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NCAA Basketball ACC BasketballPittsburgh Panthers

Pittsburgh Basketball Backcourt Will Spark Panthers

Cameron Wright

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Panthers have lost stars and leaders Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna to graduation, but are one of the few fortunate teams in the ACC to have an experienced backcourt going into the 2014-15 NCAA basketball season.

James Robinson and Cameron Wright are likely starters at the guard spots and Josh Newkirk will be the sixth man. Newkirk could be a starter for many teams because of his all-around talent. He will provide a much-needed spark off the bench and will be an important piece of what could be the best and deepest backcourt in the conference. Robinson may have been an overall disappointment last year, but he did show he could be a go-to player. Wright is the most likely returning player to fill Patterson’s role. Wright can do a little bit of everything and is the prototype guard coach Jamie Dixon likes to have on his team. Wright has the skills to take over and dominate, but he also knows to let the game come to him instead if forcing the issue.

These players will be joined with Vanderbilt Commodore and JUCO transfer Sheldon Jeter. While Jeter is more of a tweener, his wing skills should mesh well with the guard trio.

These guards will have a lot on their shoulders because the frontcourt is not experienced and will be a work in progress with freshman Shaquille Doorson. Still, if the backcourt can handle the pressure and embrace the leadership role, the Pitt Panthers could be a sneaky dark horse contender in the ACC.

Gregory T. Philson is an ACC basketball writer at RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @GTPhilson, “Like” him on Facebook, and add him to your network on GoogleRead more here.