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Thursday Wakeup Call: Oh, those ‘freelance’ Panthers

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, lunatics …

>> The weekly chat will be pushed back to Friday at noon. I’m spending the better part of the morning flying down to Bradenton, so the logistics just didn’t work.

>> Tried to catch up with as many of the other local teams as possible leading up to this coming week of baseball, from the weekend with the Penguins, the Pitt football news conference, the Steelers column yesterday … and I went to the Pete last night to catch the Panthers pulling away from South Florida, 64-44.


Yeah, they won. And Steven Adams — captured above by our Chaz Palla — showed a few more flashes.

But man, that’s a tough team to watch, isn’t it?

And from the sound of Jamie Dixon and the players afterward, it’s apparently a tough team to coach, too, since Dixon pretty much scrapped set plays in the second half and told them to go do whatever they wanted so long as the ball wound up in the bucket.

“Freelance,” Dixon called it.

Here’s video of his entire session, courtesy of the excellent site

“I just wanted them to play basketball, and they did see the results right away,” he’d add. “Sometimes, you’ve just got to play.”

That’s astounding.

For as long as Dixon’s headed the program, I can’t recall a single time such a thing — if it’s ever happened — became public. But such is the state of the Panthers’ shooting that, really, I’m not sure it isn’t a brilliant idea to simply leave it up to the athletes’ instincts to produce points.

>> Huge upset for a way, way down Penn State program last night. Scott Brown was there.

>> It’s Penguins vs. Jordan Staal tonight in Raleigh. Not feeling that vibe just yet. Staal’s got to play in Pittsburgh for that to be an event, doesn’t he?

At any rate, Rob Rossi and Staal revisit the momentous trade.

>> Best news all day: Evgeni Malkin on ice.

>> Another in TribLIVE Radio’s video series on the Steelers’ draft, done expertly by our Ken Laird …

>> Here’s a podcast of my visit with John Steigerwald yesterday.

>> Amid all the other blog upgrades you might be noticing of late, we’re working on embedding the chat right here. That would be neat. Not sure if it’ll be ready by tomorrow, but next week for sure.

There’s more to come, too. We have more we can do with this software than what’s been shown.

>> Hard to believe it’s been five years …

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Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.

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