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Pro-Am Summer League team-by-team breakdown

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The 2012 Pittsburgh Basketball Club Pro-Am will begin on Monday at the Green Tree Sportsplex. Rosters were released this week. Pitt’s J.J. Moore and Tray Woodall are recovering from injuries and won’t play. Based on the rosters, two teams, PGT and SPK, look to have a slight edge. But it’s the summer league. You never know.

Here is a look at each team.

PGT

Pitt players: Steven Adams, C, Fr.; James Robinson, G, Fr.; Trey Zeigler, G, Jr.; Lamar Patterson, G/F, Jr.

Other top players: Lucky Jones, G/F, Robert Morris; Darryl Webb, F, IUP grad

Under the Radar: T.J. Heatherington, G, Point Park

Outlook: This team is definitely the early favorite. Adams and Robinson, Pitt’s star incoming freshmen, and eligible transfer Zeigler will get to work together and are joined by Patterson, who shared Pitt MVP honors last season after a breakout year. Robinson will miss some action while playing for the USA Basketball U18 team in Brazil through June 20. Throw in RMU’s Jones, an NEC all-Rookie team member last season, and Webb, a former Division II national player of the year at IUP, and this team is as good as anyone. And don’t forget about Heatherington, an NAIA Division II first-team All-America after averaging a nation-best 24.5 points per game for Point Park.

UPMC

Pitt players: Malcolm Gilbert, C, So., Cameron Wright, G/F, Jr.

Other top player: Sean Johnson, G, Duquesne

Under the Radar: Blake Allen, G, Youngstown State

Outlook: This team could have trouble finding scorers. Wright, a rising redshirt sophomore, averaged 2.2 points per game last season and Gilbert (0.5 ppg), a 6-foot-11 sophomore, is a defensive specialist. Maybe this will force the two develop more of an offensive game (Wright shot 35 percent from the field last season and 3 of 18 from 3-point range). Johnson was Duquesne’s second-leading scorer last season at 13.5 ppg, and Allen was second for YSU in scoring and assists.

SPK

Pitt players: Talib Zanna, F/C, Jr.; John Johnson, G, So.; Chris Jones, G, Fr.

Other top players: Jakim Donaldson, F, Edinboro grad; Juwan Staten, PG, West Virginia

Under the Radar: Damien Eargle, F, Youngstown State

Outlook: Another squad with a mixture of experienced and new Pitt players. Zanna and Johnson are joined by Jones, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Teaneck, N.J. They have an excellent team around them. Donaldson is the reigning league MVP and Staten, who sat out last season at WVU after transferring from Dayton, was named to the 2011 all-league team last summer. Eargle was third in the nation in blocked shots last season at 3.74 per game. He also averaged 11.1 points and 7.5 rebounds. With a summer league legend (Donaldson), a quality point guard (Staten), a top shot blocker and a trio of Pitt players, this team is a factor.

SCT

Pitt players: Dante Taylor, C, Sr.; Durand Johnson, F, R-Fr.

Other top players: Coron Williams, G, Robert Morris; Russell Johnson, F, Robert Morris

Under the Radar: Nick Novak, G, Pitt-Johnstown

Outlook: Taylor should be one of the top inside players, if not the best, in the pro-am. He was among the leading rebounders last summer and entering his senior season at Pitt, should have his most productive pro-am to date. Johnson didn’t a whole lot last summer as a new freshman, but after a redshirt and a year of lifting – and getting praise from coach Dixon for his practice – it will be interesting to see how much he has progressed. This team also has two of the top players from a 26-win Robert Morris team — Williams, who averaged 10.8 points and was the only player to start all 37 games, and Johnson, a high-flying 6-6 wing who was outstanding in this league last summer. Novak was a first-team all-WVIAC guard after averaging 19.4 points for Pitt-Johnstown.

DA

Pitt players: Aron Nwankwo, F, So.

Other top players: Jarabi Hinds, G, West Virginia; Lance Jeter, G, Nebraska grad

Under the Radar: Matt Humphrey, G, West Virginia

Outlook: The only Pitt player on the team is a walk-on, but Nwankwo has good size (6-7, 205) and contribute in this league. Jeter and Hinds give DA one of the top backcourts in the will lead the way. Jeter, a former Beaver Falls and Nebraska star who plays overseas in Holland, is a regular on the all-summer league team. Hinds, a sophomore averaged 7.4 points and led the Mountaineers in assists (108) and steals (46) last season. Humphrey was the second-leading scorer at Boston College last season before transferring to Morgantown. This team also has WVU’s Kevin Noreen, coming back from a season-ending ankle injury, and a quartet of Duquesne players, including Marvin Binney, a 6-2 transfer from New Mexico Junior College for first-year Dukes coach Jim Ferry.

Center Court

Pitt players: None

Other top players: Velton Jones, G, Robert Morris; Kendrick Perry, G, Youngstown State

Under the Radar: Derrick Colter, G, Duquesne

Outlook: There are no Pitt players on Center Court, but they have a pair of first-team all-conference guards in Jones and Perry. Jones was a first-team all-NEC selection after averaging 16 points per game for Robert Morris, and Perry, an all-summer league pick last year, netted all-Horizon League honors averaging 16.8 points and 2.4 steals for YSU. Colter, an incoming freshman, is a quick 5-10 guard who averaged 22.5 points per game as a senior last year in suburban D.C. They have size with 7-1 Duquesne center Martins Abele, and quality forward/wings with Duquesne’s Jerry Jones and RMU’s Lijah Thompson.

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