Ray Jr. on Sports

Pitt Fires HC Kevin Stallings-Panthers basketball team parted ways with head coach Kevin Stallings Thursday morning, ending a troubled 2-year tenure with the team. This dismissal comes 2 days after the Panthers fell to Notre Dame in the opening round of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Tournament.

Why did it happen? So many reasons. But let’s start with this season: Under Stallings, Pitt finished with an 8-24 overall record (their last win was vs. Towson Dec 22nd) which included an agonizing 0-18 ACC record. They’re the only team in Division 1 basketball not to have at least one conference win. Terrible.

And here’s more-Stallings finishes his brief career in Oakland with a record of 24-41, including a 5-34 mark in ACC play. His overall win percentage of .369 is the lowest for a Pitt coach since Benjamin F. Printz, the first coach in program history, went 8-14 (.364) in his two years at the helm, from 1905-07. In two years.

And Don’t Forget Last Season-Oh yeah. In Stallings first season, Pitt finished 16-17 overall and 4-14 in the ACC. Part of the reason was lack of talent, but most of the reason for that team’s struggles was because some players (namely Mike Brown and Jamel Artis) stopped playing for them and then 8 other players left the school because of him. He then had to replace those 11 players with JUCO’s, and freshmen and they just weren’t talented enough to win in the ACC.

Pitt Student Section “The Zoo” Showing sentiment about the Panthers Play (Photo: Vince Butts : Urban Media Today)

Attendance-I believe this is what really doomed Stallings. Petersen Events Center used to be a place that was sold out, you had to be placed on a waiting list. But now, there were too many seats available as it only averaged 4,117 persons this season, which is deplorable. And they didn’t even show up when #1 ranked Virginia came into town. Remember Pitt was down 30-7 to them in the first half? Ugh!

My Conclusion of the Matter? Stallings just wasn’t a good fit for Pitt, plain and simple. And a bad fit is impossible to work, no matter how hard you try. Personally, he’s a good guy and treated me with respect each time I was around him and it’s a shame that it ended this way for him, but he needed to move on and Pitt needs a fresh start. Despite it all, I wish him the best.

Some Fans are Upset over the Firing-There’s several that I know personally that are against this, saying that Pitt’s program is now doomed. Frankly, it was doomed when Stallings was hired. Fans got what they wanted when they drove Jamie Dixon out the door, and now they think a man who couldn’t get a single win in the ACC to stay another season. Madness (and I don’t mean March Madness)

Who Will Replace Stallings? Too early to tell. My wish would be former head coach Ben Howland, but he’s not even on the rumor mill. I just hope that Pitt takes their time this time around because they sure didn’t with Stallings, which was former Pitt AD Scott Barnes hire, and then he left for Oregon State a few months later. Current AD Heather Lyke needs to take her time and then make the right choice, because then it’ll be time to recruit.

 

AP Top 5-Even though it’s Conference Tournament time, here are the AP Top 5: #1. Virginia #2. Villanova #3. Xavier #4. Michigan State #5. Duke.

Projected NCAA Tourney #1 Seeds? 1.(Overall) Virginia, followed by Villanova, Michigan State and Duke (Sorry, Xavier)

Trae Young Wins National Award-The first of many for this young man. The Oklahoma Sooners star was awarded the USBWA Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year honor and while he’s trying to get him team to the Big Dance, I still predict he will win National Player of the Year.

Young Didn’t Win Big 12 Player of the Year-Shame on the Big 12 for this omission! The award went to Kansas Point Guard Devonte Graham. Not sure how you can bypass a player who averaged 27 PPG and had 4 40-point games. Unbelievable.

NBA Standings-Here’s the best in the Eastern Conference: Toronto (Toronto?)47-17, followed by Boston (45-20) and Cleveland (38-26). In the West: Houston (51-13), followed by Golden State (50-14) and Portland (Portland? -39-26)

NBA Cellar-Dwellers-Eastern: Atlanta and Orlando (both 20-45) Western: Memphis (18-46)

Nance Playing Center for Cavs? Holy Magic Johnson, Batman! The Cleveland Cavaliers played Larry Nance, Jr. at Center and he scored 22 points in the win. Apparently, they found their man.

Still Harden for NBA MVP? Yup. Nobody comes close, not even LeBron James or Anthony Davis.

Steelers Give Bell “Franchise Tag”-I wasn’t in favor of this move, but the Pittsburgh Steelers have slapped the Tag on their All-Pro Running Back for the 2nd straight season, this time, giving him $14.5 million. They still hope to sign him to a long-term deal before the July 15th deadline.

Bell’s Reaction? He’s acting like a brat, and he doesn’t seem to care. He’s threatening to miss OTA’s and training camp again and possibly into Week 3 of the 2018 season. You’re talking too much Le’Veon, act like a professional and don’t think the Steelers are fazed by this.

Could the Steelers trade Bell? Nope. Especially since he must sign the Franchise tender before anything else can happen. I really believe they can get a deal if both sides compromise and Bell stops acting like the aforementioned brat.

Titans Cut Murray, Sherman an ex-Seahawk? Yep, Tennessee released RB DeMarco Murray, after only 2 years and will stick with Travis Henry. As for CB Richard Sherman, he states that he will not be a Seattle Seahawk in 2018. Looks like a draft-day trade could be looming.

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com
Follow him @urbanmediaRay on twitter

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