Head Basketball Coach Kevin Stallings and I recently had a brief conversation about his program and basketball.
I asked the coach about his coaching style. Stallings believe he coaches his players and not a style. He tries to fit a style that best suits his player. He likes to get the ball up, and down the floor, his player must be intense have fun and work hard and fast. He’s hopeful as he enters his second year at Pitt that he is developing a culture of student-athletes who are a good student and growing to be good citizens. Coach Stallings is looking for a big year out of Forward Ryan Luther the 6’9” Sr.; Fr Marcus Carr 6’1” Guard and Jared Wilson-Frame 6’5” Jr. Transfer Guard-Forward. These players need to step up and be the leaders and playmaker for the Panthers to have a good year.
Coach Stallings goal for this program is to see his players play together, compete daily, focus, and develop a culture of accountability. With that happening he thinks they can compete in the ACC, win the ACC and go on to win the Big Dance NCAA tournament over time.
I asked Coach about his three big surprises coming to Pittsburgh to coach the Panthers; one was the depth and quality of play in the ACC. He was surprised by the community support for Pitt Basketball and finally the depth and greatness of the University of Pittsburgh academics.
I also talk about how the Staff and University is and will handle the many issues that athlete and African-American athlete are dealing with from needling for the national anthem and other social issues. He believes that he and his staff are handling these issues by having an open door for them to discuss these subject at any time. He also mentions that the administrator of the University will be visiting with the student to discuss any of these issues and to help with a full understanding and the support of the University of Pittsburgh. I hope that the players are fully engaged and are aware of how to handle their feeling about what the student-athlete needs and want from their college.
Our final topic with Coach Stallings was about paying student-athletes. Stallings believed that athletes are fairly compensated with a full scholarship and additional benefits. He said that as a former player at Purdue there were a lot fewer benefits which he believes makes you more responsible and appreciate what you have. Coach Stallings said that the University of Pittsburgh works hard to provide its, players, with what they need, and no one should do without what’s needed. While we believe that today athlete may have it better than many former athletes the scales of justice are still very uneven. Not just with the athletes but from coach to coach and school to school. The NCAA who make a report 800 million just in tv rights for the basketball tournament must fix this now.
The NCAA this month created a commission chaired by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to study college basketball and recommend changes. The panel will begin its work next month and make recommendations by April.
“We cannot go to the next basketball season without seeing a fundamental change in the way college basketball is operated,” Emmert said. “The public doesn’t have sufficient confidence in any of us regarding our ability to resolve these issues.” At the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics in New York City.
Many issues face this University of Pittsburgh Basketball team the ACC and the NCAA, so we hope that they will work hard and be accountable to the student-athlete, the fans, and change the culture of a sport we love.
Notes: Pitt basketball open with an exhibition win against Slippery Rock University on Saturday 71-59.
Post-game Quotes from Coach Stallings
“I would have to say that it was very much what I expected, 4 of our first-time men were jittery. I thought that our defense played well, except for some blemishes in the first half, which I attributed to nerves.”
“We had some guys with some very good moments. We’re not a team that will score a ton of points with our backs to the basket. I was just pleased that we got going after we were down 9 in the first half. It was good to play this game. Hats off to Slippery Rock.”
“If you would’ve told me that our best player would have 5 points, I would’ve been surprised. I don’t want Ryan to be in foul trouble, but if he is to be, this is the game. Ryan’s our best player.”
“I basically got Jared Wilson-Frame on one phone call. We hit it off really well. Jared is a team guy, we like him & he’s doing a great job. I’m a fan & not just because he scored 24 points.
Regular Season Opener:
Friday, November 10, 9:00 PM on CBSS
Navy Alumni Hall, Annapolis, Maryland