For the past decade or so, Penn State has had a basketball team only as long as it took them to get through the season. After that, almost every player and coach vanished from the public eye to be seen only once the season rolled around again. It isn't as if Penn State wasn't actually recruiting players in the offseason, but Ed DeChellis could have climbed the Devil's Tower and floated away with aliens and nobody would have known. The offseason was just that quiet.
But Pat Chambers isn't playing that game.
July 6th marked the first day of two 10-day evaluation periods, a small window of time that college coaches can actually head out and see recruits play in person. A battle plan is crucial to getting everywhere you want to go in such a short amount of time.
Using Penn State's new found support for basketball, and a private jet, Chambers flew to Indianapolis, Cleveland, Boston, Augusta and Newark to get a look at some sleepers as well as nationally respected talent. With assistant coaches at other locations around the east coast, Penn State had just about every base covered. Remember: all to fill one scholarship.
These are just a few of the locations that Penn State was seen at over this 10 day period.
Reebok Breakout Challenge – July 5-9th Philadelphia University
Adidas Invitational – July 6-9 Indianapolis, IN
Hoop Group Elite Session 1 – July 5-8 Reading, PA
Lebron James Skills Academy – July 5-8 Akron, OH
Nike Peach Jam -- July 12-15 Augusta, SC
While this list doesn't include some smaller stops, it puts Penn State personnel at almost every major basketball event since July 6th. More importantly, recruits aren't the only ones taking notice of Penn State's new found devotion to recruiting. Twitter and facebook feeds are filling up with posts regarding various Chambers sightings and mentions of Penn State staff members working the sidelines, oftentimes rubbing elbows with big name coaches. Positive media attention about basketball recruiting? I'll take it.
Probably the most encouraging fact about the whole process has been the depth Chambers has gone to find someone to fill that last spot for 2012. As of today, Penn State has been unofficially involved with roughly 23 recruits, 16 of whom are eligible for the 2012 recruiting class.
What makes this so encouraging is the amount of effort it could have taken Chambers to pick up that last recruit. There are plenty, and I mean plenty of rising seniors in high school who would run to Penn State given the offer. Imagine being a kid who is projected to play at a Mid-Major level school but gets a call from a new coach who needs to fill a roster spot. It's a perfect situation to just fill the spot and move on.
But Pat Chambers isn't playing that game.
It takes far too many words to go over all 23 recruits, and in all honesty about half of those kids shouldn't take Chambers' interest too seriously. For the sake of everyone's time and energy we're just going to touch on some of the bigger names who have a pretty good shot at landing in Happy Valley. It is weird to say, but Penn State has more talent interested in it than it has room for.
6'7 225 Forward
ESPN Rating: 90
Of the prospects Pat Chambers has gone after since taking over, Thomas is one of the most exciting ones. While he's a little undersized at 6'7 to really dominate at forward, he has a great motor and rebounding abilities. Like a lot of young big men, Thomas lacks solid ball control despite his abilities in the paint but is still in an early phase of his development. While this might sound like he's a lost cause, his strength in the lane, and post moves have been good enough to earn him a 90 ESPN rating. Far and away one of the highest rated recruits to give Penn State serious consideration.
I actually got a chance to talk to Thomas about Penn State last week. Considering how close he is to Penn State, it isn't a surprise he's interested in the Nittany Lions. Having already made a visit last year for the Michigan football game he knows what he wants in a school and what he can expect from Penn State. Overall, Thomas is the sort of player that sets a tone for in state recruiting. He isn't a big name guy nationally, but he's a very skilled kid in our backyard. These kinds of players ought to be automatic for Penn State.
"I would say penn state is one of the schools on top of my list because its close to home, its a good academic program and I like the style of play that coach Chambers teaches. The coaching staff is cool, and my friends from school go there. I could see myself going there if I didn’t play basketball and my impressions are that (Chambers) is a great person outside of the basketball court that treats everyone well."
6'8 235 Forward
ESPN Rating: 87
Brandon Taylor is a kid you want on your team. Big solid frame, body that gets it done around the basket, and the shooting ability to score from outside. He's the sort of player that really is only limited by himself. If he can develop his inside and outside game, Taylor is a mismatch every time he touches the ball. He'll need to work on his decision making, and ball handling to truly take his game to the next level. That being said, Taylor has attracted the attention of West Virginia, Georgetown, Boston College and Providence. While I haven't been able to get a hold of Taylor so far this summer, he has made it known that he's down to his final three schools.
6'1 165 Guard
Jersey City NJ
ESPN Rating: 84
Anglin was actually the first player Pat Chambers offered a scholarship to while at Penn State. In a lot of ways Anglin is like a young Talor Battle. I'm not going to suggest, nor will I probably ever suggest a player will turn out to be like Battle, but Anglin is a fast, athletic guard that likes to push it down the floor and can make plays at the rim. Like most High School guards however Anglin needs to work on the consistency of his shot as well as his size. He has the makings of a solid player but is still raw in a lot of areas. At this point Anglin would be a small step back from the other players considering Penn State, especially with the multitude of guards on the current roster. That being said, Anglin has the ability to grow into a productive player and wouldn't be a disappointing pick up in and of himself.
Nobody would have blamed Pat Chambers if he showed up and just tried to get things figured out for his first season in the Big Ten. No staff, a short offseason, and a tough schedule were enough to deal with without the constant stress and struggle of recruiting. With a single scholarship remaining for the 2012 class it would have been easy to find a utility player to fill the roster.
But Pat Chambers isn't playing that game, and the fun is only just beginning.
In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.