Connect with us
PSN is sponsored by Beaver County Auto

Pittsburgh Sports Now

Pitt Basketball

Analysis: Freshman Contributions Under Howland, Dixon and Stallings

Analysis: Freshman Contributions Under Howland, Dixon and Stallings

The 2017-18 Pitt basketball team is in real danger of going winless in the ACC.

The Panthers squandered one of their best chances on Saturday after spotting Georgia Tech a 22-1 lead. While Pitt briefly made it interesting, crawling back to cut it to single digits, the Yellow Jackets ended up with a 69-54 victory at the Pete.

So, who’s to blame for the current predicament?

Pitt coach Kevin Stallings is an easy target. Pitt fans, who have been used to winning under Jamie Dixon, have made it very clear they’re unhappy with his coaching since taking over in 2016-17. But with the injury to Ryan Luther, the Panthers’ most experienced player, Stallings has been forced to go with lineups featuring four or five freshmen pretty much every game since.

That brings up a very interesting question: since Ben Howland took over in 1999-2000, how much have the Panthers had to rely on contributions from freshmen?

Fortunately for you, we crunched the numbers.

Dating back to Ben Howland’s first year (and not including 2017-18), the Panthers have never had to rely on freshmen for more than 29% of their points. In fact, only one year have freshmen ever accounted for more than 50% of the teams rebound, assist, steal, block or point totals. That year? 2013-14 when 5-star freshman Steven Adams, James Robinson and Durand Johnson accounted for 69 of the Panthers’ 131 blocks (Adams had 65 of the 69 freshman blocks).

So far this year? Freshmen have contributed 51.08% of the total rebounds, 59.66% of the total assists, 50.6% of the total steals, 66.13% of the total blocks and 55.48% of the total points. Those numbers don’t include Kene Chukwuka, who is considered a sophomore—although this is his first NCAA season—and will undoubtedly increase without Ryan Luther who is out for the season.

Marcus Carr (5) against Duke on January 10, 2018 — DAVID HAGUE

Some other interesting numbers. Not including this year, the 2007-08 freshmen contributed the greatest share of rebounds, 37.24%, thanks in large part to Dejuan Blair and Gilbert Brown, the largest share of steals, 40.24%, and the most points, 28.60%. In Ben Howland’s first year, freshmen contributed the greatest share of assists, 37.91%. Not surprisingly that was Brandin Knight’s first season with the team.

Here are the rest of the freshman totals dating back to 1999-2000.

PLAYER NAME (YEAR)GAMESREBOUNDSASSISTSSTEALSBLOCKSPOINTS
Player (1999-00) Howland's First YearGTRBASTSTLBLKPTS
Brandin Knight281061547710239
Donatas Zavackas21932072157
Freshmen Total1991748412396
School Totals281045459215601864
Freshmen Share19.04%37.91%39.07%20%21.24%
Player (2000-01)GTRBASTSTLBLKPTS
Julius Page336135225299
Jaron Brown3378503311158
Toree Morris3071541067
Mark McCarroll150013
Freshmen Total215905927527
School Totals3311714962341232247
Freshmen Share18.36%18.14%25.21%21.95%23.45%
Player (2001-02)GTRBASTSTLBLKPTS
Chevon Troutman29102151912155
Mark McCarroll32561631088
Yuri Demetris1913114029
Freshmen Total171422622272
School Totals3513455902351562530
Freshmen Share12.71%7.12%11.06%14.1%10.75%
Player (2002-03)GTRBASTSTLBLKPTS
Carl Krauser328993340192
Freshmen Total8993340192
School Totals3312035892711342473
Freshmen Share7.4%15.79%12.55%07.76%
Player (2003-04) Dixon's First YearGTRBASTSTLBLKPTS
Chris Taft36270451260392
Aaron Gray152260326
Levon Kendall141272215
Ed Turner831008
Marcus Bowman620100
Charles Small400100
Freshmen Total309591665441
School Totals3613205232151692446
Freshmen Share23.41%11.28%7.44%38.46%18.03%
Player (2004-05)GTRBASTSTLBLKPTS
Ronald Ramon284752240191
Keith Benjamin183397140
Dante Milligan561027
Freshmen Total8662313238
School Totals2911034391891202097
Freshmen Share7.8%14.12%16.4%2.5%11.35%
Player (2005-06)GTRBASTSTLBLKPTS
Sam Young33144282220261
Levance Fields336873261224
Tyrell Biggs313543856
Freshmen Total2471055129541
School Totals3312815412031282391
Freshmen Share19.28%19.41%25.12%22.66%22.63%
Player (2006-07)GTRBASTSTLBLKPTS
Geoff Rizk1101103
Gilbert Brown321002
Freshmen Total22105
School Totals3713206471941332637
Freshmen Share0.15%0.31%0.52%0%0.19%
Player (2007-08)GTRBASTSTLBLKPTS
DeJuan Blair37337356241429
Gilbert Brown37113572510242
Brad Wanamaker30364312366
Gary McGhee213031331
Tim Frye10210011
Austin Wallace430102
Freshmen Total52113910157781
School Totals3713995782511252731
Freshmen Share37.24%
24.05%
40.24%
45.60%
28.60%
Player (2008-09)GTRBASTSTLBLKPTS
Ashton Gibbs35243051152
Nasir Robinson2935167434
Travon Woodall1010176017
Sean Brown400000
Freshmen Total6963185203
School Totals3614336332461392787
Freshmen Share4.82%
9.95%
7.32%
3.60%
7.28%
Player (2009-10)GTRBASTSTLBLKPTS
Travon Woodall3477108197169
Dante Taylor3412741520139
J.J. Richardson222112117
Dwight Miller161822410
Talib Zanna100000
Freshmen Total2431153832335
School Totals3412695361771392336
Freshmen Share19.15%
21.46%
21.47%
23.02%
14.34%
Player (2010-11)GTRBASTSTLBLKPTS
Talib Zanna2793579100
J.J. Moore2329107086
Aron Phillips-Nwankwo1031001
Freshmen Total12516149187
School Totals3413595951601112514
Freshmen Share9.20%
2.69%
8.75%
8.11%
7.44%
Player (2011-12)GTRBASTSTLBLKPTS
John Johnson392546120164
Cameron Wright37582515583
Khem Birch1050021944
Malcolm Gilbert19150269
Isaiah Epps19416302
Freshmen Total152873430302
School Totals3912865931831032692
Freshmen Share11.82%
14.67%
18.58%
29.13%
11.22%
Player (2012-13)GTRBASTSTLBLKPTS
Steven Adams32203202165231
James Robinson3370116321202
Durand Johnson31401683133
Freshmen Total3131526169566
School Totals3310675372181312282
Freshmen Share29.33%
28.31%
27.98%
52.67%
24.80%
Player (2013-14)GTRBASTSTLBLKPTS
Michael Young36147321516215
Jamel Artis3610623610175
Josh Newkirk364361141164
Chris Jones302673172
Joshua Ko1000007
Freshmen Total3221233828633
School Totals3612915632541072586
Freshmen Share24.94%
21.85%
14.96%
26.17%
24.48%
Player (2014-15)GTRBASTSTLBLKPTS
Ryan Luther232471444
Cameron Johnson8941336
Freshmen Total33112780
School Totals341136561168952279
Freshmen Share2.90%
1.96%
1.19%
7.37%
3.51%
Player (2015-16)GTRBASTSTLBLKPTS
Cameron Johnson325916105155
Damon Wilson3033438298
Ryan Seelye810004
Freshmen Total9359187257
School Totals3312575471621212476
Freshmen Share7.40%
10.79%
11.11%
5.79%
10.38%
Player (2016-17) Stallings' First YearGTRBASTSTLBLKPTS
Justice Kithcart2921349439
Corey Manigaul181520115
Freshmen Total36369554
School Totals3311584731271122404
Freshman Share3.11%
7.61%
7.09%
4.46%
2.25%
Player (2017-18)GTRBASTSTLBLKPTS
Marcus Carr185370133189
Shamiel Stevenson189822106177
Parker Stewart18471872134
Khameron Davis18451710791
Terrell Brown17391211648
Peace Ilegomah131521710
Samson George7101009
Freshmen Total3071424241658
School Totals1860123883621186
Freshmen Share51.08%
59.66%
50.60%
66.13%
55.48%

