What We Learned from the Pittsburgh Summer League

Paul SieversAnalyst IJuly 25, 2009

BOSTON - MARCH 26:  Brad Wanamaker #22 of the Pittsburgh Panthers drives to the hoop against the Xavier Musketeers during the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament East Regionals at TD Banknorth Garden on March 26, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

There has been some debate over the importance of the summer league and how much the players actually benefit from it. The fact that nobody from WVU played this year certainly hurts the credibility and probably means we should take the success of the Panthers with even more of a grain of salt this year.

However, the league has done wonders for the local basketball scene. The more Pittsburgh develops into a city that cares about basketball 12 months out of the year, the more attractive the program will to recruits.

Also, there is definitely something to be said for having these guys playing together and developing chemistry in a formalized setting. Who knows how beneficial the summer league is, but it certainly isn't a detriment.

Mark Steinbrink at pantherlair.com did a phenomenal job recapping the performance of all the Panthers in the league. Here were the most interesting reviews from Steinbrink's article.

Jermaine Dixon

When healthy, Dixon was the best player in the league. He knocked down shots, but didn't rely on it; he was great at attacking the basket; and he also displayed above average passing ability.

Dixon is essentially third in line at the point guard spot, although he will be working from the two guard spot where he will be forced to hold off a surging Brad Wanamaker.

Brad Wanamaker

Whether he starts or not, Wanamaker will get starter's minutes. He is more than capable of starting, and the majority of his minutes will be at shooting guard but he will also see some time at small forward.

Wanamaker is the best player on the roster at the dribble drive; he stays low and utilizes a low dribble until he gets by his defender when he can finish at the rim or draw contact. That is still his strength, and he can get into the paint on just about anybody.

Wanamaker's outside shot has improved, but he was hesitant to use it this summer. He will need to use it this season, and that will be the key to setting up the other parts of his game. He is a quality perimeter defender with quick hands, although he also has a bad habit of reaching.

If he can become more solid on defense and still improve his long range jumper, he is poised to have a breakout year. He is adept at attacking the rim, and big, physical guards usually fare well in the Big East. This really could be Wanamaker's year, and he could contend for the sixth man of the year award, assuming he stays in that role all season.

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