PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon addressed a couple of issues before he left for the Final Four and college coaches meetings on Wednesday. He said it’s the correct decision for freshman center Steven Adams to declare for the NBA Draft.
“Given his family situation, we know it’s the best thing for his family to put his name in the draft,” Dixon said. “Knowing his situation, it’s what is best for him.”
Dixon admits the seven-foot center might not be ready for the NBA; however, “the draft is, especially with big guys, based on where they will be down the road.”
NBADraft.net has Adams going as the 24th overall selection in the first round.
“It’s tough because he really loved it here; he loved Pittsburgh,” Dixon added. “He loved his teammates. So it’s hard. I know what he would say, but I also know what his family was saying at the same time when I had discussions with them.”
Dixon also lost junior guard Trey Zeigler as he decided to transfer out of Pitt after only being here for one season.
“Talked to [Trey Zeigler] just didn’t feel that this was the right situation for him. We will help him in any way,” Dixon said. “He was looking to be more involved.”
Zeigler played in 30 games, averaging just under 16 minutes and 4.5 points a game.
With Adams and Zeigler leaving and Malcolm Gilbert and John Johnson transferring earlier, that frees up scholarships for next season.
“We’ve been out recruiting and were going to find some [players],” Dixon insisted. “We’ve found a couple guys in the summer who have been great additions over the years. We’ve found guys in the spring.”
One of the early stops in fired Rutgers head coach Mike Rice’s career was with Dixon at Pitt. As he spent 2006-07 as an assistant with the Panthers before taking over Robert Morris.
Rice was fired Wednesday after video of physical and verbal abuse of players at Rutgers went viral.
“Mike is a good friend,” Dixon said. “He’s a good person. As he has said, he made some mistakes. He’s a good father. I think the people that know him here and at Robert Morris, know that he’s a good person.”
Dixon said video of a practice surfacing outside of the program won’t change how he does business, “I don’t really see that, if you’re doing things right, you’re doing things right.”