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Sunday column: Reviewing Dixon, previewing next year

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

The Sunday column lauds the Jamie Dixon extension while also taking a deeper position-by-position look into what’s to come for Pitt hoops in 2013-14.

Here, too, is Kevin Gorman’s news coverage of Dixon.

And below is this morning’s Trib Sunday cover …

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.


  1. OZ says:

    Grass isn’t always greener…good news for Pitt fans

  2. Stuart says:

    Nice column DK. Totally agree on Jamie. Looking forward to the ACC.

    Time to switch to baseball now that Pitt is in good hands next year and for years to come.


    DK: There’s another season going on right now that’s markedly more important, anyway.

    Glad you liked the column, Stu. Thanks!

  3. AZBucsFan says:

    I just hope Dixon is true to his word, unlike many other college coaches, who sign big contracts only to bolt at the first sign of better money or a chance to coach a better program. I also hope Pitt can recruit better offensive-type players for their switch to the ACC. Defense and rebounding will only take a team so far in a conference where Duke, UNC and others simply outscore most of their opponents. Good luck to Pitt next season.

  4. zivkov34 says:

    My apologies to PITT basketball fans with Jamie Dixon receiving a 10 year extension….. While PITT was constantly being ranked in the top 20 – Here is what has Actually happened the past 10 years —– WEST VIRGINIA HAS…. Sweet 16 2005, sweet 16 2006, 2007 NIT Champions, 2008 first round win-second round loss to Kentucky, Big East Tournament Championship 2010, final four 2010, AND a 2012 first round loss in NCAA Tourney to while Pitt was busy Winning the CBI Which hosts the Last of The top 16 teams out of the Top 116 in the nation (no Joke)

  5. zivkov34 says:

    Please forgive me if I’m one of those stats tends to be slightly off, I don’t have a fact checker.

  6. zivkov34 says:

    Please forgive me if any of the above stats are slightly off, I don’t have a fact checker.*

  7. kr70 says:

    Agree Pitt needs to “relearn” feeding the post. Too many pick and rolls and too many post up on the blocks where Adams was open that were ignored. If that happens next year whoever it is should be seating at the end of the bench. Adams has shown as much ability as a passer as he has as a scorer and defender. Next year’s slogan should be “feed the beast”

  8. JAL says:

    JAL’s Talking Baseball Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 Spring Training Tracker

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    Prospect Notebook: Good Pitching in the Class A Games

    Draft Prospect Watch: Stanek Throws Complete Game Gem

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Rookies can’t succeed as backups: Myth or reality?

    Pirates’ relievers excellent in 5-3 win


    The WHYGAVS Spring Training Extravaganza: Jeanmar Gomez and Stefan Welch teach us the true meaning of Spring Training

    8 Maine Sunday Telegram

    Boston starters fall to Pittsburgh

    9 Rumbunter

    Jeff Locke Unimpressive Against Red Sox, Pirates Win Late 5-3

    10 Green Weenie

    Pedro’s Blast Buries Bosox 5-3

  9. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Rant Sports

    John McDonald and Pittsburgh Pirates are Perfect for Each Other

    12 Yahoo Sports

    Should the Pittsburgh Pirates Trade Garrett Jones?–mlb.html

    13 Minor League Ball

    2013 MLB Mock Draft Version One

    14 KDKA

    Pirates’ Starling Marte Has Superstar Potential

    15 Washington Times

    MLB 2013 Preview: Pittsburgh Pirates

    16 Bleacher Report

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ Season Preview: Starting Pitcher

    17 Beaver County Times

    McCutchen is star of The Show

    18 PBC SITE

    Alvarez, Jones blasts boost Bucs over Red Sox

    Rotation hopeful Locke able to limit hometown team

  10. JAL says:

    Talking Baseball Terry Cashman 1981 Cashman played minor league ball in the Tigers organization. In the 1960s he also was in the group Cashman, Pistilli and West, later Cashman and West. They a few modest hits, the highest charting one, “American City Suite” hit 27 on
    Billboard’s chart. Cashman and Pistilli also wrote Sunday will Never be the Same, a hit for Spanky and Our Gang . Cashman did a parody of the song, Talking Softball, for an episode of the Simpsons. In 2011 Cashman was honored by the Baseball HOF.

