The pro-am Summer League begins tonight. Full rosters are in place (PDF). The Pitt players are grouped on four different squads out of seven. The only player not listed is JUCO transfer Joseph Uchebo. Derrick Randall, the big man from Rutgers is on the roster.
PGT — Talib Zanna and James Robinson. Rest of the squad is primarily Youngstown St. and Robert Morris
UPMC — James Newkirk, Jamel Artis and Durand Johnson. Rest is RMU and a few other places.
Oliveiero Peppers — Cam Wright, Derrick Randall and Chris Jones. Six? Six WVU players on this roster.
SPK Law — Lamar Patterson, Mike Young and Mike Lecak (walk-on). RMU and YSU on this one.
Interesting to note that Duquesne and WVU are concentrated on 2 squads. Duquesne makes some sense with only 8 players. But WVU have 11 players participating. If I had to hazard a guess, they got it that way as a convenience since they have the drive to-and-from Morgantown. (And a quick look at the schedule (PDF) does show only two nights where both WVU squads are not playing.)
There is also an “alumni” team that features John DeGroat, Chevy Troutman and Ronald Ramon (South Hills Audi). I love. Love that different Pitt alum come back in the summers to Pittsburgh. Both to play in the league and to be around the program. It is one of the little things that has changed in the culture of Pitt basketball in the Dixon years. The Evans, Willard and even Howland periods had no sense of continuity. Of connection to the past players.
Yes, the success helps in creating that. As does the continuity of the coaching staff. But it matters. It gives the present players some tangible evidence of the past players, their success at Pitt and their life after Pitt. With only three players from Pitt presently in the NBA, it matters for them to meet some of the players that still go on to have careers. Whether it is overseas or even in the NBDL.
The Summer League, as much fun as it is, is not an indicator of the future success or failure of the players and team for the coming year. It is completely different from a D-1 NCAA game. It may offer hopeful glimpses at players and what kind of improvement and/or condition the players are showing. But it is unlikely to reveal who is going to “break out” or have a big year.