The Pittsburgh Panthers had a season filled with ups, downs and everything in between and now are faced with losing two of their key players — Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna — going into the 2014-15 NCAA basketball season.
This is always a concern for any team when two of the best players and team leaders move on, but it is even worse for coach Jamie Dixon‘s Panthers because the incoming freshman class does not give fans much hope that all will be replaced.
Shaquille Doorson is the only recruit with much of a reputation and the rest of the class — while includes players at every position — does not necessarily give the team everything to make up for Patterson’s scoring and Zanna’s rebounding and defensive presence.
The rest of the class includes two junior college players — Tyrone Haughton and Sheldon Jeter. Both of these players should be expected to step in and contribute immediately because there is no other reason to take on junior college players. Haughton will pair with Doorson underneath the hoop and hopefully complement Doorson’s physical play with a much more skilled-oriented style. Doorson is definitely the recruit most think could have the best upside, but he is still a work in progress on offense.
Jeter is a likely starter and will have to be one of the team’s best scorers right from the start. He has the ability to do so, but will have to adjust to an offensive system that does not allow one single player to stand out.
Luckily for the Panthers, the backcourt of James Robinson, Cameron Wright and sixth-man Josh Newkirk should help cover up for the loss of Patterson. Those three players all had standout games last season and will give the Panthers a lot to look forward to next season.
The Panthers do not have the most highly touted class coming in, but experience is still on their side.
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