Basketball continues to pick up as the season draws closer and closer. Our Nits are currently building off their experience in Philadelphia this past Saturday as they played the Temple Owls in a closed-scrimmage. Next on the schedule is preparation for their first and only exhibition that's set for a 4:00 PM tip on Saturday against Slippery Rock. Squeezed in between yesterday was the annual basketball media day event at the BJC, which included press conferences, player interviews, and an open practice for the media to observe.
The topics ranged from injuries and suspension updates to Tim Frazier and leadership to the young guys and their potential impact. Energy, intensity, and attitude were thrown around like Halloween candy throughout the afternoon. Coach Chambers delved more into how the way this program is going to do things, while continuing to pump up Tim Frazier's game.
The last couple weeks, it's been interesting. Cammeron Woodyard was out, Trey Lewis was out, D.J. Newbill was out. I think we had three or four guysthat were all out. Cam is now back. He went live for the first time in about three to four weeks yesterday. Trey is going to be out a little bit longer. He has something wrong with his ankle. I'm not going to say what it is because I do not know the medical terminology. D.J. is still out for a couple more weeks with a shoulder injury.
This is the first I've heard of Trey Lewis banging up his ankle, but it doesn't sound serious. However, all of these bumps and bruises have impacted practice, and we're just 10 days from the start of the real season. PSU might have to rely on walk-ons Nick Colella and Kevin Montminy in the early going of the season. Quite frankly, I'm OK with that. I was impressed by their shooting ability at the open practice.
Jermaine Marshall's Status:
Right now, Jermaine is continuing to do what we asked him to do academically. He's keeping himself in shape. I'm in constant communication with him. I just had a meeting with him yesterday. He's doing everything we ask him to do to get back on this team. That's what he needs to do.
He reiterated the same thing he said at Big Ten Media Day last week. It sounds like Jermaine had some academic issues that are currently being worked out. He'll be back, but it's just a matter of when. At this point, I'd say it's unlikely he'll be able to play at the start of the season, unless he joins the team by the end of the week.
On Tim Frazier:
Tim is a freak - his speed, his athleticism. He is a much better shooter than people give him credit for. His decision making, his IQ, he runs a team. He can jump out of the building. On Saturday, we threw him a lob. He had a lob dunk and had a follow-up dunk, a very Randy Foye type of play. I'm sure people are criticizing me for making that assessment, but I was with those guys everyday during my tenure at Villanova. I think Tim is right up there.
Chambers keeping up with the high praise for Timmy. I think we all expect Tim to improve in his more prominent role, but I can't believe he's making those Villanova guard comparisons. However, if Tim Frazier is at the level of a Randy Foye, Penn State will be competing sooner than later.
On the Schedule:
I used to do the scheduling at Villanova, so I'm well aware of the schedule. We start out with a couple team that I know, a couple of guys that I've coached against and they are going to have some very unique styles of play. In the Big Ten, everybody has their own unique way of playing. In the beginning, it is going to be a challenge. I think this non-conference is a good slate to get us ready for that Michigan game in late December because of the different variety of teams we are playing. It also gets our freshman ready and gets us to create good habits and gets them out there in game situations on the road and at home. We are going to be ready. We are going to be prepared.
I also really like our schedule. Look for a thorough breakdown of each opponent next week.
Goals for the year:
This is so difficult to do as a coach. To be patient with these guys and bring them along slowly, and we're trying to do that. I just want to create the best atmosphere that we can. I want this team to go out and compete every night for 40 minutes - I don't care where we are. I want them to make Penn State people proud, the alumni proud, the students proud, the administration proud. I want them to go out and compete as hard as they can for 40 minutes, and, if we can create those habits and do that on a daily basis, then we are going to like the outcome. At the end of the year, we just need to be the best team we can be. We can do that as long as we can keep getting better every single day and they keep that willingness to get better.
It sounds like Chambers is well-aware of the challenges this season is going to bring.
There is a name for the statistics competition that is tracked in each practice called the Attitude Club. Similar to what they do at Villanova, the managers track the little things like diving for loose balls and taking charges. At the end, it's scored like a competition that all of the players have embraced:
The thing with the statistics is now I have a group of guys come up to me after practice and look at the attitude sheet and say `Where was I today, how many rebounds did I get today?' When you start to see that evolve - when you get 15 guys believing in Attitude Club - you are going to get something special.
For more media coverage, check out the horde of links below:
- GoPSUSports Media Day - Presser Transcripts, Blogs, Pictures, Video
- Penn State Basketball: 'These Kids Don't Accept Losing,' Chambers Says - Ben Jones
- A New Era Dawns for Nittany Lion Hoops - The Penn Stater
- Lions' Chambers won't use excuses - Philly.com with some video
- Pump Up The Volume - Fightonstate.com with some video
- 'Attitude Club': A New Tradition in a New Era - Onward State
- Frontcourt Duo Ready to Play - Centre Daily Times