Blog Entry

New Zealand big man gives Pittsburgh huge hopes

Posted on: August 8, 2011 12:09 pm
 

By Jeff Goodman

Pittsburgh’s front-line is going to be downright terrifying in 2012.

Just imagine a scenario of senior Dante Taylor, sophomores Khem Birch and Malcolm Gilbert along with then-freshman Steven Adams.

Adams, if you haven’t heard by now, may have been the best player out in the adidas nations event this past weekend in Los Angeles.

Andre Drummond was there. So were Kaleb Tarczewski and Isaiah Austin.

Those are arguably the three best big men in the Class of 2011.

``If the kid played in the U.S., without question he’d be in the discussion with the best players in the country,” ESPN television analyst Sean Farnham told me of Adams on Sunday night. ``You can put him up there with Drummond, Shabazz (Muhammad), Isaiah Austin.”

Farnham said he left adidas nations more impressed by the 7-foot New Zealander, who went for 37 points and 14 boards on Saturday, than anyone else.

``He’s going to be a star in college,” added Farnham, a former UCLA player. ``A bonafide star. He’ll step right in from day one and make an impact.”

But that won’t happen until 2012.

I spoke to both Adams and his coach for the event, former NBA player/coach Alex English, after his final game on Sunday.

Adams, who recently turned 18, said the reason he opted to go to Pittsburgh was because it was his first scholarship offer – and it came largely because Dixon played with Adams’ brother back in New Zealand years ago.

``I’ve never been to Pittsburgh,” Adams said. ``I’ve only seen pictures on the Internet.”

``He’s very athletic,” English said. ``He can run the floor, blocks shots, rebounds well. He needs to learn how to play with his back to the basket and focus through the entire game.”

DraftExpress.com’s Jonathan Givony – who was also in attendance - added that while Adams’ “all-around offensive game and fundamentals” need some work, he’s a rare physical specimen “who will contribute immediately and is a huge steal for Pitt and very likely a future NBA player.”

English’s comparison was to former NBA star and ultra-athletic big man Tom Chambers – minus the perimeter shot.

Adams is currently ranked in the back half of Top 100 in the Class of 2012, but he’s likely to shoot up the rankings following his performance this past week.

``Pro, pro, pro,” said one college coach who has seen Adams play in person. ``He’s that good – and Pittsburgh’s big men will be as good as anyone’s in a couple years.”

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