Pitt basketball news and notes from the news conference at Mellon Arena today...
*Pitt coach Jamie Dixon is confident that future Pitt-Duquesne games will be played at the Consol Energy Center. Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson said that is the hope, but some final details must be worked out before that happens.
*Dixon said he also hopes to play some other non-conference games at the Consol Energy Center, but don’t expect to see any games against Georgetown or Syracuse there. Dixon is not interested in giving up the home-court advantage at the Petersen Events Center for Big East contests.
*Julius Page was one of the former Pitt players at the news conference. Page is done with his professional basketball career. He played for a team in Germany last year, but a hip injury forced him to retire.
Page is in the process of completing a new business venture. He plans to open JustPlay, 24/7 Fitness in the near future. He and his business team are looking at a site on McKnight Road as a possibility for the first center in the area.
JustPlay, 24/7 Fitness will have a myriad of activities for people including: swimming, rock climbing, yoga, dance classes, basketball, spin classes, batting cages, a sauna, a steam room and a day care.
“Toward the end of my career I was getting injured more often than I would like,” said Page, a native of Buffalo, N.Y. “I had a couple of things in my mind after I stopped playing. I was always worried about what I was going to do once the basketball stopped bouncing for me. I had a business plan done. Pittsburgh is my home now. I love the area. This is my new hometown.”
*Page had a rather memorable experience at Mellon Arena on Dec. 21, 2000. Pitt lost to Duquesne that day, 71-70. Page missed a free throw with 36 seconds remaining, which meant Pitt carried a one-point lead into the final seconds instead of a two-point lead. After a mad scramble on the Dukes’ final possession, Aaron Lovelace corralled a loose ball in the lane and made a layup with 2.2 seconds remaining for the upset victory. It was the last time the Dukes have beaten Pitt.
“It was the first game I ever started, I was a freshman and I actually played the best game of my career to that point,” Page said. “And I missed the free throw, so we lost because of me. I will never forget that. I fell on the ground after I missed the free throw. They had a picture of me in the paper the next day, lying on the ground. That’s something I’ll never forget.”