Pittsburgh Basketball wins its first game of the foreign tour, thanks to some nice performances. One of them includes newcomer, Carlton Carrington.
One of many teams taking on foreign exhibition trips, Pittsburgh Basketball is currently in Spain to take on a pair of international opponents with its new roster. Two players (Jorge Diaz-Graham and Federiko Federiko) are out but everyone else was available to take on the Tenerife All-Stars on Wednesday.
In what was a one-possession game at halftime, the Panthers had a big second-half run to have the lead and hold onto the 86-80 victory. It wasn’t a game that was televised so a press release of stats is the only thing to go off of. But there were some telling points to look at.
As expected, returning leading scorer Blake Hinson is the go-to guy, leading the team with 24 points. The two incoming transfers (Zach Austin and Ishmael Leggett) combined for 41 points, while Guillermo Diaz Graham was also in double figures (13 points) in place of Federiko at the five-spot. What was most interesting was who reportedly started at point guard in the game.
With both Jamarius Burton and Nelly Cummings gone, it was wide open as to who would fill that void. The two likely contenders were redshirt freshman Dior Johnson and four-star freshman ball-handler, Jaland Lowe. Instead, it was another freshman, Carlton Carrington. He’s a 6’4 guard that’s capable of handling the ball but was projected to play more off-ball behind Leggett at the two-spot.
Turns out, he may be the best pure playmaker on the roster. While the game wasn’t televised, Carrington not only started but reportedly led the team with nine assists, along with being second on the team with seven rebounds. Both are huge stats because not only is he showing he can pass the ball well but rebounding was a concern with the roster since the frontcourt players are fairly slim compared to other frontcourts and needs the perimeter players to chip in on the boards.
If Carrington ends up being Pittsburgh’s starting point guard, that doesn’t hurt the overall rotation of the backcourt. Johnson is more known for his scoring ability and this also allows the Panthers to have multiple ball-handlers on the court to get the ball to both Hinson and Austin. And having the 6’4 Carrington and Johnson is great size for the team to use on defense.
Since we couldn’t see the game live, you can’t take too much from the results of Pittsburgh’s first game with the 2023-24 roster. But it’s hard not to be impressed with what Carrington produced in his debut with the program. We’re three months from the first day of the season but right now, it’s a 3-man race for the starting PG position.