When it was announced that Central Michigan transfer Trey Zeigler would be eligible this season for Jamie Dixon’s Pitt Panthers, Zeigler’s role looked pretty clear. It seemed like he would slide right in as the starting shooting guard next to Tray Woodall in the Panthers’ backcourt.
Zeigler is a proven scorer at the collegiate level, averaging 16.1 points through two seasons at CMU. He also gives Dixon something he has never had before, a big guard who can score as Zeigler stands 6’5″.
But things haven’t exactly played out that way for Zeigler.
Zeigler was beaten out for the job by freshman James Robinson, who is a point guard long-term as Dixon has elected to put his best defensive team on the floor, but there are other troubling signs for Zeigler and what exactly his role will be this season.
Dixon called Robinson his best defensive guard, but also listed the likes of Woodall and John Johnson as guys who would see time because of their defensive ability. No mention of Zeigler and being the son of a college coach, you would thing that Zeigler would be better on the defensive end of the floor but that isn’t the case.
Pitt’s two-game exhibition schedule didn’t offer up much hope either.
Zeigler averaged only 15.5 minutes per game, as seven other players got more time on the floor than he did.
In that time, he had 12 points, two assists, four turnovers and no rebounds. Three of those turnovers were the result of offensive fouls. He had more fouls than field goals.
This, coming from a guy who was a former Top 100 recruit and led Central Michigan in scoring the past two seasons.
What all of this means is Zeigler will likely have to play himself into a major role in Dixon’s rotation and the Panthers better hope he does.
If there is one glaring weakness of this Pitt team, it could be scoring the basketball, especially off the bench and Zeigler has the talent to provide instant offense for the second unit.
Pitt will need Zeigler’s ability on the offensive end of the floor to compete in the Big East this season and ultimately I think you will see Zeigler have a pretty large role, but he will have to earn it.
Dixon won’t run him out there if he’s not committed on the defensive end of the floor, so that’s where it starts for Zeigler.
It’s definitely not a good sign that he has been passed up by a few other guards. But it’s a long season and Zeigler will certainly get an opportunity to show what he can do.
It’s up to him if he takes advantage of it.
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