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Steven Adams Set to Lead Pittsburgh to New Heights

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As I was looking through Joe Lunardi‘s first (and premature) installment of Bracketology, I came across a shock. The Pittsburgh Panthers were given a #6 seed. I said to myself, “How could this be? This team, despite winning the CBI, posted a 5-13 record in the Big East and will be losing two of its best players, Ashton Gibbs and Nasir Robinson, to graduation. What gives!”

I thought about it some more. Yes, Tray Woodall is back and should be healthy enough to be a team leader on and off the floor. And yes, I expect Dante Taylor to break out. But there had to be more than that. And then it hit me.

Steven Adams.

The freshman center is nearly seven feet tall and hails from New Zealand. His size, frame, and potential are what is making scouts drool over him as a potential top-5 pick in next year’s NBA draft. However, the Panthers are looking for him to help them out a lot, even if it’s only for one season.

The kiwi is a load down low. His strength has helped him rebound and play defense down low, things he should only get better at. He’s also very quick for his size and can run the floor, something that will be valuable to Woodall. He even has a solid jumper that, with some work, can become a deadly weapon in his arsenal. But one of the most important parts of Adams’ game is his motor.

Too often do we see players with huge amounts of potential throw it all away because they’re not motivated. Adams is the kind of player who has a good work ethic and wants to get better.

Adams reminds me of Andre Drummond. A big man who is a freakish physical specimen, a great blend of size and speed, and is stuffed with potential. However, the difference is that Drummond’s offensive game is basically nonexistent while Adams has shown signs of developing one. While he’s still a long way’s away, the future looks bright, and Adams’ defense should certainly help him stand out.

As we saw last season, Drummond was a ghost at times and never really got going on a dysfunctional Connecticut squad. I don’t see the same result coming from Adams. If he can live up to his potential, Pitt can be a tournament team. However, if he turns out to be a college bust, expect the Panthers to have an even worse result than last year.

For more on college basketball and the Big East, follow Chris on Twitter.

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