Mark Brennan of 247sports.com reported earlier this week that Valdir Manuel will not be joining the Penn State basketball team as planned. The incoming center was set to be a supporting contributor for the Lions next season.
To this point, not much has gone as planned for Manuel. The Lions were the fifth team that Manuel committed to joining since leaving high school but he has yet to make an impact at the Division 1 level. This news leaves the current roster short one big man, as Manuel was expected to be the primary backup to John Harrar at the center position next year.
With just Trent Buttrick on the roster having experience, while very limited, at the center position, a player will likely join the fold in the coming weeks. Last year around this time there was concern that the Lions would not have adequate depth at the guard position, mostly in terms of handling the ball. With the departure of Rasir Bolton, after just one season, Pat Chambers was left scrambling to find a replacement.
Chambers found a suitable transfer in Curtis Jones. Chambers got the depth that he needed and even some scoring at critical times. Not much was expected of Curtis Jones at this point during the off-season last year.
It is almost certain that Pat Chambers will bring in a player to fill the void. His only other option would be to adopt Norman Dale’s strategy of having just four players on the court.
Valdir Manuel is an intriguing prospect even though he seems to be a bit of a rolling stone. Hopefully he will find a place at the collegiate level that will allow him to show his talent.
It’s doubtful that Pat Chambers will opt to go with a four-player lineup, so we should see some type of movement on the roster. Last time around, there was little fanfare for the arrival of Curtis Jones and it took a month or so into the season for skeptics to realize that while Jones was not a clone of Rasir Bolton, he was able to provide the minutes that were vacated with Bolton’s departure.
Valdir Manuel was expected, by my calculations, to play 15 minutes per game and score roughly 8 points, grabbing 5 rebounds and able to hit a three point shot per game. The Lions may not replace Manuel with a player that has similar attributes. One key part of the equation that people outside the program do not have that Pat Chambers may, is whether the team will be able to count on Abdou Tsimbila this season.
Tsimbila is expected to join the team, but after last year, it is hard to believe that until he is officially in uniform and on the court during a game. We heard about Tsimbila and his arrival being pushed back until the spring semester last season, then he never enrolled. He has been an enigma to this point but should he show up and be ready to play, the void may already be filled for the Lions.
There is plenty of time for Pat Chambers, coming off his most successful season in Happy Valley, to make a move. With all that is going on in the world outside of sports, I personally would not worry at all about the situation. Chances are things will work out great, as they did a year ago. Hopefully Manuel will find a happy home. The open spot on the Penn State roster is a great opportunity for players around the country.