Thursday, April 09, 2009

Adreian Payne

I talked to Payne's coach, Art Winston, to see how things are going in the recruitment of his star big man, and I took two things away from the conversation. One, it may be awhile before Payne gets his voluminous list down, and, two, there are so many elite programs involved that Pitt's chances are not great at this time.

The first thing Winston asked is if Jamie Dixon was still going to be there at Pitt, because he has heard about him mentioned with many openings. Then Winston again reiterated that he and Payne like Pitt's system and thinks he would be a good fit. He said they have a dish and tape as many games as they can so that they can see how each team plays. And they like how Pitt plays in their half court offense and how they play well in transition. He feels Pitt's style and Payne's style mesh nicely. But, of course, Pitt isn't the only school that matches that criteria.

Also, they are looking to see how many highly ranked players each program have at the same position. "We don't want a team with a lot of 6'9" or 6'10" kids coming in every year so that he consistently has to fight for minutes," said Winston. As for Blair leaving for the NBA, Winston said it makes no difference because even if Blair stayed all four years, Payne would only have played with him one year.

Winston also said that Payne, at 6'9", is more of a power forward than a center, but we agreed that there are few true centers in the college game anyway, so it didn't really matter. Winston sees no problem with Payne and Dante Taylor playing together. He also said that Payne handles the ball a lot and could even see him playing small forward in the NBA.

Back to Pitt, Winston said they would like to visit Pitt unofficially "when his AAU schedule settles down". He said that with Pitt about four and a half hours away, they will just go unofficially so that they can see the campus, and talk to the players and coaches. There will be many unofficial visits if they are close and Kentucky and Florida was also mentioned as probable visits.

We then talked about internet chatter that mentioned Payne as probably staying in Ohio for college. Winston vehemently downplayed that and said that Payne only went to Dayton and Xavier so often because they were local and have been recruiting him for the longest time. Winston emphasized that Payne will play wherever he feels like he fits in best, and that could be in Ohio or not.

Bottom line, Pitt has a chance, but there's an awful long way to go and a lot of elite programs to beat. Time will tell if Pitt hangs in there.


At 10:13 PM, Blogger jhaskins23 said...

Thanks for that interview Chris. Do you think Pitt will even have three scholarships for next year? I guess if somehow Pitt could get Epps and two other guys like Payne and Barton/Lamb/Kyrie Irving caliber you make room. Pitt will have a ton of 6' 7" to 6' 9" guys on their roster who are only one year of eligibility older than Payne so that might be a turn off. It's good there is still a chance, who knows maybe he will be blown away on his visit and it will improve our chances. Payne seems like a luxury though since we have so many bigs with nice potential. We could use another 2/3 player like Barton though so we can hang pace-wise with teams that press and use a three guard system.

At 10:44 PM, Blogger Chris Dokish said...

I can definitely see Pitt using three scholarships next year. I can see a shooting guard and a center. Payne, Barton, Lamb, and Irving have dozens of schools after them, though. The competition is brutal. I don't want the fans to get too excited yet. At least until things progress and we can see just how much of a shot Pitt has.

I have to disagree with you somewhat, though, on Payne being a luxury. He is a top 15 prospect who has unlimited potential. He is a little raw, but Payne, Epps, and Taylor down the road would be a potential national championship contender.

At 11:05 PM, Blogger jhaskins23 said...

I should have used a different word than luxury. I guess what I meant was from a position standpoint we need guards more than big guys and Payne is a big guy. As far as luxuries go, Payne would be one of those Mercedes V-12's. That would be a pretty amazing group of players. Hope we can get them and its great we are even in the mix. We have come a long way in our recruiting.

At 11:29 PM, Blogger Chris Dokish said...

Payne adds a defensive presence in the paint which would be extremely useful. As far as a shot blocker, he is light years ahead of Taylor and Zanna. That's another reason why I said he would be valuable. He gives something different then the other Panther big guys. It would be a huge coup. We'll see if Pitt can pull it off. But first things first. Pitt needs to get him on campus at some point.

At 12:17 AM, Blogger Yinzer said...

Great info, I was actually searching a lot around the web for info on Payne tonight and this article came just when I was searching. I was a little surprised by the Dixon staying comment. I would think that it would seem pretty clear that at this point that Dixon is staying. I thought like 9 or so people have offered him and he hasn't bit. So, what is the question about really? I thought this would instill confidence rather than doubt. It shows he's a great coach but not likely going anywhere. Thoughts?

At 12:38 AM, Blogger Chris Dokish said...

Everything is fair game in recruiting and there is no doubt that other schools are telling kids that Dixon may leave. These guys are major salesmen and they do their best to plant that seed.


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