After being delayed a week due to Hurricane Sandy, Penn State finally held its media day, four days before the season tips against St. Francis (PA) at 7:00pm in the BJC. The Nittany Lions are looking to improve on their 12-20 record from last year, and head coach Pat Chambers seemed confident in his team's ability to do so.
While much of Chambers' time at the mic was consumed with answering questions about his star point guard Tim Frazier and Southern Miss. transfer D.J. Newbill ("I stand by what I said. We're going to have a special back court this year"), the second-year coach felt forward Ross Travis deserved much more publicity than he had been receiving:
[Ross Travis] is one of the most valuable players on the team (next to Tim Frazier). He can play one through five -- that's pretty special.
He is critical to a lot of things we're doing, especially early on here, and we're going to need him to play at a very high level -- and he is. He's going to be really big for us. I feel like he's going a big-time year, a really breakout year.
Chambers also confirmed that junior guard Jermaine Marshall was limited in Saturday's exhibition against Philadelphia University due to a tweaked hamstring.
Frazier, Marshall and Newbill followed Chambers at the podium, and much of the focus was on Newbill's relationship with his fellow-Philadelphian coach, as well as the guard's "Philly swagger." It's a provocative term,
but I still have no idea what it means and it seemed to be the buzzword of the day.
A half-hour open practice session followed an open floor session, where I caught up with Frazier and asked his for his impressions of the freshmen (Brandon Taylor, Donovon Jack and Akosa Maduegbunam) in practice so far:
The first time I got to play with Donovon, I was driving to the cup and I threw the ball up and he dunks it, and I'm like 'okay, okay.' He's a very long and athletic guy and then he comes down on the other end and pins the ball on the glass and I'm like 'alright.' We got another athletic guy that can step out and hit the 15-footer, has nice form -- and he's a lefty.
He's spent countless hours this summer getting stronger and trimming down. In the exhibition game he grabbed five rebounds and he can step out and make threes.
I can pass the ball anywhere around the three-point line and his form is perfect. Every time he shoots the ball it's going in.
Finally, a few notes from the open practice session:
- Marshall did not participate in the drills that were open to the media. Instead he rode the stationary bike while the rest of the team performed in transition and shooting drills.
- The practice teams were separated into two groups, one of which seemed to be the regular rotation, consisting of Frazier, Newbill, Travis, Jon Graham, Sasa Borovnjak and Taylor (Marshall presumably would be a part of this group as well).
- Nick Colella practiced with the rest of the team working with assistant coach Brian Daly. Colella picked up where he left off in the Philly U exhibition and knocked down many of his three-point attempts in drills.
- Music was piped in to the practice gym during the open session, and my goodness, whoever was DJing sure knew how to pick 'em. The playlist included Run DMC's "Tricky," along with classics from DMX and Jay-Z.
For full, in-depth coverage of media day featuring press conference transcripts and video, check out GoPSUSports.com.
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