Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Contributions from Jeter Can Bolster Rotation Entering Conference Play

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Contributions from Jeter Can Bolster Rotation Entering Conference Play

Article excerpt

Sheldon Jeter was supposed to be the feel-good story of the Pitt basketball season, the local athlete who gets a second shot at playing for the local school and plays a major role in an NCAA tournament run.

All of that might still happen, but the feel-good part of the story, at least early in the season, has not quite developed the way Jeter and coach Jamie Dixon imagined.

Jeter, a 6-foot-8 sophomore from Beaver Falls who transferred from Vanderbilt after sitting out a year at Polk State College, was supposed to be a major part of the rotation and even compete to start at small forward.

Instead, he struggled on defense and with his role and got buried on the bench behind a couple of freshmen.

Jeter's minutes diminished from an average of 15 through the first five games to just five in the sixth game against Kansas State, three against Indiana and zero against Duquesne and St. Bonaventure.

It was at that point that Dixon, apparently tired of inquiries about Jeter's lack of playing time, declared that he needed to do a better job of getting Jeter in the game and would start to work him in.

That came with the qualifier that "the player has to perform once he gets an opportunity." And Dixon admitted that Jeter's struggles on defense were holding him back.

The message apparently got through, and Dixon has been true to his word. The past four games, Jeter has seen his time increase, and he is showing glimpses of being the player Dixon hoped he would be.

In the 71-54 win Tuesday against Florida Gulf Coast, Jeter played 13 minutes and was more active than he had been on defense. Jeter finished with 2 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist and a steal.

"It felt a lot better," Jeter said of his second consecutive game of double-digit minutes. "The past couple games, I would get in and come right back out. This game, I was able to get in, start getting a rhythm and make some plays. …

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