I remember vividly the first time I noticed Terrence Samuel. It was midway in the first half of his Connecticut Huskies’ ugly but interesting 2014 NCAA tournament national semifinal upset of No. 1 overall seed Florida. And it’s a window into the kind of player Penn State is getting when Samuel transfers in and begins playing the season after next.
At the time of Samuel’s entry, UConn was trailing 16-4 with nine minutes left in the first half and had been thoroughly outplayed by Billy Donovan’s national leader in defensive efficiency. The Huskies had bumbled through 16 possessions, six ending in turnovers. They needed to jump-start their offense, but how?
The answer seemed counterintuitive but it worked: More defense.
That’s what the Brooklyn-bred Samuel, then a freshman, brought to the game as UConn coach Kevin Ollie switched to a triple-point-guard lineup. Teaming with Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright, Samuel was a dynamo, pressing the perimeter, harassing the Gators on double-teams like a jumping spider hopping around a screen door. For a 6-3 guard, he’s dogged, disruptive and surprisingly quick.
In less than six minutes, Connecticut had tied the game 20-20 at the under-4:00 timeout and the game never took another significant turn. The Huskies continued to dominate on the defensive end. Florida never made a single 3-pointer after its first possession and died with a sigh, 63-53.
Samuel played 18 minutes and the Huskies were a whopping +15 while he was on the court. He was in the middle of the game’s single pivot point….
Penn State has added transfer guard Terrence Samuel following a Tuesday visit to campus, sources confirmed to Lions247 Tuesday. CBSSports initially reported the story.
The former Connecticut Husky and South Shore (Brooklyn, N.Y.) guard will have two years of eligibility remaining after sitting out the upcoming season due to NCAA transfer rules. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Samuel averaged 3.0 points and 1.7 rebounds during his first two collegiate seasons, upping his minutes from nine per game during the Huskies’ national championship run in 2014 to just over 20 per game — with eight starts — this past season.
LAS VEGAS – D.J. Newbill is the poster child for perseverance.
He overcame it when his dream college turned its back on him and then the situation at his new school did not work out. He also dealt with the death of his mother. But while some people might have given up on their dreams, the recent Penn State graduate remained motivated.
Now the 6-foot-4, 210-pound point guard could hear his named called in the second round of the NBA draft on June 25.
“I talk to all my friends back home. We joke and laugh about how far I came until now,” Newbill said after a pro day workout Friday in front of 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie and other NBA executives and scouts. “They always tell me, ‘Man, we all want a chance like this.’ And I realize that.
“So this is a privilege. I’m happy to be in this situation. So I just take it in and maximize this opportunity.”
The former Strawberry Mansion High School standout was in Denver Monday, working out for the Nuggets. That marked his fourth workout in as many days.
After his pro day, he worked out for the Los Angeles Lakers (Saturday) and the Indiana Pacers (Sunday). He has also worked out for the 76ers, Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons and Oklahoma City Thunder. He is scheduled to work out for the Orlando Magic, Atlanta Hawks and the Clippers, a second time, before the draft.
Geno Thorpe and Penn State have parted ways. A statement from Penn State:
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Patrick Chambers, head coach of the Penn State men’s basketball team, announced Thursday that Geno Thorpe, a sophomore guard from Pittsburgh, would not return to the Nittany Lions next season.
“We thank Geno for his two years at Penn State and wish him well,” Chambers said.
Thorpe saw action in 66 games during his two seasons with Penn State, averaging 6.0 points and 2.1 rebounds.
Geno could turn it up on defense, his offense was developing, and he had that certain, well, je nais se quoi:
Tony Carr and Lamar Stevens, two members of Philly AAU Team Final (and teammates of Penn State commit Nazeer Bostick there and at Philly Roman Catholic this coming season), have been named to both ESPN and Scout’s pre-summer top 100 recruiting rankings.
Tony Carr: 41 Scout; 52 ESPN
Lamar Stevens: 74 ESPN, 88 Scout
Carr is ranked 41 by Scout and 52 by ESPN. Stevens is ranked 74 by ESPN and 88 by Scout.
Penn State is also recruiting the DMV’s Markelle Fultz (21 ESPN, 23 Scout), who visited Penn State in the spring, and is said to be recruting Kevin Huerter (63 Scout, 73 ESPN), who comes from Talor Battle’s neck of the woods.
Markelle Fultz: 21 ESPN, 23 Scout
Kevin Huerter: 63 Scout, 73 ESPN
With Bostick and Joe Hampton of Oak Hill Academy, Penn State has two commitments from the class of ’16, and barring any summer changes (transfers in or out), three scholarships left for the early signing period in November.