doorson will be the Panthers tallest player and only big man taller than 6’9. He is a four-star 6’11 recruit from the Netherlands who should prove to be fairly reliable from the paint. Dixon will need major minutes from him to help balance a lineup of mostly guards and short forwards. There does not seem to be any other option at center next season unless Dixon went with 6’9 Derrick Randall who did not play well for the Panthers last season.