Who knew they played college basketball in November? It's true. I looked it up.
You have to forgive me. I'm just not used to this whole "basketball success" thing. Normally we don't pick up the basketball team until after the bowl season. And usually by that time we're already out of contention for any kind of post season play, so who cares anyway? But this year is different. This year the team is coming off of a thrilling NIT championship. Season ticket sales are at an all time high. We're in uncharted waters here as a program. I don't want to completely ignore the basketball team until January like years past. So this week I'm going to try to roll out a few preview posts. Today we'll start with going over what we have to replace. Then we will go into what is returning. Then I'll try to do a lengthier post on the new faces on the team. Maybe if I get some time next week we'll go into the schedule and I'll make an attempt to make some kind of prediction. So with that...
What Penn State Has To Replace
No Penn State player played with more heart and guts over the past four years than Jamelle Cornley. Always fighting sore knees or separated shoulders, Cornley left it all out on the court and he was adored by his fans and teammates for it. The leadership will be difficult to replace. And then there is the production.
|2008 - Jamelle Cornley||37||34.8||5.9||11.5||51.3||0.5||1.4||38.0||1.9||3.5||53.8||2.0||4.4||6.4||1.2||1.8||0.4||0.1||1.6||14.4|
Cornley was the one player Penn State could count on when they needed a basket. When the momentum was getting away from them, and they needed somebody to stop the bleeding by pounding it in the paint and getting a hard earned bucket, Cornley was their man despite the fact he was only 6'5" tall. Replacing that big time inside presence will be the biggest challenge for Ed DeChellis.
|2008 - Stanley Pringle||37||30.8||4.5||10.0||45.3||1.9||4.3||45.0||1.8||2.5||72.5||0.6||2.6||3.1||2.8||1.7||1.3||0.2||2.2||12.8|
When paired with Talor Battle, Stanley Pringle was one half of the fastest backcourt in the Big Ten. He played good defense, pushed the fast breaks, and had a killer three point shot. But he had a tendency to disappear at times.
|2008 - Danny Morrissey||36||20.3||1.7||4.6||37.6||1.3||3.6||35.7||0.6||0.9||68.8||0.3||1.4||1.7||1.5||0.9||0.4||0.1||1.5||5.3|
I always had a special appreciation for Danny Morrissey. He played for some of the worst teams in Penn State history, but he was a starter on those teams. Then Battle and Pringle came along and Danny was asked to swallow his pride and take a seat on the bench. He attacked his new role like a loose ball going out of bounds. He gave it his all and never once complained. Give me a team of Danny Morrissey's any day. We may not be great, but we would win a few games, and I guarantee we would be fun to watch.
He wasn't the best defender in the world, but nobody could match Morrissey's toughness or hustle. A rebound here, a charge drawn there. Hitting a clutch three, or coming up with an improbable block against a guy six inches taller than him. He always had a knack for finding a way to contribute.
So if you're keeping score at home, that's two guards and a forward. It's 34.5 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 85 minutes per game. These three guys represented 47% of Penn State's scoring and 35% of their rebounds last year. Plus they all had years of experience. Replacing them will be no small task.