During his two years playing for Oakland, new Pitt forward Dan Oladapo was ‘the guy’ offensively and defensively, starting 54 of his 63 games and averaging 11 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. However, this year, his numbers have taken a significant hit, playing a smaller role for Pitt.
Through two games with the Panthers, Oladapo has logged just 21 minutes of in-game action, good for second-to-last on the team. While he has not played as many minutes as some may have expected leading up to the season, Oladapo did play solid minutes in the most recent game against West Virginia, making all four of his field goals and grabbing eight rebounds.
“Dan played well the other night, he did some good stuff for us,” head coach Jeff Capel said on Monday. “He’s gotten better and better as he has started to understand more what we need from him. We still want and need him to rebound at a high level, so that’s something that he has done throughout his college career. We need that to be part of what he brings to the table for us.”
Oladapo, while not the fastest player nor the greatest shooter from outside, has a 100% field goal percentage this season, after converting his lone shot attempt against The Citadel and then all four against West Virginia. In the Backyard Brawl, he scored in a variety of ways, using precise footwork, timely pump-fakes, and other crafty moves to put the ball in the basket down low. Standing at 6-foot-7, 220-pounds, Oladapo’s strong frame poses a challenge for opponents on both sides of the ball, especially on offense. And while he has done alright on defense so far for Pitt, Capel thinks that he is just starting to find his groove on the that end of the floor.
“He’s pretty good around the basket, scoring it, he’s got a pretty good touch around there,” Capel continued. “He’s getting more comfortable with the defensive schemes we do. At Oakland, they play primarily zone, here, playing man-to-man, which is what we have primarily done. Getting adjusted to that, getting adjusted to guarding away from the basket, just those things. But I am pleased with some of the things he has done for us this year.”
For a team that is lacking scorers, Pitt is going to need the PG County native to continue to produce off the bench and find ways to score while giving the other bigs a rest.
Oladapo and the rest of the Panthers will look to pick up their first win on Tuesday, Nov. 16 when Pitt hosts UNC-Wilmington at the Petersen Events Center with tip-off set for 7 p.m.