When you really start to think about it, some ACC schools really don’t have much to brag about when it comes to the NBA. Pitt is a great example. The Panthers have had some real ups and downs in basketball. What’s the greatest highlight in Pitt basketball history?
“Send it in Jerome!”
For those who don’t know, that was what Bill Raftery said when Jerome Lane completely smashed a backboard in 1988.
It was cool, but not Final Four cool or anything.
So who are Pitt’s top NBA players? Here are our picks.
- Billy Knight - He had a long, solid career in both the ABA and NBA. That’s not what he was most famous for around here, though: he was the guy who David Thompson tried to jump over in 1974, resulting in a terrifying fall.
- Charles Smith - Highly talented but had a somewhat disappointing career. It didn’t help that he started off playing for Donald Sterling’s Clippers and then the Knicks tried to play him at small forward. Then injuries ended his career. He still had a solid career.
- Chris Gatling - Gatling played one year at Pitt before transferring to Old Dominion. A 6-10 forward, he moved around a lot but still averaged double figures and was an All-Star in 1997. Unfortunately, he was convicted of fraud in Arizona in 2017.
- Steven Adams - Not a great player but a very good one and widely regarded as the strongest man in the NBA today. A native of New Zealand, Adams mother was Tongan and his father was a British sailor who moved to New Zealand, where he had 18 children with five different women. Adams Sr., was 6-11 and most of his children were tall as well. The younger Adams currently plays for the Memphis Grizzlies.
- Mark Blount - an excellent shot blocker, Blount had a 10-year NBA career, giver or take a bit, and how many people can say that?