Last Year's Synopsis
DJ Newbill was the second player to commit to Pat Chambers, transferring to State College after just one year at Southern Mississippi. If you don't remember his story, Newbill originally signed with Marquette in the spring after his senior season, but just a few months later, they released him from his scholarship over some made-up technical error with his paperwork. Left stranded in July with no college scholarship, Newbill just happened to tag along with a former high school teammate on a recruiting visit to Southern Mississippi. They turned out to be his safety net, as Larry Eustachy fell in love with Newbill's game (he didn't even know he was coming on the visit).
Newbill had a solid freshmen campaign on a quality, senior-laden Southern Miss squad, but it was never the right fit for him, and he decided to transfer back closer to home. He had to sit out last season, but was a force on the scout team for PSU. A constant challenger for the 'Attitude Club', Chambers' reward for the best efforts in practice, Newbill has been lauded by Chambers for over a year now. Now he's finally has the chance to back the hype.
Newbill's freshman numbers were very good, but he was afforded the opportunity to play off of a talented, senior-laden team. He was the only freshman in the starting line up for Eustachy among four upperclassmen. His team was reliant on senior forward Gary Flowers to do the scoring (18.8 PPG, 33.6% Shot%), but Newbill found his role quickly and excelled greatly at it. His 113.4 offensive rating is efficiency not seen before by the current Nittany Lions.
The best statistic in that table that speaks volumes about his game is his free throw rate (which was rated in the Top-100 according to KenPom.com). Newbill attempted 187 field goals in his freshmen year and got the foul line 126 times. Clearly, he not only isn't afraid to penetrate the defense, but he's highly effective doing so. He'll add another dimension in that regard to a team that already features a few penetrators in Tim Frazier and Jermaine Marshall.
Chambers expects a ton out of Newbill, who has already been named a team captain in just his first eligible year with the program. But it's hard to project exactly how Newbill will fit into the equation based off just his freshmen numbers. He won't be allowed to take just 13.5% of the shots when he's on the floor, so his efficiency could very well decline. Also, he likely won't be able to boost PSU's three point shooting, as he only took 14 attempts from distance in his first year of college basketball.
But what we do know is he'll bring toughness to this program in the rugged Big Ten. Think Jamelle Cornley-like attitude on the floor, hence why he was named captain. He won't be afraid to take it inside or crash the boards (11.3% OReb% in '10-'11). Reports also praise Newbill's high IQ on the floor, so it's hopeful he'll be able to mesh with Frazier and Marshall quite well. He's going to have to if PSU is to have 'the best backcourt in the country'.
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