Atlantic 10 Conference

Atlantic 10 has determined locations for 2017, 2018 tournaments

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Back in late March the Atlantic 10 deciding to move its conference tournament from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in 2017 and 2018 to allow the ACC to move its annual event north, with the A-10 also receiving benefits in non-conference scheduling in the future. What was left to be determined is where the A-10 will play its men’s basketball tournament in 2017 and 2018, and on Thursday, the league made it official.

Pittsburgh will host the 2017 Atlantic 10 tournament with Washington, D.C. getting the honor the following season.

Both cities have quality arenas to host the event, with Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh and the Verizon Center in D.C. And there are Atlantic 10 members in both cities as well, with Duquesne being located in Pittsburgh and George Washington in the nation’s capital. Also of note with regards to Washington, D.C. is the fact that George Mason is located in nearby Fairfax, Virginia and Richmond (where both Richmond and VCU are located) is about two hours away.

The Verizon Center will host three different conference tournaments from 2016 to 2018, with the ACC there in 2016 and the Big Ten the following year due to the addition of new member Maryland.

After spending two seasons away from the Barclays Center the Atlantic 10 tournament will return in 2019, with that portion of the agreement running through 2021. Among the benefits received by the Atlantic 10 in exchange for the move are doubleheaders against ACC teams in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and an annual spot in the Brooklyn Hoops events held at the arena.

Guard Cameron Wright stands out in Pitt’s preseason scrimmage

New Era Pittsburgh Basketball
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After a subpar 2011-12 campaign the Pittsburgh Panthers rebounded some in 2012-13, returning to the NCAA tournament and finishing the season with a 24-9 record. But with leading scorer Tray Woodall (11.5 ppg, 5.1 apg), forward J.J. Moore (8.0 ppg) and centers Steven Adams (7.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and Dante Taylor (5.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg) all gone, head coach Jamie Dixon has some holes to fill as the Panthers begin life in the ACC.

One important question that needs answering is who will do the majority of the scoring, and Sunday’s Blue-Gold Scrimmage may have provided one of the answers. Cameron Wright’s half-court shot in the final seconds gave the Blue team a 68-67 victory, and the basket capped a 27-point afternoon for the 6-foot-4 guard. Wright shot 9-for-15 from the field (7-for-7 FT) while also accounting for six rebounds and five assists (two turnovers).

“Cameron really stood out today,” Dixon said. “He really played well today. He’s stronger, faster and in better shape and has a better understanding of what we’re trying to do.”

Talib Zanna was the other double-digit scorer on the Blue team as he finished with 19 points and a game-high 14 rebounds, and Lamar Patterson led three Gold team players in double figures with 17 points. Rutgers transfer Derrick Randall tallied 11 rebounds to go along with his seven points for the Gold.

Scrimmages should be taken with a grain of salt, but Wright’s outing should be seen as a step in the right direction for a player who averaged just 14.6 minutes per game last season (4.3 ppg, 1.4 rpg). Wright finished the 2012-13 season with a possession percentage of 16.8% per kenpom.com, but with three of the Panthers’ top five players in this category gone there will be opportunities for Wright (sophomore guard James Robinson, too) in 2013-14. The question is whether or not players like Wright take advantage of those opportunities.

With veterans such as Patterson and Zanna in the front court the Panthers will have the experience needed to battle some of the ACC’s top interior players, but how successful the Panthers are could boil down to how efficient they are offensively. Pitt was second in the Big East in offensive efficiency (conference games) last season, and if they can put together a similar performance despite some key losses the Panthers could factor into the ACC race in 2013-14.

Pittsburgh to hold ‘Morning Madness’ to tip off 2013-14 season (VIDEO)

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Last season the Pittsburgh Panthers opened up their season in a way that few programs have in recent years: they went outside. To celebrate the school’s 225th year Jamie Dixon’s squad practiced between the Cathedral of Learning and the William Pitt Union on Bigelow Boulevard, a night complete with the head coach dressed up as Jackie Moon from the moving “SemiPro.”

(Note: Dixon didn’t do any singing at the event, and if you’ve seen “SemiPro” you know the song.)

To open things up this season the Panthers will once again play basketball in an unfamiliar environment, this time doing so at Stage AE on September 28 with the action scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. Stage AE is a facility that sits adjacent to Heinz Field, which will allow Pitt fans to take in the festivities (including player skits and a dunk contest) prior to the football team hosting Virginia in its annual Homecoming game.

