Pitt Basketball Picked 6th In ACC Preseason Poll; Dixon Lands 7-Foot Center


Oct 29, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers head coach Jamie Dixon during ACC basketball media day at The Westin. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Early this week, Jamie Dixon landed a “big” commitment for the Class of 2015 in 7-foot, 318-pound center Rozelle Nix.

Nix will be a sophomore at Pensacola (Fla.) State this upcoming season, so he will have two seasons of eligibility at Pitt. He joins guard Damon Wilson for the incoming 2015 class.

He had also considered South Carolina and Loyola Marymount, but one of his coaches is former Pitt center Ontario Lett, who played under Ben Howland at Pitt.

Since arriving at Pensacola, it has been reported that Nix dropped 70 pounds and currently weighs in at 318. He averaged 6.5 points and 5 rebounds last season.

According to the ACC preseason poll, the media has selected the Pitt Panthers to finish sixth in the 15-team league.  The Panthers received 592 points, behind the favorite Duke (935), North Carolina (870), newcomer Louisville (847), defending ACC Champion Virginia (824), and Syracuse (706).

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Behind Pitt, Notre Dame (515), Florida State (506), NC State (478), and Miami (442) round out the top 10. The bottom five includes Clemson (330), Wake Forest (221), Georgia Tech (195), Boston College (184), and Virginia Tech (155).

Dixon’s Panthers finished 26-10 (11-7 ACC) in Pitt’s first season in the ACC. “We’re always playing in the toughest league in the country, so there’s some pretty good teams always put in front of us,” said Dixon.

Senior guard Cameron Wright is sidelined with a broken left foot, and there is no return date set as of now. Wright is expected to miss some of the nonconference games.

The preseason All-ACC team doesn’t include any Pitt Panthers, as UNC junior guard Marcus Paige, Virginia junior guard Malcolm Brogdon, Notre Dame senior forward Jerian Grant, Louisville forward Montrezl Harrell, and Duke freshman center Jahlil Okafor made the selection. Paige was voted Player of the Year, while Okafor was voted Rookie of the Year.

ACC commissioner John Swofford said, “This may be the strongest collection of basketball programs in history.”

Pitt will scrimmage IUP on Friday night at the Peterson Events Center, and there first game is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 14 against Niagara.