Pittsnogle is the absolute prototype of a face up power forward, having the potential to cause major mismatch problems in the NBA with his excellent three-point shooting ability.
When watching him play, it appears that he has quite a bit more experience playing away from the basket than in the post, despite his 6-10 size. His jump shot is not picture perfect, he does fade away on his three-point shot almost every time, however, that is not really a major concern because he can get his jump shot off under intense pressure with surprising ease and incredible accuracy. Pittsnogle has a very quick release, and his jumper is straight as an arrow and very fluid which allows him to shoot a very good percentage from the three-point line. He has great rotation on his shot and a very soft touch, and shows absolutely no hesitation shooting the ball from anywhere on the floor.
Hes also a terrific free throw shooter at just under 86%, although he only gets to the charity stripe about three times a game.
In terms of offensive moves outside of shooting he is some what limited, but the few moves he does have in the paint he uses with perfection. With his back to the basket in the post, one of the rare times he posts up he will either shoot a soft spinning fade-away jump shot, or a good-looking short jump-hook.
Where he plays on the basketball court on offense is a matter of where he is comfortable, and where he is comfortable is on the perimeter, as he is almost strictly perimeter oriented. Pittsnogles comfort level shooting three-point shots is like that of a shooting guard. What he does exceptionally well in terms of offensive plays is run the pick and roll, with his size to get his shot off against anyone and ability to shoot a great percentage from the three-point line, he is great coming off the high screen roll. Pittsnogle also likes to run fades in transition or just simply pop out and shoot benefiting off of his teammates penetration. His off the ball movement is excellent and despite the fact that everyone in the country knows he wants to shoot the three all day long and tries to gear the defense to stop it, he still got off nearly 7 attempts a game while shooting 40% from behind the arc.
If his shot isnt there, Pittsnogle has shown the ability to find the open man with his excellent court vision and passing skills.
Despite his lack of outstanding athletic ability, he does run the court moderately well for a post player when motivated. When he does that he can get a lot of open looks at the three-point line, and when he gets an open shot he will knock it down more often than not. Its obvious that he is at his best when he puts the effort in and runs the court, because during that time he will actually go to the basket and attack.
Mental toughness is another one of his other strengths as a prospect, he is an emotionally and mentally tough kid. Despite his lack of a physical game, he will put his body on the line in key situations, take hard charges, and he has been the emotional leader of the West Virginia team. He has stepped up in many big games over the years and provided emotional energy and intensity even under stressful situations.
Pittsnogle has greatly improved his game this year, taking it to another level after getting in much better shape over the summer and has legitimately become one of college basketballs elite players.
The biggest negative about Pittsnogles game is that he is almost certainly going to be a defensive liability in the pros. He is extremely slow, has a very poor wingspan, is not very physical, fairly soft, and does not play any type of on the ball defense moving his feet or hustling. Instead, his defense is usually taking a charge or flopping in the post if he goes up against a great post player. He will definitely have to pick up his defensive intensity because he will not get by long playing poor defense in the NBA. In college he played a lot of zone defense, so he was not always taken advantage off on this end.
Another area of his game he must improve is his rebounding ability. He does not really box out; the rebounds he does get will either come right to him or will be long off the rim. The main reason why he is not an effective rebounder beyond his obvious lack of athleticism, non-existent vertical leap and extremely sort arms is his inability to get physical in the post. If he would be willing to put in a little more effort, he might be able to improve his rebounding skills. Pittsnogle gets boxed out by opponents easily, and usually does not put up a good fight on the glass.
On offense, his lack of a true post game and his love affair with the perimeter could force some teams to shy away from him. His short hook shot is somewhat effective at the college level, but outside of that he does not have any type of back to the basket game. He is simply not a physical post player, so his offensive game is limited to outside jump shooting and screen and rolls to get mismatches on the perimeter. If his jumper isnt falling, hes basically useless to an NBA team because of his shortcomings in every other part of his game.
Athletically, he is not outstanding by any means, being that he does not really jump that high and is very slow running the court. He is also not a chiseled athlete by any means. In terms of strength he has improved that part of his game over the years, but still isnt physical enough to bang down low and get easy baskets.
For a player that plays on the perimeter away from the basket so often, he is a pretty poor ball-handler. At times he can handle the ball for one or two dribbles, but hes not very effective in terms of being a slashing threat going to the basket. He does not really create shots off of the dribble that often, mostly being a stand-still shooter.
Playing in the Big East, Pittsnogle has gone up against some high quality basketball teams as well as quality big men. However he has had struggles against the likes of UCLA, LSU and UCONN during his senior season. The most likely reason for this is because teams like LSU can put a long and quick defensive oriented PF in Tyrus Thomas on Pittsnogle and limit his ability to get open from the outside. The is one area where Pittsnogles shooting could be stopped, is if he is matched up against long and athletic PFs that are skilled defending away from the basket.
Overall, though, Pittsnogle has really come into his own this year as a senior. He was first recognized in last years NCAA tournament, and this year he has legitimized his performance and proved that he is a very dangerous offensive basketball player.
With Pittsnogles outstanding shooting ability beyond the three-point line, he has the potential to provide major mismatch problems for NBA big men off the bench. With his size and ability to hit open jump shots, he could be the ultimate role player for a NBA team already stacked with talent. He is not a superstar, and will not be a player that that will carry a team, but if put in the right situation he could have great success.
His defensive liability is a major concern, but with the ability to draw talented big men away from the basket, opening up the game and providing lanes to get to the basket justifies putting him on the court. He will most likely be a 2nd round pick, but it would not be surprising at all if he has a solid NBA career.
First Team All Big East.
One of 10 finalists for the Wooden award.
Member of the 2003 US Junior National Team.
Measured officialy at 6-10 1/4 with a 6-10 1/2 wingspan at the Chicago pre-draft camp last year.