Homecoming’s always a good time to stage such events given how many people make the effort to return to campus to relive their college days and catch up with friends they likely haven’t seen in years, so that should enhance the atmosphere for Pitt’s public practice.  Add to that the fact that Dixon’s program will be doing so before a football game against a conference opponent (and the tailgaters should be ready considering the fact that kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. EST), and this has the potential to be an exciting day for Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh’s announcement of “Morning Madness” also came with a video of Coach Dixon donning “his” Flint Tropics warmups, and it will be interesting to see if Jackie Moon makes an appearance for the second consecutive year. The Panthers, who finished the 2012-13 season with a record of 24-9, will play their first season as an ACC member with three returning starters including forward Lamar Patterson and guard James Robinson.

h/t CBS Sports

Addition of 2014 center Steve McElvene gives Dayton needed size

Beth Stauffer/New Haven Bulletin
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With just three players taller than 6-6 who have eligibility past the 2013-14 season on the roster, the Dayton Flyers could use some additional size in its 2014 recruiting class. And that’s exactly what head coach Archie Miller has gained, as 6-11 center Steve McElvene announced his decision to verbally commit to the Atlantic 10 school.

McElvene played at New Haven High School in Indiana last year, helping lead his team to an 18-5 record. On a team that featured Notre Dame signee V.J. Beachem, McElvene made a name for himself as the season progressed and accounted for 39 points, 33 rebounds and ten blocked shots in two Indiana Class 4A regional games.

McElvene played with highly-touted prospects JaQuan Lyle (verbally committed to attend Louisville) and Trey Lyles (one of the top uncommitted players in the 2014 class) this summer with the Spiece Indy Heat program, averaging 9.3 points and 3.5 rebounds per game on the Nike EYBL circuit.

As McElvene enjoyed more success on the court, programs such as Kansas State, Pittsburgh and Purdue became even more interested in his services. But in the end the big man chose to commit to Dayton after taking an official visit to the school last weekend.

McElvene joins a front court that in 2014 will include Alex Gavrilovic, Jalen Robinson and Devon Scott, with Robinson (6.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg) being the most productive of the three in 2012-13. With 6-7 forward Devin Oliver (8.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg) entering his senior season the Flyers needed someone who can help them on the glass in 2014, and the addition of McElvene will help in this regard.

One and Done: Steven Adams to enter 2013 NBA draft

Steven Adams

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Pittsburgh freshman Steven Adams will leave school after one season and enter his name into the 2013 NBA Draft, the school announced in a statement Tuesday.

Adams is a 7-0, 250-pound native of New Zealand who averaged 7.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game as a freshman this past season.

“In discussing options with my family and Coach Dixon, I feel that it is in my best interest to declare for the NBA Draft,” Adams said in a release. “I want to thank everyone at Pitt including my teammates, coaching staff, the administration and the fans who have all supported me over the last year.”

“We support him in choosing to pursue his dreams and in having the opportunity to provide for his family back in New Zealand,” coach Jamie Dixon said in the release. “We will continue to stay involved in the process and he will always be a part of the Pitt Basketball family.”

Adams is one of 18 siblings and his father passed away when Adams was 14 years old.

He is projected by DraftExpress to be selected 19th overall in the 2013 draft. The team that drafts Adams will likely do it based on potential, as he continued to improve throughout the season but remains a player with a large set of raw skills but one with great opportunity for growth in the right coaching system.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Jamie Dixon signs extension with Pittsburgh through 2022-23

Jamie Dixon

To follow along with the 2013 Coaching Carousel, click here.

Speculation of Jamie Dixon taking the job opening at Southern California can end, as Pittsburgh announced Saturday that it has signed its head coach to a contract extension through the 2022-23 season.

Dixon led Pittsburgh to a 24-9 overall record this season, including 12-6 in the Big East. His Pittsburgh team was an 8-seed in the 2013 NCAA tournament and lost in the Round of 64 to 9-seed Wichita State.

“Pitt and Pittsburgh are home,” Dixon said in the release. “My family and I feel blessed to be part of such a great institution and wonderful city. It is the people who truly make a place special. I could not be surrounded by better players, staff and administration. These aren’t just people I work for and with every day. They’re friends and I’m very thankful for that.”

Dixon joined Pittsburgh in 1999 as an associate head coach and became head coach beginning in the 2003-04 season after Ben Howland moved to take over the same position at UCLA. In his 10 seasons with the Panthers, he has amassed an overall record of 262-86. Pittsburgh moves to the ACC for the start of the 2013-14 season.

“Very few programs can match the sustained success that Pitt basketball has achieved during the past decade under Jamie Dixon,” Pederson said. “As we move forward as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, our future has never been brighter or provided more opportunity.”

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_