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Hoops Happenings: Brooks, Battle Fight for NBA Spots

NBA Summer League Rosters Released:

Two former Penn Staters will be competing for a spot on NBA rosters over the next couple weeks, as Talor Battle and Jeff Brooks earned invites to audition on the Clippers and Knicks Summer League teams, respectively. Both Battle and Brooks graduated in 2011, and both have played in Europe since.

Both may have modest expectations, the door is open, at least, for Jeff Brooks, given the Knicks salary cap constraints and lack of front-court depth. It wouldn't be a surprise to see them forced to sign someone off the Summer League roster, so Brooks may have a chance to prove himself worthy of an NBA roster spot. The road will be tougher for Talor Battle, but hey, he's done the miraculous before.

Battle started his professional career in France, but only lasted 9 games with Cholet Basket, averaging 8.4 points and 2 assists in 17 minutes per game. He left that team for Germany's Telekom Basket Bonn, and put up 11.5 points per game in 26 games. Both teams are at the highest level of their national leagues.

Jeff Brooks played for Filena Jesi, excelling in Italy basketball's second division. In 28 games, Brooks averaged 17 points and 7 rebounds per game, shooting 62% from the field and 41% from downtown.

Both will play in the Las Vegas Summer League--the Knicks open Saturday, while the Clippers first game isn't until Monday. In a weird development, Brooks is also listed on the Washington Wizards summer league roster, and their first game is tonight, so...I guess we'll find out later what's actually going on.

Tim Frazier Learns From LeBron

It's been a busy summer for the Penn State point guard, but one that promises improvement off an already-standout breakthrough junior season. Earlier this summer, Frazier spent a week in Chicago at the Deron Williams Skills Academy, training alongside the top guards in college basketball, and this past weekend, he learned from the best, working out at LeBron James' camp, an exclusive event open only to two dozen of the top college players in the nation.

"I think Tim is going to bring back maturity, the experience of being out there, and also the fact that people are finally starting to recognize Penn State from a basketball standpoint," said head coach Pat Chambers. "The culture here is starting to change, and we develop our players. He can also bring back the work ethic he saw out there, and say ‘this is what we were doing at Deron Williams, this is what was going on at LeBron camp,’ and just help get everyone on the team ready for any situation possible."

Frazier also stuck around to mentor the high school players in attendance, which included some of the top prospects in the nation. Who knows, maybe he plugged Penn State to a couple of 'em.

Will The Frontcourt Improve?

The folks over at BT Powerhouse took a look at Penn State's greatest weakness heading into the 2012 season--the lack of depth and elite talent in the frontcourt. Ross Travis is going to be expected to take a big step forward, but the freshmen--even the highly touted Brandon Taylor--might not make much of a difference just yet.

In short, Penn State has very little stability in the frontcourt heading into the 2012-13 season. There is much talent in the backcourt, but in order for this team to make noise in the Big Ten, someone up front needs to step up big time. Right now, I would guess that Travis or Taylor would be that guy, but most likely Penn State will struggle at the forward position once again this year.

Recruiting Season Gets Underway

This is more Eric's forte, and I'm sure he'll have any news as it comes out, but the July live period just began, and the coaching staff will be on the road evaluating and contacting prospects. One name to keep an eye on is Boston University transfer Jake O'Brien, a versatile and accomplished 6-8 220 pound big man who will be able to play immediately and may want to reunite with his former coach Pat Chambers.