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Ex-Pittsburgh assistant: Move to ACC will have ‘zero effect’

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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One of Jamie Dixon's former assistant coaches isn't buying the idea that Pittsburgh's move from the Big East to the ACC will have a negative impact on its recruiting.

Second-year Marshall coach Tom Herrion, who worked under Dixon from 2007 to 2010, said he thinks the Panthers will still be able to land top prospects from the Northeast even if most of its league games will come against schools below the Mason-Dixon line.

"I think it will have zero effect," Herrion said Wednesday. "Jamie has built that program to continue to sustain success. They've proven over the last 10 years that program can win against teams all over the country. There will be a transition period and an adjustment geographically, but I think it will have zero effect on the program.

"It might even help them in a lot of areas. They may even be able to go into other areas and get kids that they couldn't before."

The reason some have suggested Pittsburgh's basketball program could suffer in the ACC is because the school's recruiting base has traditionally mirrored the Big East's footprint in the Northeast. Only two players on Pittsburgh's current roster didn't either grow up in a Northeastern state or play high school basketball there.

Herrion may think Pittsburgh can continue to thrive in the ACC, but that doesn't mean he was happy to hear the Panthers and are relocating. A Massachusetts native who has also coached Providence, Herrion said he's disappointed to see some of the Big East's tradition disappear with the loss of Pittsburgh and Syracuse.

"Having been in the Big East twice and been a Northeast guy my whole life, it's hard to fathom the reality that Pitt and Syracuse are going to be in the ACC," Herrion said. "It's always hard for a lot of people to embrace change, but this is especially sad."

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