With the signing of Kevin Pittsnogle, I wanted to post his profile today in our series of Current Celtics since many of us don't know a lot about him.
The Celtics' newest member is Kevin Pittsnogle, born and raised in West Virginia and who played his college ball for West Virginia. But who is Kevin Pittsnogle, really?
Kevin Pittsnogle is a 6'11 Forward/Center who prefers to play on the 3 point line than in the paint. He is laid back and quiet and loves to laugh. He was married in October 2004, and his wife, Heather, gave birth to their first child, a boy named Kwynsie, on February 3, 2006.
He inspired the verb "Pittsnogled" (past tense) deriving from the observable facts and events that led to Pittsnogle going from reserve center to cult hero in the space of a few frantic weeks leading up to the 2005 NCAA Elite Eight. His former high school basketball team manager, Justin Turner, defines the term as this: "When you're closely guarded and a man is in your face with his hand up and you shoot a 25-footer and you nail it in their face — then they have officially been Pittsnogled. He explains that he first heard his name used as a verb after West VA beat Boston College in the Big East Tournament. His teammate Joe Herber came into the locker room and said "Boston College was officially Pittsnogled."
When asked how he learned to shoot, he explains: "I grew up in a trailer park," he says. "I used to shoot all day on a gravel court. You couldn't dribble because the rocks made the ball go the opposite way. So I would just shoot, you know, all day. We'd go out at 9 in the morning and come back at 9 at night. We never stopped, except to ride bikes and get drinks." He and his sister played a lot of HORSE and he developed his quick release to be able to shoot over his sister who was taller than him at the time.
His mother and father attend his games and his father is quiet like him but his mother, known in her section as "Momma Pitts," is very into the games. One time she yelled so loud at one ref that he hollered back, asking if she wanted his whistle.
Until late in the 2004-05 season, Pittsnogle primarily came off the bench for the Mountaineers. However,In February of 2005, starting center D'or Fischer came down with a cold and was unable to play against Pittsburgh. The coach replaced Fischer in the starting lineup with Pittsnogle, who proceeded to score 27 points in an upset of the Panthers. He remained in the starting lineup for the rest of the season, and came to the forefront quickly in the 2005 NCAA Tournament, when he scored 22 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in a victory against Texas Tech in the Sweet 16 round, and then scored 25 points (on 9-for-15 shooting) and grabbed 5 rebounds in a 93-85 overtime loss to Louisville.
Pittsnogle declared for the 2005 NBA Draft but he did not hire an agent, which meant that he still had the option to reverse his decision. He decided to withdraw from the draft and return to WVU for his senior year when he couldn't get any guarantees of being drafted.
His collegiate career came to an end following a 74-71 loss to Texas in the Sweet 16 of the 2006 NCAA Tournament. Texas guard Kenton Paulino hit a three pointer at the buzzer after Pittsnogle, having just returned from a bloody nose, tied the game with 5 seconds remaining with a three of his own.
"Pittsnogle is a tremendous shooting bigman. He has proven time and again that he can not only knock down shots from outside with consistency, but also big shots in big game stuations . Adept at hitting shots with a player in his face ... On the next level, he will spread the floor forcing a big man to guard him on the perimeter ... Hard worker, worked hard on improving his athleticism and quickness in the past year and it is showing with his adding mobility, which is allowing him to score and rebound better ... His conditioning has also allowed him to play significantly more minutes than he did in previous seasons ... Has good competitiveness and toughness ... Excellent free throw shooter at 85% ... Great maturity, four year player at West Virginia ... His passing skills and ball protection have improved in his senior year ... Has added a nice turn around jump hook to his offensive game ... "
His weaknesses are listed as:
"Not a great interior presence on either end of the floor ... Lacks great quickness and agility ... Slow foot speed makes him just an average defender ... Needs to work on improving his post game, he prefers to drift out to the perimeter to look for 3 point shots ... Cant really be anything more than a catch and shoot player from the outside. His lack of foot speed limits his ability to get by defenders off the dribble ... Not a defensive presence, lacks great explosiveness to block shots"
Pittsnogle has gained a cult following in his home state and West Virginia fans love everything about him — the unkempt hair, the scraggly goatee and the deadeye three-point shot that is his ticket to a place on the Celtics. He doesn't have much of a post up game and isn't a very good defender, but we have Clifford Ray who is known for turning big men into post players and rebounders. And maybe one day in the distant future we will be talking about how the Knicks or the Lakers were "Pittsnogled."
I just don't see Pittsnogle amounting to anything more than a specialty player. He's pretty slow, takes too long to get off the ground, even longer to reset and get back up into the air after a pump fake, and doesn't seem to have any other skill aside from his nice shooting touch.
If he is a specialty player, I hope he becomes one of the best at it. Like a pinch hitter who comes in and almost always gets a hit.