Best things to come out of Philly since the cheesesteak. pic.twitter.com/Odo2zmVu7Z
— Penn State Hoops (@PennStateMBB) October 20, 2014
NOT AFFILIATED WITH, OR AUTHORIZED BY, PENN STATE UNIVERSITY
D.J. Newbill is the CoBL 2014-15 College Preseason Player of the Year. Photo: Maddy Pryor
City of Basketball Love:
Without further ado, this year’s 2014-15 CoBL College Preseason Awards:
Preseason Player of the Year
D.J. Newbill, Sr., Penn State
You may be asking yourself something along the lines of, “D.J. Newbill? Is Penn State even good? Why would you vote for him when DeAndre Bembry is going to blow up this year?”
Because Newbill, who has seemingly gone under the national radar his entire collegiate career may be ready to produce one of the best individual seasons by a Penn Stater in years.
Newbill started his career at Southern Miss, where he averaged 9.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game his freshman year before transferring to Happy Valley. He was the first major “recruit” that head coach snagged from the Philadelphia area, following that up Team Philly alumnus Brandon Taylor , along with Pitt transfer John Johnson and redshirt sophomore Julian Moore. Newbill basically opened up the Philly pipeline.
He’s improved his game dramatically every year. His redshirt year proved to be crucial in his development considering his scoring average nearly doubled to 16.3 ppg as a redshirt sophomore while learning the point guard position on the fly as he carried the majority of the offense with Tim Frazier sidelined with an Achilles’ injury. Newbill upped his scoring average to 17.8 ppg last year while pulling in 4.9 rpg, though saw his assist numbers drop with Frazier back in the fold.
But Frazier is gone now, which means the offense is going to run through Newbill nearly every offensive possession. Freshman Shep Garner and JuCo transfer Devin Foster are the only point guards on the roster, though both are considered more combo guards than point guards.
The point is, Newbill will have the ball in his hands a lot, directing the offense and being the leader of this team. He added a consistent 3-point shot last year and improved his on-ball defense. He’s the second-leading returning Big Ten scorer behind Nebraska’s Terran Petteway. His assist numbers are sure to increase this year and his scoring numbers likely will as well being the first option on offense.
UncleLar on the PennStateHoops.com forum, via Lions247:
With one scholarship available for the 2015 class, the big hoops recruiting weekend is highlighted by 2015 Haverford Pa. School point guard Levan Alston, who will be using his third official visit to see Penn State this weekend, with a scheduled announcement date for Sept. 30 at his school.
The No. 116 overall player in the 247Sports Composite rankings has already visited Temple and VCU officially this fall, and has narrowed his focus to the three schools. All eight of the 6-foot-4, 165-pound guard’s 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions are for the Owls.
“I’m going to get up to Penn State the last weekend of September 26-28,” Alston told Owls247 earlier this month. “I’d like to go and get another look at the school and talk with the players and coaches face-to-face. They’ve got a great campus and a basketball program that’s on the rise, so I’m definitely looking forward to [taking the official visit].”
The senior point guard did dislocate his elbow last weekend in a game, but should be back in action in 4-6 weeks.
Alston will be joining 2015 Nittany Lion commits Josh Reaves and Deividas Zemgulis, who will both be taking their lone official visit this weekend.
Black Shoe Diaries:
Enter the staff’s current #1 target, Levan Alston Jr., who also goes by “Shawn” and/or “Shizz”.
The son of former Temple baller Levan Alston, Shizz has been a priority for Penn State since the beginning of his recruitment. In fact, the Lions were the first to offer the Philadelphia native a scholarship over 16 months ago. While schools like Notre Dame, Georgetown, Marquette, Purdue and Cincinnati have thrown offers his way, the 6’4″ scoring guard has narrowed his list down to just three contenders – Penn State, Temple and VCU.
For a while now, many have considered Alston a heavy Temple lean as evidenced by all eight of his 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions. Not only is he a legacy recruit, but Temple is also in his North Philly backyard. The scales continued to tip in the Owls favor when Alston’s close friend and AAU teammate Trey Lowe committed to the AAC program in August. But despite all of the signs pointing to Broad Street, Shizz didnt commit to Fran Dunphy on his official visit two weeks ago.
