You might not believe this, but Pat Chambers had plenty to say during his two-day stint on the annual Penn State Coaches Caravan this week. For starters, and perhaps most interestingly, Chambers laid out his thoughts on the proposed 30-second shot clock that will likely be coming to college basketball this November. From PennLive:
"I think the adjustment for me is, I'm gonna pick up full-court more. We have that ¾-court press. I think we have the athletes now to pick up 94 by 50 feet. So, we're gonna do some different things to create turnovers, to create easier baskets."
The Nittany Lions played at a faster pace than any other Big Ten team in 2015 at 64.8 possessions per game (per KenPom.com), and they were 11th in the conference in three-point percentage. Seems like a pressure defense is just what the doctor ordered. The addition of two high-major athletes in freshmen Josh Reaves and Mike Watkins certainly won't hurt the cause if full-court chaos is Chambers' goal.
On the other hand, it might not matter a whole lot because the Big Ten is going to be quite good in 2015-16. Crimson Quarry has a way-too-early preview here, in which they write that nine teams(!) will make the big dance. They have the Nittany Lions finishing 13th (thanks Rutgers!), and until we see Penn State play some non-conference teams to find out just what they're gonna do without D.J. Newbill, it's hard to disagree.
Speaking of the 2,000-point scorer, Chambers gave his honest assessment of Newbill's NBA future on Wednesday. (Spoiler alert: he thinks he has one!). Ben Jones has the story here.
As for that non-conference schedule, it's coming together slowly but surely. Jon Rothstein tweeted that PSU's trip to the Palestra to face Drexel will take place on Saturday, December 19, which Chambers confirmed later in the day at a caravan stop. Also, deep on the interwebs, a Bucknell message board contends that the Bison have renewed their series with Penn State and will return to the BJC this season (shoutout to Eric for digging this up). This fixture might've been in jeopardy considering the stylish Dave Paulsen bolted for the George Mason job this summer, but new Bucknell coach Nathan Davis looks set to re-up this rather competitive series. Here's our latest stab at Penn State's projected non-conference schedule:
|2||11/17 or 11/18||vs DePaul||Gavitt Games|
|3||11/?||at Duquesne||4-yr Series|
|5||11/28||vs. Bucknell (rumored)||H-H Series|
|6||12/2||at Boston College||B1G/ACC Challenge|
|8||12/8||at George Washington||H-H Series|
|9||12/?||TBD||Las Vegas Classic|
|10||12/?||TBD||Las Vegas Classic|
|11||12/19||vs Drexel (Palestra)||H-H Series|
|12||12/22||vs Kent State / SMU / Colorado||Las Vegas Classic|
|13||12/23||vs Kent State / SMU / Colorado||Las Vegas Classic|
Ideally Penn State will have three assistant coaches on the bench when they open the season in mid-November, but for now the spot vacated by Brian Daly remains unfilled. On Thursday's caravan event, Chambers mentioned that "approximately 150" people have contacted him about the position. It doesn't look like we'll be waiting long for an announcement, however - the listing no longer appears on Penn State's jobs portal. Update: Director of Basketball Operations Ross Condon was promoted to assistant coach, per Jon Rothstein.
Finally, Chambers talked to Lions247's Jeff Rice about recruiting in very general terms that could no way apply to the current crop of unsigned but committed high school athletes that will graduate in the spring of 2016. Make of it what you will.
Regarding the class of 2015, the lone remaining target, Johncarlos Reyes, plans on making a few more visits before making a final decision, according to hoopseen.com. Penn State appears to remain firmly in the mix, especially now that 2015 forward Eric Cobb has landed at South Carolina. Reyes looked set to make a visit to USC last month, but Cobb's commitment likely ends that relationship. BSD will have a bigger shootyhoopscrootin' breakdown coming soon, if you're in to that sort of thing.