Some other numbers that stand out? In Dixon’s last two seasons and Stallings’ first (when he had all players from the Dixon era), freshman contributions were basically nil. Only in one season did any percentage crack double digits and that was assists (10.79%) and steals (11.11%) in 2015-16, thanks to Cameron Johnson and Damon Wilson. More damning, in his last year as head coach, juniors and seniors accounted for 72% of the rebounds, 77% of the assists, 72% of the steals and 76% of the blocks and 74% of the scoring. That disparity carried over into Stallings’ first year as the seniors he inherited (Michael Young, Jamel Artis, Sheldon Jeter and Chris Jones) accounted for 62% of the rebounds, 68% of the assists, 63% of the steals, 68% of the blocks and 72% of the scoring. That pretty much confirms the notion that Dixon left the cupboard bare before leaving (or being forced out, whichever story you prescribe to).

So what does it all mean? Well, Pitt is not Duke. Starting five freshman like the Panthers have this year is basically unheard of. When Dixon became coach, his freshmen only contributed 23.41% of the rebounds, 11.28% of the assists, 7.44% of the steals, 38.46% of the blocks and 18.03% of the points. Dixon inherited a team that had gone 28-5 and made it to the sweet sixteen from Ben Howland, as well as notable players like Carl Krauser (a sophomore) and freshmen Chris Taft, Chevron Troutman, Antonio Graves and Aaron Gray.

Ben Howland’s tenure featured the closest thing to a rebuild, although he inherited junior Ricardo Greer from Ralph Willard, who averaged 18.1 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 3.2 APG and 1.8 SPG in Howland’s first year and 16.6 PPG, 7.4 RPG and 2.8 APG in his second, as well as standout point guard Brandin Knight, who as a freshman averaged 8.5 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 5.5 APG and 2.8 SPG. Howland, it can be noted, finished 13-15 his first year and 19-14 in his second, but never had a freshman class contribute more than 23.45% points per game. His rebuild was certainly nothing like the one facing Stallings.

It remains to be seen whether or not Stallings will get a chance to build the program, but considering the uphill battle he’s been forced to endure, it seems somewhat unfair to assign him all of—or even most—of the blame for the program’s current situation. Relying on freshmen to lead the team is hard enough for a school like Pitt, who just doesn’t get 5-star, NBA-ready recruits. Throw in the fact that they have undergo the rebuild in the ACC, and you have a recipe for some long, losing seasons.

Our Sponsors

Moon Golf Club
99$ oil change package!
Duquesne Men's Basketball

Get PSN in your inbox!

Enter your email and get all of our posts delivered straight to your inbox.

WPIAL Class of 2021 Pages

To Top
Send this to a friend