  11. John Lease says:

    I would, but your repetition annoys me…

  12. John Lease says:

    Pirates spare themselves from re-tread Hawpe.

    Good news!

  13. 21sthebest says:

    Just to follow up DK, in 2012 the highest paid federal employee is Navy Football Coach Ken Niumatalolo, who makes $1,538,190 a year. No. 2 is Troy Calhoun of Air Force at $860,000.

    By the way, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court makes $224,000. Judge Judy makes $45 million annually.

  14. Drew71 says:

    The mirror annoys me. But that’s a different matter.

  15. Drew71 says:

    That’s pretty good for government work.

    I’m gonna buy myself a whistle.

  16. Eric Bowser says:

    Let’s hope this is the last time Dixon goes to Pitt and asks for a new contract due to some team offering him more money and years. I’m not a fan of that and if he wants the questions to stop, then stop re-working your deal.

    Now he needs to win, has to win. Adams says he’s coming back and I hope between now and November, he learns a few inside moves in the post as I wasn’t all that impressed with his footwork and moves. He needs to move his feet, dip the shoulder and get inside position going to glass.

  17. 21sthebest says:

    Howland fired.

  18. 21sthebest says:

    5 contract re-workings in 10 years.

  19. bdubb says:

    Dixon commented on the TNT set yesterday that he “is trying to figure out what makes Tom Izzo so successful” and Steve Smith, a former Spartan, said it was his pre-season schedule and the shooters he has. Michigan State seems to play the same type of ball Pitt does but with a little more freedom and better shooters all around.

    I think the out-of-conference schedule is important and maybe the ACC will help with its different brand of basketball. Big East is so physical and you don’t get many up-tempo teams. Since Jaime doesn’t like to schedule a quality opponent they only get to see one style and can’t adapt in the post season.

    Hopefully that light went on with Adams in the second half. If he plays like that next year he can be an 18-12 guy. But my biggest concern about this last Pitt team was who got better? Pitt prides itself in player development and I didn’t see any returning player get better. Moore regressed. Patterson got worse. Zanna isn’t ready for big time competition.

    Most curious to see how JD adapts. No doubt he was not happy with the way this team executed and prepared. I am interested to see how he adjusts to the game in the years to follow

  20. Drew71 says:

    Yes, Dejan. The Greatfruit League.

  21. Drew71 says:

    Weren’t some of those rewards or choices initiated by pitt?

  22. zivkov34 says:

    If the site allowed it I would’ve deleted the first comment which I typed too fast.

  23. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t know. I’d guess so. I have absolutely no criticism of him even if all of those were his doing. I think he’s an excellent coach and someone you’d want to have running your program and a great mentor of student-athletes. I just don’t think he coaches well at key times but I think he can still improve. I’d also like to see how he recruits moving in to the ACC.

  24. zivkov34 says:

    Anyway… University of Pittsburgh Basketball 2003-2013 v. West Virginia University Basketball 2003-2013

    – Look at the facts, the stats, and even the Coaches

  25. Drew71 says:

    As long as we’re consistent.

    Since maybe a third of all coaches exercise their leverage – and most of the other two thirds wish they could – if you are griping about the way the world should be vs how it is, I get that. It might surprise you to learn that essentially I agree.

    If it is to specifically complain about Dixon and hold him to a different standard than how the rest of major college sports operates, I would find that to be totally unfair to Dixon. And from a practical standpoint, it would put pitt in a non-competitive hole.

