For Panthers, a Year of Significant Player Development Should Soon Be Followed by On-Court Results

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Terrell Brown and Onyebuchi Ezeakudo smother North Carolina center Armando Bacot.

Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner heaped praise onto the Panthers following Pitt’s 73-64 victory over the Yellow Jackets on Saturday, Feb. 8. Among the highlights? Pastner noted that he thinks Pitt could be among the ACC’s top three or four teams in the 2020-21 preseason rankings.

That is certainly high praise for a program that is less than two seasons removed from a 0-18 conference finish, and which finished with just three conference wins last season. And despite Pitt winning a combined three ACC contests over the most recent two seasons, those dreadful ACC finishes feel like they belong to the distant past with wins like Saturday’s against the Yellow Jackets.

The star of the game was undoubtedly freshman Justin Champagnie, who put up video game numbers to the tune of 30 points on 12 of 17 shooting (including three of four from beyond the arc), with nine rebounds, two steals, and zero turnovers. Truly, that is a performance for the ages.

And while Champagnie may be the breakout star for the 2019-20 Panthers, the overall story for this Pitt program is one of a season’s worth of development from each of