With a bye week for the football team, Hoops Madness having come and gone (along with a disgruntled crowd that waited an extra hour and half to hear rapper extraordinaire Fabulous), and the lone exhibition this Saturday against Slippery Rock coming up, the timing couldn't be more perfect for some basketball material here at BSD.
As part of a Friday hoopstravaganza, here's a quick rundown of the key story lines regarding Penn State's backcourt. Eric will examine story lines for the frontcourt later today.
- This backcourt is STACKED. You've got Tim Frazier, and...and... We've already repeated ad nauseum on here that Frazier will be the engine that makes this team run (along with the fact that Pat Chambers has name-dropped Randy Foye, a former star guard at Villanova, when referring to Tim's athleticism). Whether he can get any help from Cam Woodyard (who is only now starting to practice again after sitting out the past 3-4 weeks with an injury), Jermaine Marshall, or any of the newcomers on the team (i.e. Trey Lewis, Matt Glover) will be something to watch for this year.
- Bum Ankles and Fancy Book Learnin' - As was mentioned during Media Day, Lewis has sat out the last few practices due to an ankle injury. It doesn't sound as if it's anything serious, though. Nonetheless, it's a stark reminder that the last thing a young and inexperienced team needs is injury issues. Chambers also mentioned at Media Day that Jermaine Marshall, while still suspended for academic reasons, has been making significant progress towards working his way back into the rotation. Don't expect Marshall to be suiting up though, for the season opener next Saturday.
- Just like Villanova - Pat Chambers has expressed a desire to run a 4-guard offense similar to the ones utilized by his mentor, Jay Wright, at Villanova. While there's depth at the guard position from a bodies standpoint to run this style of offense, successfully implementing it might be another issue. One has to feel though, that Frazier and Lewis will be two members of the four-guard combo.
- WILL DRAIN THREE POINTERS FOR FOOD - When Talor Battle, DJ Jackson, and Jeff Brooks graduated this past Spring, so did 173 of the 216 made 3-pointers from last season. Out of the returning players, it's a tie between Frazier and Billy Oliver (both made a whopping 11 treys last season). A few players certainly need to step up in order to ensure that the drop-off from last season's perimeter shooting won't be terribly drastic. Trey Lewis should be one of those players, perhaps Matt Glover, as well. A surprise three-point threat will have to emerge, however.
- Veteran Leadership - Given that Frazier and Woodyard are the lone upperclassmen in the backcourt, it will be up to these two to serve as mentors and assertive leaders for a rather young group of Nittany Lions. We're all aware by now of Chambers' emphasis on ATTITUDE, and surely he has to be harping on Frazier and Woodyard to showcase such leadership, which can go a long way on such a young ball team.