This countdown is like K Billy’s Super Sounds of the 70’s. We just keep on…truckin’. I have provided the link in case you don’t get the reference.
We venture into new territory today as our first Pitt Panther makes an appearance. Trey McGowens comes in at #17 on our list. The young man with the high arcing jumper surprised many by first committing to Pittsburgh, and then by his play as a true freshman last season.
That game against FSU was not even Trey’s most prolific performance of the season. Five days prior, he went for 33 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 assists in an overtime win against Louisville at the Peterson Events Center. The Hargrave Military Academy product and South Carolina native averaged 11.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.7 assists during his freshman campaign. His 4.1 steal percentage ranked first in the ACC, while his 1.9 steals per game ranked third and his 64 total steals ranked 6th in the league. His defensive rating of 98.1 ranks 8th among returning players in the ACC.
On the offensive end, McGowens was the beneficiary of a Jeff Capel offense that gave free reign to his guards. Both Trey and fellow freshman guard Xavier Johnson (stay tuned) logged a usage rate of 23% or higher. I would anticipate those rates to be maintained at the very least as Capel was rewarded with tremendous seasons from both.
Predictably, McGowens’ play dipped towards the end of the season as he hit the “freshman wall”, averaging only 7.8 points while shooting under 38% from the field in his final 10 regular season games. He managed to come back to life in the ACC tournament, drilling five triples en route to 26 points in an opening round win against Boston College.
While my expectations are not high for the Panthers in the 2019-20 season, McGowens is part of the reason that I wouldn’t be shocked to see them finish as high as 10th in the league. Trey possesses a bit of drama to his game and likes to step up in big spots, especially at home. His 13.8 ppg at home in league play was more than four points higher than road and neutral games. As he and Johnson grow and develop, this Pittsburgh team will continue to surprise ACC teams who head to the Pete, just like Louisville and FSU last season.