That has left the door open for Pat Chambers and his staff to seal the deal with the 4-star prospect. Alston is scheduled to take his official visit to Penn State over homecoming weekend. It will be his last visit before he announces his decision at an 8:00am press conference on September 30th at The Haverford School.
Penn State will also host Josh Reaves and Davis Zemgulis for their own officials that weekend in an obvious ploy to turn up the heat on Alston. Freshman guard Shep Garner was Alston’s AAU teammate with Team Final and is expected to be his host on the visit, as well. Clearly the stage is set for Penn State to throw whatever they can at Shizz to lure him to Happy Valley.
S/o PSU visit this weekend pic.twitter.com/JsSQwdFMux
— Ant (@__AntC) September 4, 2014
Penn State will be hosting 2016 Bowie (Md.) St. John’s College point guard Anthony Cowan on an unofficial visit this weekend for the football game against Akron.
The three star is ranked No. 112 overall by 247Sports, and is the No. 1 player in Washington D.C.
Cowan visited Penn State in June when he picked up an offer from the Nittany Lions, and has since visited Georgetown once and Maryland two times.
The 6-foot, 170 pound guard hold offers from the Terrapins and Hoyas, in addition to offers from Florida State, George Washington, Rhode Island and Xavier.
City of basketball Love:
Mike Watkins, a senior forward and Penn State commit, will be leaving the Public League for the Malvern boarding school for his final year of his school basketball, Phelps coach Brian Shanahan confirmed on Tuesday.
“Mike’s a high-energy rim protector and a guy that, his energy on the court and being his size, allows you to get a different dynamic on defense,” Shanahan said. “He’s a high-major defender, now we have nine months here to work him into being an offensive player that can contribute at some level.”
Watkins, a 6-foot-9 center, committed to Penn State last summer, before he even got to play in the July Live Periods of his 16U summer. But he’s stayed committed to Pat Chambers and staff as they’ve built a solid class around him, adding a wing in Deividas Zemgulis and a very talented combo guard in Josh Reaves to the mix, with a scholarship still left open….
Philadelphia Daily News:
D.J. Newbill, the combo guard from North Philadelphia and Strawberry Mansion High, garnered opportunities this summer reserved for only the upper echelon of high school and collegiate players. They came in the span of a few weeks from late June to mid-July, and resulted in the chance to compete against the reigning NBA MVP and briefly as a teammate of the best player on the planet.
“Oh, man, it’s definitely been a breathtaking experience,” Newbill, a rising senior, said on a recent morning. “I really can’t find a word in the dictionary to describe my summer as a whole.”
Newbill, whose 17.8 points per game last season ranked second in the Big Ten, spent about 7 days combined competing in elite basketball camps, first at the Kevin Durant Skills Academy in Washington and then the LeBron James Skills Academy in Las Vegas.
Newbill’s performance in 2 1/2 days at Durant’s camp, which features the top 15 collegiate wing players, earned him a trip to the camp run by LeBron. In a somewhat off-the-cuff 5-on-5 drill consisting of three teams on the court at the same time, the 6-4 Newbill defended the 6-10 Durant on two possessions. Both culminated in post-up fadeaways, said Newbill, who added that he tried to body up Durant a bit.
How’d he do?
“He went 50 percent from the field,” Newbill said with a wide smile….
Eighty-nine. Seventy-three. Sixty-nine. Seventy-four. One hundred and twenty-three. Those are Penn State’s recruiting class rankings, starting with 2013 and going back to 2010. Coming in with the No. 13 class in the nation is nothing short of remarkable. They have two top 100 players [Mike Watkins and Josh Reaves] and a three-star small forward in Deividas Zemgulis. Pat Chambers still has one scholarship to play around with, so this class could, inconceivably, get even better. It would be one of the most remarkable recruiting turnarounds in recent memory.