  26. Drew71 says:

    Agree, agree and agree to your three points

  27. Drew71 says:

    This post was in response to EB’s

  28. zivkov34 says:

    Didn’t This “Paper” used to be based out of Greensburg? Those were the days when one could read about West Virginia Sports…

  29. Maybe West Virginia can go after him. They like the big names who are in decline.

  30. Drew71 says:

    Lightning fire Guy Boucher.

    If the link works…

    Totally understand. Too much talent, too little result. At least not consistently.

  31. Drew71 says:

    Howland was under contract for four more seasons, through 2017.

    According to Forbes, Howland’s annual salary is $2 million.

    In today’s story:
    “Howland was under contract through 2017 and firing him now will invoke a buyout of $3.2 million, according to terms of his contract.”

    So. To those of you who white-knuckled yesterday that pitt HAS to pay Dixon for 10 years, or that his incentive is removed, there are BUYOUTS in these contracts. In Howland’s case, worth 1.6 seasons.

    Granted, most of us could live comfortably for the rest of our lives on “just” 1 or 2 years of these salaries. But the point is, they are not guarantees; buyouts are included; egos are involved; incentive remains.

  32. Arriba Wilver says:

    But the Chief Justice has a job for life. ;-)

  33. TJ says:

    Wait someone was fired for having talent and not getting results? Sounds like he should have got an extension!

  34. RobertoForever says:

    Yeah, what season could be ‘markedly’ more important than a team on the verge of breaking a two decade losing streak.

    Although that would destroy his dream of covering the 25th year of the losing streak. So, I understand the lowered expectations.

  35. Drew71 says:

    Boucher has not made (or is not on track to make) the playoffs in 90% of his seasons.
    Boucher’s team is in next to last place in the conference.
    – Down from 10th place from the prior season.
    — Down from 5th place from the season prior to that.

    Don’t get me wrong. It was a snidely clever comment. And I live for snide.

    But it was based on an analogy not supported by facts, and not built on an even or even fair comparison.

  36. Eric Bowser says:

    Can you name me another men’s college basketball coach who has had that many contract changes in the last 10 years? I’d assume by the commonality being posed, it shouldn’t be hard and the class of which the coaches named are probably in the top 10 of coaches.

  37. TJ says:

    Drew; c’mon you know I’m sarcastic

  38. TJ says:

    But if you want to draw true comparisons. How many times do we hear fire Tomlin or fire Bylsma?

  39. TJ says:

    And my sarcasm was simply based on your too much talent, too little result comment not even on the coach or his record.

  40. Drew71 says:

    Yeah. I suspected sarcasm as I wrote it.

    And i can never hear that too many times (re “fire”)

    I also live for firing

  41. Drew71 says:

    When is the pitt game thread going up?

  42. Thundercrack says:

    I liked Link #12 and I agree with the writer. We should keep Garrett Jones. I think he’s too valuable to trade away, too many question marks around the replacements for him in the outfield, not always comfortable with what we might get in return. Give Clint the good problem of finding playing time for everyone.

    Hey, while we’re at it give GI Jones a contract extension.

  43. TJ says:

    They lost a few days ago; unless there is one for perhaps their end of season meeting with the coach (more sarcasm)

  44. JoeyBats says:

    VERY happy Coach Jamie is coming back.

