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Black Shoe Diaries Field Trip: Penn State Basketball Media Day

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Yesterday, while Nitt Links graced our top spot throughout the day, you might have gotten the impression that us, your humble BSD blogging team had clocked out on the Monday after a bye week. You'd be wrong. Instead, NGameday11 and yours truly took a walk down Curtin Road to Penn State Basketball Media Day at the Bryce Jordan Center to kick off our 2010-2011 basketball season coverage.

After wandering around the nether regions of the arena for a while, we finally found our way to the BJC press room for coach Ed DeChellis and senior guard Talor Battle's press conferences. Following that, it was off to the main floor to meet the team. Here's what everyone had to say, starting with Coach.

Ed DeChellis-full transcript

  • With Sasa Borovnjak's injury, Penn State has been practicing more two-forward sets and has moved away from working with a traditional center at the five spot.
  • Pointed to a lot of seniors as players who've stepped up as leaders in preseason practice. Mentioned Battle, Andrew Jones, David Jackson and Steve Kirkpatrick specifically.
  • Said the team has been bonding more this season as opposed to last. Players and coaches do more hanging out so far, and that has brought the team together.
  • Noted that Penn State lacked leadership last season, probably more in practice than in games.
  • On the Big Ten: "The league is very good. The league is the best in the country. We'll have four or five teams ranked in the top 20 at least. So, night in and night out, it will be tough."
  • Expects Penn State to press in the back court more this season.
  • On criticism: "They want to win, we want to win, so be it. There is always going to be critics out there. I'll say this, if they are going to criticize me, I completely understand that. But, we have a football coach that will go down as the greatest football coach of all-time. And we've got people that criticize him. So who in the heck am I?" 

Talor Battle

  • Stressed the importance of Penn State's "One More" mantra for the season, and finishing strong, citing Penn State's shortcomings in close games last season.
  • Talked about offseason work the team did with a group of former U.S. Marines, and learning the importance of not trying to do too much.
  • Wants to see his teammates enjoy practicing and working together. Feels Penn State fell short in that department last season.
  • On leadership: "We try to attack every practice, and that's my job. To make sure everybody's prepared, energized and ready to go."
  • Tries not to think about the possibility of breaking Penn State's scoring record this season. Want to focus on team goals, and whatever comes along with that will be extra.
  • Said the team's goal is the NCAA Tournament.
  • On brother's legal troubles over the summer: "When my brother got in trouble, it was almost like I got in trouble because I had to deal with the questions about what he does so he knows that. He embarrassed himself, our school and our family. He understands his mistakes and he's ready to go forward and move on."

Billy Oliver

  • Told that Borovnjak's injury has changed a lot of what Penn State was hoping to do this season.
  • Has been headache free since February and is ready to go for 2010-2011.
  • Believes chemistry will be big for the team this season. "We're going through this together."
  • Pointed to walk on Steve Kirkpatrick as one who has helped him a lot personally.
  • 10-19-10 Oliver Media Day -audio

Jonathan Graham

  • Stressed the importance of players stepping up in the wake of Borovnjak's injury.
  • Got a good feeling from the program when he visited before signing in the spring and believes it is going in "and upward direction" moving forward.
  • Enjoys playing with his freshman teammates and says the older players have helped him out a lot.
  • Steve Kirkpatrick has helped him learn the playbook.
  • Believes fellow freshman Taran Buie will be a big contributor this season.
  • On his game: "The biggest thing with me is strength I think. I think if I continue to develop with that, my game will take care of itself skill wise and everything. Continue to work on my mid-range jumper, and continue to work on every aspect of the game that I have."
  • 10-19-10 Graham Media Day -audio

Tim Frazier

  • Doesn't feel any added pressure with the departure of some guards from last season's roster.
  • Has tried to improve his overall game and leadership qualities.
  • Looks up to Talor Battle and tries to emulate his game.
  • Expects to continue to share time with Battle at point guard this season. Believes it gives Penn State the ability to "mix a lot of teams up." Cited his deeper knowledge of the playbook as a positive at the position as well.
  • Has tried to encourage his freshman teammates by talking about his experiences as a freshman last year.
  • Says unlike Battle, who is close with Purdue's Robbie Hummel, he's still looking to establish relationships with other players in the Big Ten.
  • On Borovnjak's injury "I really miss Sasa. He's been working hard in the offseason, and he was my right hand man, pretty much. Both of us were here, working hard. It's a huge miss for us."
  • Believes there's a "huge emphasis" on defense this season.
  • Excited to host Maryland in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge after having a big game against Virginia in it last year. Also looking forward to the trip to Mississippi, as his family will be able to watch him play.
  • 10-19-10 Frazier Media Day 

Steve Kirkpatrick

  • On being pointed to as a leader: "That is one of the best titles I could have, especially as a senior walk on. I love that that's how I'm described."
  • Stressed team's "one more" mantra as well.
  • Believes non-conference schedule is competitive and will prepare players well for Big Ten play.
  • Called Tre Bowman and Taran Buie "very athletic guards" and said Jonathan Graham "really has the ability to block shots down there."
  • Says replacing Borovnjak will be "give a little, take a little."
  • 10-19-10 Kirkpatrick Media Day -audio

Tre Bowman

  • Is a big family guy, and said that was a big factor in selecting Penn State. Tre is from York.
  • Talked about "family atmosphere" of the program.
  • On his game:"Things I do well? Probably attacking the basket, rebounding, shooting the ball. Some things I need to improve on? Probably my defense and guarding the ball...keeping it out of the paint."
  • Called the family atmosphere "Crazy."  Said, "We're always together as a team. There's a lot of things that a lot of college programs don't do, but we do here."
  • 10-19-10 Bowman Media Day -audio

You can check out other player comments over at GoPSUsports.com.