Brandin Knight | Assistant Coach | Men’s Basketball | University of Pittsburgh (PITT)

Describe the qualities that your program is looking for in a potential student-athlete?

We look for a specific kind of student athlete. We want young competitors to strive to be great athletes, great students and exceptional representatives of our university. We want people who strive to be exceptional at everything they do. They must embrace the value of hard work. I stole this quote from someone but I tell all of my players like its my own, “The only place Success comes before Work is in the dictionary.” It is imperative that we get student athletes to attempt to do their best in the classroom, on the court and in life. The understanding of practicing good habits will carry over into all walks of life.


Could you give us an example of a current or former player who exceeded your expectations, highlighting the reasons that player excelled?

The word Overachiever is insulting. On one hand it acknowledges that you have accomplished something. It also insinuates that you really weren’t supposed to accomplish as much as you did. As a coach I have learned to allow my expectations to be based on each individual’s demonstration of effort. There are no under/over achievers. You get what you put into it.


A lot of people think he over achieved. He came to college a 6’4 Center. His best attributes were his athleticism and his physical presence. He wasn’t a good ball handler or perimeter shooter. Sam literally slept in the gym just so he could work on his game (blow-up bed/pillow and covers). He’d play anyone left around the building 1-on-1 just so he could work on his offensive moves and ball handling. Sam was always a tireless worker. He went from being a guy who made his living in the paint scoring around the basket to being one of our most prolific outside shooters. He was among the leaders in just about every offensive category on the team (avg. nearly 20 ppg his junior/senior year). He embodied all of the characteristics of being a hardworking competitor (desire, heart, dedication and will). Watching him compete in the Eastern Conference Finals this year against Miami made me so proud. Sam may have exceeded expectations and some may call him an overachiever, but Sam knew what he wanted to be and he simply put all of his efforts into realizing his potential. He is a true success story in my eyes.