Steven Adams, aka the Kiwi Phenom, committed to play basketball at Pitt in the summer of 2010. The New Zealand native transferred to Notre Dame Prep (MA) in January in order to be academically eligible. The 19 year old (7/28/93) stands 7 foot tall and weighs 250 pounds. He’s rated the No. 5 overall player in the 2012 class by both Rivals and Scout. Adams is the youngest of 18 children, all of whom are at least 6’5”. His sister Valerie is a two-time gold medalist in the shot put. For a brief time during his early teenage years, Adams was homeless and lived on the streets. By all accounts he’s a fun loving guy with a vivacious personality who is well liked by his teammates.
Adams is loaded with potential, and is just beginning to scratch the surface of that potential. A 7-footer with broad shoulders and an already muscular frame capable of adding more weight, Adams’ size and length is ideal for the center position. A great athlete, he runs the court well and is very coordinated for his size. He pulls down rebounds with ease. He’s improved his jump shot greatly over the past couple years, eliminating a hitch in his shot; Adams now has good form on his jumper and his mid range game has developed nicely. He’s pretty good at taking the ball to the basket, and is very hard to stop coming down the lane. He’s a competitor and has a relentless motor. He’s a humble and unselfish kid who is very coachable and wants to get better. His length makes him an excellent shot blocker. He’s a good passer for a bigman and possesses impressive basketball IQ and quick decision making, especially considering his lack of experience.
Like most other young projectable big men, Adams’ offensive game is raw. At this point in his development he settles for a 10 or 12 foot jumper a little too often and needs to work on his post game. He didn’t play against great competition for most of his high school career, although he did have an impressive showing with Notre Dame Prep in January when he scored 23 points and pulled in 13 rebounds against fellow top recruit and now Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel. His conditioning had been suspect in the past but should not be an issue. He needs to improve at the free throw line.
Impact and Future at Pitt
Adams will immediately take on an important role with the Panthers. If he isn’t an immediate starter, he should be at some point in the season. He probably won’t be a huge scorer in his freshman year, but should rebound at a very high rate and block some shots.
Adams is a potential Lottery pick and commonly projected to enter the NBA draft after his freshman season. In a recent interview with ESPN’s Andy Katz, Adams indicated he wants to win an NCAA title before thinking about his NBA future. This is definitely encouraging to the Pitt faithful, but don’t count on four years of Adams.
Adams was a big get for Jamie Dixon and his staff. His undeniable talent and work ethic will strengthen and energize Pitt’s team this season; if he sticks around for a couple years, Pitt will have a star center capable of being the best big man in the ACC.