Jamie Dixon Watches Steven Adams, Talks ACC Stability, 2013-14 Roster

Special to ZAGSBLOG

Jamie DixonORLANDO – The University of Pittsburgh was officially welcomed to the ACC on Monday along with Syracuse and Notre Dame. With that, the countdown towards a highly-anticipated college basketball season can begin as the Panthers and Orange will tangle with the likes of Duke and North Carolina in conference-play for the first time.

Panthers head coach Jamie Dixon acknowledges that it’s all well and good to be excited about the move to the ACC and the stability that comes with it, but as for the prospects of playing the Blue Devils and Tar Heels, it’s not like Pitt is new to big-time college basketball.

“We’ve played in some pretty good places, our place (the Petersen Events Center) is pretty tough,” Dixon, tongue-in-cheek, told SNY.tv on Monday afternoon at the Orlando Summer League. “I don’t want to take away from what those programs have done and where they’ve been, but we’ve played against good people and our league has been the best. For us, we’ve summed it up as we’re going from the best conference to the best conference. There may be some differences, but the main thing is we’ll be playing in the top conference in the country. That’s what we want for our school, that’s what we want to tell recruits and that’s what we want for our fans.”

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Pittsburgh Lands Former OSU Commit Mostella

Detrick Mostella, a onetime Oklahoma State commit, is headed to Pittsburgh and will be eligible this coming season.

“I went on a visit and I literally felt like I was at home! I feel like I can turn this program around and help them takeover the ACC,” he told Givengobasketball.com.

The news was first reported by CBSSports.com.

The 6-foot-3 Mostella is the Rivals No. 14 shooting guard in the Class of 2013.

He joins point guard Josh Newkirk, power forwards Mike Young and Jamel Artis and center Joseph Uchebo in Pitt’s 2013 class.

The Panthers join the ACC this coming season.

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Derrick Randall to Pitt; Marcus Ware to Iona

Transferring Rutgers big man Derrick Randall is headed to the ACC.

“I committed to Pittsburgh,” Randall told SNY.tv Sunday evening.

“It felt like a new home and a new start and I need to get away and start clean.”

The 6-foot-8, 240-pound Randall also considered Iona and Minnesota. He visited Pittsburgh last Thursday.

Randall, a Bronx native who played at South Kent (Conn.) and Paterson (N.J.) Catholic, averaged 2.1 points and 1.5 rebounds as a sophomore at Rutgers.

He opted to transfer in the wake of the Mike Rice scandal and could obtain a waiver to play immediately. To read more of this story, click here

Pitt Brings Back Slice to Coaching Staff

In a move that should help them recruit the New York City area better as they make the transition to the ACC, Pittsburgh has brought back Barry “Slice” Rohrssen.

“We are extremely excited to bring Barry back to Pitt,” Panthers coach Jamie Dixon said. “From the start, Barry played an integral role in the success and building of our program. He has a great coaching background, is a good recruiter and has an exceptional understanding of how we operate our program.”

Rohrssen — who replaces Pat Sandle — recruited  Chris Taft, Levance Fields, Ronald Ramon and Keith Benjamin to the Panthers and maintains a strong reputation with AAU and high school coaches in the city and surrounding areas. To read more of this story, click here

For Pitt’s Woodall, Band of Brothers Still Figures Strong

NEW YORK — Tray Woodall and his former St. Anthony teammates send group text messages to each other almost every other day.

Together, Woodall, Tyshawn Taylor, Mike Rosario and Jio Fontan, went 32-0 en route to a mythical national championship under Bob Hurley at St. Anthony in 2008.

They are forever bonded as brothers.

Now, Woodall (Pittsburgh), Rosario (Florida) and Fontan (USC) are all in their final years of college eligibility, while Taylor is an NBA rookie with the playoff-bound Brooklyn Nets.

Woodall and Rosario are headed to the NCAA Tournament, while Fontan and the Trojans will likely miss out. To read more of this story, click here

Malcolm Gilbert Leaving Pitt, Appears Headed to Fairfield

Pittsburgh redshirt sophomore center Malcolm Gilbert has decided to transfer and could end up at Fairfield University.

“Malcolm has asked for his release and has informed me that he wants to play with his brother,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. “He’s a great kid, hard worker and good player. We thank Malcolm for his contribution to our program over the last year and a half and wish him much success in the future.”

Marcus Gilbert is a 6-foot-6 freshman forward at Fairfield.

As Rob Dauster of NBC Sports pointed out, Gilbert is the fifth player to leave Pitt program in the last 20 months, following J.J. Richardson (Houston); Khem Birch (UNLV); Isaiah Epps (Monroe College); and John Johnson (Penn State).

The 6-foot-11, 235-pound Gilbert was redshirting the 2012-13 season after averaging 0.8 points and 0.8 rebounds per game last season.

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Pitt’s Zeigler Suspended Indefinitely for DUI

Pittsburgh junior guard Trey Zeigler has been suspended indefinitely after being stopped by Pittsburgh police on Sunday and charged with two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence.

“The incident involving Trey Zeigler is not only surprising, but incredibly disappointing,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. “Although I believe it was out of character for Trey, he has been immediately suspended until further notice. Trey has expressed his deep regret to me and understands and respects the importance of accountability for one’s actions.”

The news of the DUI was first reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“I want to apologize to my family, the University of Pittsburgh, my teammates and coaches and the entire Pittsburgh community,” Zeigler said. “This is not indicative of the kind of person I am, nor the kind of person I want to be.”

Zeigler had averaged 16.0 points and 6.1 rebounds as a sophomore at Central Michigan, but opted to transfer when the school fired his father, Ernie Zeigler, as coach last spring.

Trey then chose Pittsburgh over Duke, UCLA and others.

He was given a waiver to play immediately, and was averaging just 6.2 points off the bench in limited minutes.

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Pitt’s Woodall Healthy and Ready for Senior Year

NEW YORK — I’ve known Pitt point guard Tray Woodall for six years, dating back to his time at St. Anthony and a team that won a mythical national championship in 2008 under Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley.

So it was tough to watch the 5-foot-11 Brooklyn native suffer through groin and abdominal injuries last season that caused him to miss 11 games, during which Pitt suffered through a seven-game losing streak.

Woodall still managed to average 11.7 points and 6.1 assists, which would have ranked him third on the Big East leaderboard if he had played enough games to qualify.

But as he enters his senior season, Woodall told me during this sit-down video interview last week at Big East Media Day that he’s healthy and ready to go.

“I’m feeling great,” he said. “I had two sports hernias. I tore my lower ab. But I had successful surgery this summer. I’ve been working our really hard. My rehab has been going great. I’m back on the court, and I’m 100 percent playing with the guys.” To read more of this story, click here

Agau to Louisville; Newkirk to Pitt

Louisville and Pittsburgh both picked up key 2013 verbal commitments Wednesday.

Akoy Agau, a 6-foot-9 power forward from Omaha (Neb.) Central, pledged to the Cardinals during an in-home visit with head coach Rick Pitino.

“They see me as a guy who can do a little of everything and make plays for teammates,” Agau told InsideTheVille.com recently. “They are going to utilize all my strengths and put me in a position where I can be successful and also help out the team with all the abilities that I have. To read more of this story, click here