Part of the excitement around every hoops season is the addition of new players. However, this year there's increased anticipation since the new players were lured in by Chambers. Instead of trying to fit square pegs into round holes, the staff can now work with the guys who they targeted specifically for their system. The first couple recruiting classes of every new era generally make or break a coach's tenure at the school, so these three players will be huge factors in the staff's attempt to turn this program around.
Akosa Maduegbunam - Boston, MA - 6'3" 200 LB Guard
Akosa committed just four weeks after Chambers took the job all the way back in June 2011. He was born and raised in Boston, where he played at Charlestown High School for two years. He spent his senior season in the highly-competitive NEPSAC league in the Northeast at Winchendon Prep where he averaged 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Maduegbunam adds great athleticism to the backcourt (35-inch vertical), but also has the potential to develop as a shooter. The nearly 20-year-old freshman has matured physically and has the look of a Big Ten guard. With the transfers of Matt Glover and Trey Lewis, there is ample playing time available off the bench, especially in Chambers three guard sets. Expect to see plenty of Maduegbunam throughout the season, especially if he finds consistency from behind the arc (tough task for any freshman).
Brandon Taylor - Tabernacle, NJ - 6'7" 235 LB Forward
Brandon Taylor was one of Chambers' biggest targets for this class last summer. Taylor had a very strong AAU campaign on the circuit with Team Philly. He chose PSU over Miami FL, Minnesota, Temple, among other offers. The versatile four man had a successful high school career at Trenton Catholic Academy where he won a state title as a sophomore.
Taylor just recently turned 18 last month, but he also has the look of a Big Ten baller. He has already shed nearly 30 pounds since he arrived on campus over the summer. Look for Taylor to be a threat from both on the block, but also out on the perimeter. He's the fit at the four position that Chambers wants for his four-out one-in motion offense. He seems to be of the same mold as former Penn State player Travis Parker, but with a better build and more bounce.
Donovon Jack - Reading, PA - 6'9" 205 LB Forward
Donovon signed with Chambers and Penn State in the spring after he got his release from Duquesne after Ron Everhart was fired. Jack, like Maduegbunam, was a target for Chambers when he was at Boston U, and he continued to recruit him at PSU. After Taylor verballed, PSU was out of scholarships, so Jack moved on and decided on the Dukes. It all worked out in the end though once he got his release from his LOI in March.
Jack also brings great athleticism to the frontcourt, as many have lauded his ability to run the floor and finish in transition. Like Taylor, the lefty also has the ability face up out on the perimeter. His strength is a concern as he weighs in at 205 pounds which is meager on the low blocks in the rugged Big Ten. But if he can adjust physically and hold his own in the paint on defense, Jack also will see plenty of action in his freshmen season.
Neither of these three guys are top-100 guys, nor did they have particularly extensive offer sheets, but they all bring unique skill sets and high major athleticism. They all will have their opportunity to make an impact off the bench for this upcoming season. PSU doesn't have the luxury of redshirting any of them with so few options on the pine. It should fun watching them progress under Chambers' tutelage.
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