The men's shootyhoops season is now officially over, as Pat Chambers held his final press conference of the season on Monday at the BJC. Despite seeming fairly upset about the team's overall record (SHOCK), Chambers was very upbeat as he discussed the way the season ended for the Lions and his optimism surrounding the team next season.
Chambers covered a little bit of everything during his portion of the presser. He said that he, "needs to do a better job scheduling" when it was brought up that practically half of the Sweet 16 field played against PSU at some point this season, that he's expecting no setbacks when it comes to Tim Frazier getting another year of eligibility and, maybe most importantly, the oversigned roster.
As Eric pointed out here, PSU has 14 players slated to be on scholarship next year, which is awesome, except you can only have 13 players on scholarship per NCAA rules. Chambers, when asked about this, said, "I always felt like these things will take care of themselves." He said he will sit down with every player and answer all of their questions regarding playing time, their role on the team, etc. and be, "brutally honest."
"I'm gonna be patient, see how things go, gonna take my time," Chambers said, "sometimes, things happen."
Chambers discussed Tim Frazier's road to recovery as well. Aside from saying that he sees no issues with the NCAA regarding a redshirt, Chambers said today was a big day for Frazier: it was the first time he ran since November.
"He is on the treadmill running, ran 15 minutes today, full body weight...he's not in Tim Frazier shape, but he's slowly getting back to where he needs to be."
Chambers mentioned that Frazier will work on a lot of stationary stuff when the team begins working out after Easter: shooting form, passing, ball handling, etc.
When it comes to next season, Chambers was excited. Like, really f'ing excited. He did say there are question marks, particularly at the five with Sasa Borovnjak leaving, but that doesn't mean he's not ready. In fact, according to Chambers, "I'm looking forward to year three."
Whether it be him looking for the best lineup ("We're going to put the best team on the floor. The guys that earn it are gonna be the guys that are gonna play."), the incoming freshman class ("I'm excited about this class...we have some power coming in, have to make sure they're ready to play."), transfer John Johnson ("He's ready to go, and he's gonna be instant offense. What a luxury to have someone off the bench giving you 20.") or the possibility of a trip to Europe for exhibitions in August to help Frazier "get his feet wet again," Chambers' optimism about next year was contagious.
However, he's not gonna sit and say he's expecting for the team to take the world by storm. But when he's ready to tell people when he has a team that can, "win 20 games, be top five in the Big Ten, make the tourney," he will.
Speaking of the NCAA Tournament, Chambers said he couldn't even watch it. Why?
"Not making the postseason is not something I want to get used to."
Tim Frazier, Jermaine Marshall, DJ Newbill
As Chambers was leaving, it was announced that the three stars of PSU basket-sport were going to be speaking next. As you can guess, a lot of the questions revolved around Frazier's injured ankle. Frazier, when asked about being able to run today, said, "it's a huge step...being able to run on a treadmill for the first time...it's a huge milestone."
Frazier has been talking to everyone he can about this injury: doctors, trainers, even his sister, who also ruptured her Achilles, and all say that he is right on schedule in terms of his recovery.
Frazier also said he saw some advantages from sitting out. For one, he is bigger, and according to Frazier, he'd like to keep on that weight "as long as it doesn't slow me down." Frazier also said he is closer to Chambers now, the game has slowed down for him and that he feels the same as before. In fact, Frazier said he'd have been willing to play, "I tell the coaches that you could put me in tonight against Ohio State if you needed me."
When asked about Frazier coming back next year, both Marshall and Newbill were optimistic. In a basketball sense, Marshall is glad that he and Newbill "get to move back to our natural positions," even though all three agreed that Newbill made strides on both ends of the court as a point guard (even Newbill said "if I could still play, I would"). Off the court, Newbill is glad that he gets to go against one of the best players in the country every day in practice.
"Battling against him in practice is probably what I missed the most."
As for next season, these three, like their coach, were very optimistic.
"I think we'll use this season as motivation," Marshall said, "use that and we'll be the best team we can be at the end of the year."
"I think it's great for us to have three or four scorers on the court," Frazier said, "one of us has an off night, the other steps up. If that guys has an off night, another guy can step up."
"Everyone has to come in and work hard this offseason," Newbill said, "hold their own, be accountable for next season.
"We trust in believe in (Coach Chambers)," Newbill continued, "if it's gonna give us our best chance at winning, that's what we're gonna do."