Pitt had an abysmal 2011-2012 season. The Panthers’ 22-17 record provides definitive proof that a 20-game season is no longer a meaningful measure of success, as it includes a 6-14 conference mark and an 8-game losing streak that effectively put the perennial contender out of the running in late January. With the team scheduled to move to the ACC, many Big East fans may have considered the flop to be just desserts.
As of right now, however, the Panthers have something else to celebrate other than that CBI championship banner. Sought-after sophomore transfer Trey Zeigler announced via Twitter minutes ago that he will be attending Pitt next season.
The message was concise: “Just committed to the University of Pittsburgh! #hail2pitt”
For those who don’t know a Chippewa from a Bronco from an Eagle in the directional-Michigan depths of the MAC, the name Trey Zeigler might not mean much. The fact is, Zeigler was a major recruiting coup for the Chippewas of Central Michigan. Unlike the majority of Mid-American Conference starters, Zeigler fielded interest from the likes of Duke, Michigan and UCLA before deciding to stay and play for his pops, Ernie Zeigler, in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. When the Chippewas failed to capitalize on the 6’5″ prep star’s game, winning just 10 and 11 games in his first two seasons, Ernie was fired.
Rather than play for his dad’s replacement, Providence cast-off Keno Davis, Trey opened up his recruitment, and we now know that he has chosen to throw in his lot with Jamie Dixon. This is very good news for the Panther faithful. Zeigler was considered to be an NBA-level talent before his profile stagnated along with Central Michigan’s prospects. The younger Ziegler has been doing his part all along; he averaged 16 points per game over his first two seasons, and showed an impressive ability to kick in rebounds, assists, steals and even blocks as he attempted to will his team to a few more wins. Perhaps even more impressively, Zeigler didn’t foul out of a single game while basically carrying the team last year.
Watching what has become of Dixon’s mentor and predecessor Ben Howland in his sojourn at UCLA, observers may wonder if Dixon is due for a similar dropoff. The successful recruitment of Zeigler – by all accounts a model citizen – should put some of those fears to rest.