Paul Zeise's Pitt basketball chat transcript: 12.10.13

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Paul Zeise: OK, welcome to the chat - let's get started - fire some questions about Pitt hoops

Patrick Chambers: Come on guys we are a GOOD team!!!! Please believe me!!

Paul Zeise: This was pretty funny way to start things to be honest. I know his frustration, people think Penn State is automatically bad in basketball. And he is fighting to try and change that. of course, as one media member pointed out to him - it would help people take you more serious if you didn't lose to Bucknell....

Drewski: Does the ACC seem down this year? Looks like a really top heavy conference but I only see 7 teams in the dance right now.

Paul Zeise: Seven? Wow, you are pretty optimistic. I think the conference is way down and there are going to be some sad faces come NCAA time unless some of these teams don't get there act together quickly. Again, Jamie Dixon warned about this at ACC media day when all these other guys were talking about "best conference ever" and he said quite simply "we have a lot of teams who have first or second year coaches and are rebuilding. You have to win games before you talk about it." I think Pitt is in great shape to finish in the top four in the conference, to be honest.

chicago_pitt_fan: when is pitt's first loss? nc st? cincy? or do we go into syracuse game undefeated?

Paul Zeise: I think they will have a real opportunity to be undefeated going into the Syracuse game, I really do. At the same time, I don't think they will. I don't think they will lose to CIncy, but something tells me they will lose one of those ACC games will be a loss. Maybe one of the two road games before then (GT or NC St) or Maryland, who isn't bad. It will be interesting to see how things unfold.

Rick: Hi Paul, First Congratulations to your son on his Honors and signing to go to Pitt. I have been impressed with Artis and Young as Freshaman, not so much with Newkirk. Who is the best recruit for next yera of the 3 committed ? How Good is their Shaq ?

Paul Zeise: I would say no question Sheldon Jeter is their best recruit for next year and for this reason - he is ready to play. He already has a year, a successful year, of Division I basketball under his belt. He proved at Vanderbilt he can play at the highest level and so he will come in ready to play. Ryan Luther is a good player, he may need to adjust to Division I and Jamie's system as he won't be the biggest guy on the floor every night. Shaq is a project, but he is big and that is a great start. But I'll be shocked if he contributes much his first year. I think he will be a good player, but reading about him and talking to Jamie Dixon about him, it sounds like he has a long, long way to go because he hasn't played much.

Jimbo: What ACC team are you looking forward to playing? Who do you think we look like the most? Talent and transition wise?

Paul Zeise: Being as this will be my first time through the league - I am pretty excited to cover every game, well with the exception of the Virginia game because I can't stand that brand of basketball. I know that Tony Bennett has been very successful and all that stuff, doesn't mean I have to like the way they play. But other than that game, I am interested in watching all the games. The UNC game could be a lot of fun, the Syracuse and ND games are always fun and of course, Duke on Big Monday.

JJVT: Any update on the status of Derrick Mostella?

Paul Zeise: Not yet but being as the semester is coming to a close we will find out something very soon. Again, it is academics and so it is up to him to get all the things done he needs to get done in order to get eligible. At this point, it might not be the worst thing in the world if he has to wait an extra semester to enroll and get a full summer of school without basketball to transition to college - both academically and with regards to working out in a less formal atmosphere.

We Can Shoot This Year!: Today, which is the better basketball conference? The ACC or BIG East

Paul Zeise: I think the ACC on the strength of the top four or five teams is better but I think the bottom of the Big East may be better so the Big East may be more competitive. Villanova may be the best team in either league, though Syracuse is obviously very good, as well.

sdk: What is health status of JC center transfer for this year and next?

Paul Zeise: Joe Uchebo's health is a mystery. The update is the same as it has been for nearly two months. He is working out, he is progressing, he is getting healthier, he is getting closer - in other words, I don't think he is particularly close to being healthy enough to play but I do expect to see him at some point this season, though it could get to a point where a redshirt makes more sense (assuming he has a redshirt year) then playing.

Drewski: Who do you look to keep playing at a high level come ACC play? Flip side, who's production do you see levling off?

Paul Zeise: A tremendous question. I think Patterson will continue play well. Robinson hasn't shot well but he has played well and will continue. I may be naive but I think Zanna won't disappear - he is a senior, he seems to have worked on his game. I think Cameron wright will do what he does. So I think the top four will be fine. The X-factor will be the freshmen and some of the guys off the bench. I think we have seem some inconsistencies from Young and Artis - they are getting better - and Newkirk and I'd expect that to continue.

Drewski: I wish the ACC/Big ten challenge was drawn similar to the world cup - with say the field split in thirds, then draw for home and away games after that. Pots would be based off pre-season rankings- Thoughts? I think they can avoid a lot of garbage games this play while making for some interesting TV. Or am I just too excited for the world cup?

Paul Zeise: Yeah I think you have the World Cup on your brain. The thing is put together to try and get the teams playing against each other that seem to be similar in the pecking order in their respective conferences. Also, TV has a large say in the thing. To me, it would have made more sense to have Pitt play OSU and Maryland play PSU but I think part of it was the ACC allowed Maryland - a team that is leaving the conference - to become a sacrificial lamb and sent them to get pounded by OSU and gave Pitt a fairly certain win. The problem is this - and some people still don't want to listen to me -- the ACC is not very good beyond the top four or five. That has to change if the conference wants better games and better outcomes.

Ed DeChellis: Patrick, no you are not a good team! Trust me, I left that dumpster fire for Navy after a NCAA bid! NAVY!!!!

Paul Zeise: Now this is pretty funny too. I think Patrick Chambers is an excellent coach, he really is and that team, because of those two guards, is going to be a pain in the neck to play.

Rick: Paul, I know this is BB talk, but could I slip one FB question in here ? Where do see Aaron Donald being Drafted and could he play for the Steelers ?

Paul Zeise: Do you think he is a 3-4 defensive end or a 4-3 defensive tackle? This is going to be one of those questions a lot of scouts and NFL guys are going to ask themselves over the next two months and that will certainly affect his draft status, both how high he goes and where he goes.

Rick: I think he definitely could play in the 4-3. Do you think he could play in the Steelers 3-4 ? What round is Aaron being Projected in Now ?

Paul Zeise: It is funny some have him in second round - some have him - third or below and mostly because of his size. He is only 6-foot, 285 and that will be used against him though he was so was impressive and so productive that I bet someone grabs him earlier, like second round. I don't see him being a 3-4 end though, I think he is a tackle in a 4-3 scheme and it is going to have to be a team that wants its tackles to get up field as opposed to just plug

Paul Zeise: OK, that is about it, thanks as always for participating. Next week we will do it from New York City as the Panthers will play Cincy at MSG that night (Tuesday). Have a great week and maybe I'll see you Saturday when the Panthers play the Penguins.......though not the ones with Crosby, Malkin and Fleury.....

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