Last year, Pitt’s Federiko Federiko jumped onto the scene with numerous strong performances in non-conference play. As the season went on, Federiko continued to improve in his role as a rim-running and rim-protecting big man. Let’s take a look into his sophomore year numbers compared to the rest of the bigs around the league that are returning this year.
During conference play (20 games, 19 starts), Federiko had the following averages: 28.2 MPG, 61% FG (57 of 94), 68% FT, 6 RPG (14th in ACC), 1.9 BPG (3rd in ACC), and 7.1 PPG.
If Federiko had more field-goal attempts and kept up the same percentage, he would have led the league in FG%.
The signs are there that he can be an efficient finisher and lob threat at the rim and also control the paint defensively as well as anyone in the conference – even in slightly limited minutes last year. Now, it’ll be up to Fede to own his role once again for the Panthers against another tough ACC slate.
The Hurricanes will have rock-solid big man Norchad Omier owning the paint once again this season. Although he is listed at just 6-foot-7, Omier averaged a stellar 13.7 points and ten rebounds per game last year. He went off against Pitt in early March, scoring 15 and grabbing 13 boards against Federiko (3 points, 3 rebounds) and company. Federiko had a great first matchup against the Hurricanes, scoring eight, grabbing seven rebounds, and swatting away four shots in Pitt’s big home victory.
Merrimack transfer Jordan Minor should slide in down low for Virginia this year. Minor (6-foot-8, 240 LBs) averaged 17.4 points and 9.4 boards per game last year overall and put up 19 & 7 against Merrimack’s best opponent on the year, St. John’s.
PJ Hall (6’10 245) is back for the Tigers, and should once again contend for All-Conference honors. Hall scored 15+ points and grabbed almost six rebounds per game last season, and had 12 points and ten rebounds in the Tigers’ close win over Pitt. Federiko had two points and four rebounds in that matchup.
Federiko had four points, four rebounds, and two blocks in Pitt’s slim regular season loss to the Blue Devils. In the ACC Tournament blowout, he played limited minutes to do his injured leg.
Duke lost rim-protector Dereck Lively to the NBA and will now look to seasoned vet Ryan Young to help Kyle Filipowski in the front court. Young had a huge game the first time Pitt and Duke faced off last year, scoring seven points and grabbing ten rebounds.
Big DJ Burns returns for the Wolfpack and is listed at 6-foot-9, 275 pounds. The Winthrop transfer scored over 12 points per game last year for NC State and grabbed less than five rebounds per matchup. Against Pitt, he scored 13 and grabbed six boards, while Federiko scored six, blocked one, and grabbed three rebounds in the Panthers’ win.
The Tar Heels brought back Armando Bacot, who is now a three-time All-ACC recipient. The 6-foot-10, 240-pound big man averaged a double-double last year (15 & 10), and had two solid outings against Pitt (22 & 13, 15 & 11). He had two blocks in each loss to Pitt.
Federiko opened Pitt’s game at Carolina with a huge defensive stand. After Bacot backed him down in the post, Federiko heavily contested a shot attempt, before swatting away the ball after Bacot got the ball back. In that game, Federiko finished with eight points, four rebounds, and three blocks in one of his best all-around games of the year.
Federiko faced off against Syracuse and big Jesse Edwards last year as the Panthers won both matchups between the two. Federiko fouled out in the win at Syracuse, posting a seven-point, five-rebound stat line. In the second matchup, he had a stellar performance, finishing all five of his field-goal attempts to score 14 points. He also grabbed six boards in the Senior Night win.
Edwards had two solid showings against the Panthers: eight points and nine rebounds in game one, and 17 points and seven rebounds in game two. Edwards is now off to West Virginia after entering the transfer portal this offseason. The Orange will look to bigs Naheem McLeod (7-foot-4 Florida State transfer) and Benny Williams (7.2 PPG) in the front court.
Wake returns bigs Andrew Carr and Matthew Marsh from last year. Carr had 14 and seven against the Panthers, while Marsh added six and two. The experienced Demon Deacons also added transfer forward Efton Reid this offseason, who Panther fans are pretty familiar with.
In Pitt’s two-point win over Wake last year, Federiko had just two points, but racked up nine rebounds in the strong effort on the glass.
7-foot Dutch star Quinten Post returns for the Eagles this year after averaging more than 15 points and five rebounds per game. Post went just 2 for 9 from the field against Pitt last year, finishing with seven points, five fouls (fouled out), four turnovers, and five rebounds. Federiko had another one of his best statistical performances that game, posting a ten-point, seven-rebound, three-block stat line.
Thankfully for Pitt, Virginia Tech lost both Justyn Mutts and Grant Basile this offseason. Mutts and Basile combined for 34 points in the Hokies’ momentum-killing win over Pitt in February.
Offensively, Federiko had a solid game for the Panthers, who couldn’t quite find any rhythm offensively that game. He hit five of his six attempts to finish with 12 points in the loss.
Coming off a down year, Leonard Hamilton returns a very intriguing front court this season with sophomores Baba Miller and Cam Corhen. Corhen went 5 for 7 from the field for 13 points in the ‘Noles win over Pitt, and Miller added five points and three boards. With some experience under their belt now, look out for the Seminoles down low.
Federiko had a huge game in Pitt’s second matchup against the ‘Noles, scoring eight, blocking three shots, and grabbing 13 rebounds in an all-around great performance.
NC State transfer Ebenezer Dowuona joined the Jackets this offseason. Dowuona has been in the league for years, but didn’t have much of a role for the Wolfpack last year, averaging just 1.7 points and 1.9 rebounds per game in 10.9 minutes.
Young big Kebba Njie followed Micah Shrewsberry from Penn State to South Bend. After scoring 3 points per game as a freshman, he’ll look to help the Irish down low and make a huge leap as a sophomore.
Brandon Huntley-Hatfield returns for the Cardinals after he averaged 6.7 points and 5.4 rebounds per game as a sophomore. Federiko had two solid showings against the ‘Cards last year, scoring eight and six in his two performances.