New Coach Still Evaluating His Roster

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan)- The Pitt basketball team under new head coach Kevin Stallings has gotten off to a 5-1 start to begin its season, most recently defeating Morehead State 76-63 at the Petersen Events Center.

Senior forward Mike Young led the way for the Panthers with 20 points to go along with six rebounds. He is averaging just over 23 points per game to start the year. Pitt was also an impressive 11 of 19 from three-point range en route to the victory.

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Stallings joined “The Fan Morning Show” on Monday in his weekly spot to talk about Pitt’s propensity for the three-ball, their next opponent in Maryland and the roster make-up right now.

Stallings says that the three-ball wasn’t necessarily the main focus in the gameplan, but the way the players were shooting dictated how many Pitt attempted.

“We do have some guys that can make shots and so we space the floor and if we get good looks, we’re going to take them,” said Stallings. “We still want to put a premium on getting to the foul line because that’s still the best place to score from. We like foul shots, layups and open threes, those are the kind of shots that we like. We’ll just have to see, again I don’t want us to become completely a jump-shooting team, but on nights where they are going in, we’ll probably take a few more than not.”

At this point, Stallings is still trying to find the right defensive scheme that fits the personnel of his players because of their style.

“We’re not blessed with a team full of defensive stoppers,” said Stallings. “We’re going to have to do it as a unit, as a team. We’re going to have to be good as a team defense and I think we’re capable of doing that. So, whether it’s man or whether it’s zone, whether we’re pressing in front of it to absorb some time off the clock or whether we’re trying to be a little bit more aggressive in the press, the bottom line is we’re trying to put ourselves in the best to get those stops and it’s not necessarily a “go-to” defense, but we’ll try to figure out with each game which one is most effective.”

Stallings is very familiar with Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon, as both were assistant coaches at Kansas under head coach Roy Williams in his first four years there. Maryland just happens to be Pitt’s next opponent, so Stallings knows what to expect from the Turgeon-led Terrapins.

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“We have not seen any zone from them [Maryland] all year long,” said Stallings. “They are blessed with a lot of quickness and that quickness shows up a lot on offense especially because they are great at penetrating the ball and they have quick guards. They’ve mastered winning close games early this year, just about every game they’ve played has been a close one and they’ve won them all.”

“It’ll be a great environment, they’re a very tough team, obviously [junior guard Melo] Trimble is a terrific player so we’ll have our hands full, but we’re looking forward to the challenge,” Stallings said.

Stallings says that the depth of this team and the playing time that players will receive this season is still yet to be determined.

“We’re still searching a little bit and still in the process of trying to give guys enough time to develop into those roles because obviously they can’t play the roles if they don’t get a chance to play them. We’ve been pretty tight with the rotations so far just because we’ve had a lot of close games ourselves and we’ll continue to try to give guys more time each game in an effort to develop them and allow themselves to play themselves into the opportunity and into the role that they need to be playing.”

You can hear the entire interview with Kevin Stallings on “The Fan Morning Show” below.

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