Nothing rings in the new college basketball season quite like regurgitated quotes and coaches confirming things we already knew - a.k.a., media day. Unfortunately, BSD was unable to make it to this year's cliché-a-palooza, because we are not fully committed to our work as journalists. For that, we insincerely apologize. Here's what we learned from Penn State's media day:
1. D.J. Newbill will start at the point, at least for now.
We already knew Pat Chambers wasn't blessed with an experienced, true lead guard heading into today, so his confirmation that the underrated Newbill will man the point to start the season came as no surprise. Chambers went on to add that junior college product Devin Foster and freshman Shep Garner will be competing for backup minutes. Foster's age and maturity should give him a slight advantage in that battle, and Newbill gave the junior his endorsement:
D.J. Newbill, who played with Tim Frazier, calls Devin Foster "one of the best passers he's seen in a long time."— Stephen Pianovich (@SPianovich) October 14, 2014
Six months is a "long time," as college basketball fans will attest.
2. Geno Thorpe and John Johnson will compete for the other starting guard spot.
Naturally, with Newbill playing the one, a spot at shooting guard comes up for grabs. It leaves us with a position battle that will tell us a lot about Pat Chambers' philosophy early in the season. On one hand, he can opt for the high-upside, high-risk offensive-minded player in John Johnson - who is a senior, it should be noted. On the other hand, Chambers can go for Geno Thorpe, who made his greatest impression as an on-ball defender during his freshman year. Here's how they stacked up against each other in 2013-14:
|GP||% Min||% Shots||eFG%||Ortg||2pt%||3PM-3PA||FT Rate||Stl%||TO Rate||PPG||APG||FT%|
Chambers has compared his Johnson to Vinnie "Microwave" Johnson (phrasing!) before, which could point to Thorpe getting the nod. Then again, Thorpe has been in his doghouse before and Chambers did make three-point shooting a point of emphasis at today's press conference. I've asked my 16-year old cousin Joey, a sportswriter for his high school's newspaper, what he thinks:
It will be interesting to see what happens at the start of the season.
3. The team captains are Newbill, Ross Travis, Brandon Taylor, and
Hoops McGloin Kevin Montminy
Newbill and Travis retain their captaincy from last season. Montminy earned a scholarship this offseason and is held in very high regard by everyone associated with the program. Brandon Taylor apparently drew the short end of the captaincy stick, because his duties include keeping the locker room trash-free. No, for real (skip to 3:53):
4. Pat talked about the World Wide Web.
Penn State has previously "banned" players from social media use during the season, but Chambers is employing a new #strat for this group starting November 1st. Pat also revealed he went Herb Hand on a recruit or two after looking at their online #brands.
5. Who has been practicing at a high level?
6. Who is in the best shape of their lives?
7. Did Pat discuss a possible contract extension?
No, gosh dangit. C'mon already, Sandy.