    1. He needs to re-examine the “defense first” style in the ACC. They are not playing old Big East “rugby” in the ACC.
    2. He needs to take a fresh look at the contributions of his assistant coaches….and see where they can add value as a future recruiting base. Where is Barry Rohrssen …or the NEXT Barry R like recruiter?
    Gotta get more / better player than run the court more effectively and can SHOOT the ball!
    3. Review & reevaluate the roles of the current players. Take a critical look at your players . The best returnees are the current FRESHMAN !!!! Continue to work on Steven Adams low post game and make sure he becomes more “selfish ” as a sophomore. In the offseason…..ensure that James Robinson, runs and runs and works off the 10-12 lounds of baby fat he is carrying. His court presence and floor game are awesome for an 18 year old.
    …….Lamar Patterson (although a senior) can be a “turnover machine” at times. When he starts “slow” …he is done for the entire game. Talib Zanna (improved a lot from his previous season ) still….he feasted on the weak opponents and pads his stats on the little sisters of the poor. JJ Moore AFTER all of this time remains a very STREAKY shooter…and he is mostly offf. :-( Freshman, 6’8″, Michael Young may offer some help on the boards next year replacing Dante Taylor.
    The # 2 guard spot remains the aread of biggest concern ==> Can Wright has ZERO offensive game. Trey Ziegler has a nice slashing move to the hoop , but in his first year with the team, little else – hoping he can develop more in the offseasn. MAYBE, Jamie can also recruit a JUCO guy here? …in case Newkirk doesn’t develop fast enough??
    When all is said & done….I would rather have Jamie at the helm….taking this team into the future. Hope that he is savvy enough to keep making smart adjustments.

  45. Jason81 says:

    Labor Day

  46. RobertoForever says:


    I think we should have a poetry thread today. I enjoyed the Frost adaption yesterday.

  47. RobertoForever says:

    Firing isn’t as fun as hiring. Unless its firing a nemesis.

    Maybe you should hir TC so you have the pleasure of firing him :D

  48. Drew71 says:

    I would take a somewhat different approach to the ACC. Remember, those schools are no more used to pitt’s rugby than pitt is used to their cricket.

    Keep the D. Add some shooters.

    As someone smarter than me pointed out yesterday, that formula = Tom Izzo, who Dixon has mentioned he wants to emulate.


    Emulate from beyond the arc.

  49. Drew71 says:

    Well. At least SOMEbody got it.

    Here’s the first verse of an E.E. Cummings poem.

    everybody happy?
    we we we
    and to hell with the chappy
    who doesn’t agree

    He was writing about blogs

  50. Drew71 says:

    He said it, Thunder. Not me.

    But by the way, Thunder. Can you come into my office?

    And bring your play book.

  51. Patrick(RI) says:

    I have no grounds to partake in analysis of the Pitt situation, as I am not a fan of Pitt, and have been seriously offended by the impact BigEastESPN league has had on college BB.

    But, I would like to offer the opinion that calling Dixon a loser is just plain stupid. Sure, he gets huge salaries which makes Pitt professors look like serfs, but his program has been excellent by any standards. It does appear that his negotiating skills are a bit superior to his coaching skill, but not by much.

    I am certain there are fans of one of my favorite teams, VCU, that are calling for Shaka’s head after that pitiful display of shooting the put on yesterday, and his post-season success rate is astounding.

    If Dixon was truly as concerned for the mental state of his guard as it appeared he was, then he is a good man. If not, then he is an accomplished actor who will look good prancing around the sidelines in Italian suits for 10 years,or so.

  52. Thundercrack says:

    I loved how people felt Howland was underpaid at $2 million per year…because he had to live off that money while living in L.A.

  53. Thundercrack says:

    I wanted to fire him when he was sitting next to me at the game the other day.

    And I think the feeling was mutual.

  54. Thundercrack says:

    Nice story on The Fort in the other paper this morning.

    I think he played in every game I attended this past week (3 games) and he busted his butt in every one of them.

  55. Thundercrack says:

    Looking at headlines there seems to be a lot of key players getting injured around MLB. Knock on wood – we don’t have many. (except for the pitchers that started camp injured).

    Astros signed Rony Cedeno. The Rangers are looking for a backup infielder. And it seems some teams have signed other recently cut infielders to minor league deals.

    So maybe NH’s deal for McDonald was a good one. Just sayin’.

  56. Drew71 says:

    Dejan, the Pirates game thread is not up yet.

  57. Drew71 says:

    Thank you.

  58. You misspelled the poet’s name——

    . . . it’s e. e. cummings.

    He is afraid of tall buildings and capital letters!

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