Coach Chambers’ summer press conference:
UNIVERSITY PARK – The Penn State men’s basketball team, in conjunction with WPSU, has launched a web and social media-based series called “#UNLOCKED.” The videos feature never before seen access into the Nittany Lion players, coaches, staff and program.
“We want to give our fans and followers a look into our program they have never seen before,” Patrick Chambers, who is entering his sixth season as head coach, said. “This is an exciting time for Penn State basketball and we are looking forward to sharing the entire process with Nittany Nation.”
Shorter videos, like this inside look at Chambers watching his son’s baseball game, will be shared throughout the week while longer form features will debut on every other Wednesday beginning tomorrow, July 27. First Team All-Big Ten forward Jarrett Stephens will narrate the webisode featuring one of the first team practices during summer workouts.
All 13 scholarship players have been here for the second session of summer classes and working out together since the beginning of July. The Nittany Lions return three starters – Shep Garner, Payton Banks and Josh Reaves – and seven total letterwinners from a year ago. With the expected availability of UConn transfer Terrence Samuel and redshirt freshman Mike Watkins, as well as the highly-touted freshman class of Nazeer Bostick, Tony Carr, Joe Hampton and Lamar Stevens, the Nittany Lions have what CBS’ Jon Rothstein is calling a “legitimate Big Ten rotation.”
Season tickets for the Nittany Lions’ 2016-17 season are on sale now through the Ticket Account Manager (renewals) or by calling 1-800-NITTANY (new orders). Season ticket holders receive up to a 50 percent savings over the single-game ticket prices, in addition to a host of other season ticket holder benefits throughout the year.
Marley Paul in CoBL:
Before diving into conference play, a young Penn State roster — expected to play five freshmen — will face some early adversity as games against at least five teams that finished higher than the Nittany Lions in the RPI rankings last season are already on the confirmed non conference slate. Chambers has placed an emphasis on strengthening out-of-conference competition for his team, which finished 124th nationally and fourth-worst in the Big Ten in RPI, with hopes to fare better in late season meetings.
“I want to put them in the fire, early and often, and see how they react,” Chambers said June 3, addressing the media at the 20th annual Coaches vs. Cancer Golf Tournament on campus, “and that’s only going to help us.
“And there’s going to be good times and there’s going to bad times, that’s part of the process but when we get to January, when we play in that Big Ten I think we’re going to be that much prepared. Is that 10-3, 13-0, 8-5? I don’t know what it’s going to be, but it’s exciting to know that we’re going to face these challenges earlier and maybe get these guys a little bit further along by the time January comes around.”
Their non-con schedule is highlighted by meetings with three ACC teams (Duke, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech) and a trip to D.C. for reigning NIT champion Georgia Washington (the front end of a reported home and home series.) Penn State will face either Cincinnati or Rhode Island in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off.
The aforementioned teams scheduled for non conference play, except for 116th place Rhode Island, all finished in the top 70 in RPI.
“I did a lot of research in putting this non conference schedule together,” Chambers said, adding that he consulted with two people with heavy influence in the NCAA basketball committee’s postseason selection: ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi and an “analytics guy” from the Big Ten, presumably Kevin Pauga, who created his own algorithm, KPI, which evaluates and weighs each game played with an array of variables.
“So there’s no stone left unturned in this situation,” Chambers added. “We really put a lot of thought into this and I just want to give these kids a chance.”…
He was a revelation, a refreshing success story after New Orleans had endured a frustrating portion of the season filled with bad news, including key injuries, a losing streak and the vanishing of realistic playoff hopes. When point guard Tim Frazier signed with the Pelicans on March 16, they’d already begun to lose important key contributors to injuries and had dropped the first four games of a coast-to-coast five-game road trip. From just about the instant the 10-day signee stepped on the court at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, however, the Pelicans began looking like a more cohesive team.
Frazier made an eye-opening debut for New Orleans in a 15-point road win over the Kings, finishing with 14 points and nine assists, a sign of things to come over the final month of the regular season. Almost exclusively in a reserve role, Frazier was an effective scorer (13.1 points per game, 45.0 percent from the field, 41.9 percent from three-point range), but more importantly, he adeptly ran the New Orleans offense by consistently spotting open teammates for baskets. Frazier averaged 7.5 assists in his 16 games with New Orleans; if he’d averaged 7.5 over the course of the entire 2015-16 season, it would’ve ranked him tied for sixth in the NBA, behind only Rajon Rondo, Russell Westbrook, John Wall, Chris Paul and Ricky Rubio….
Dana O’Neil at ESPN:
With this year’s incoming class, Patrick Chambers finally might have solved the riddle. The Penn State head coach signed three players from Philadelphia Catholic League traditional power Roman Catholic High School, signings that not only instantly make the Nittany Lions better but as important, give the program a legitimate footprint in Philly and a hope for the future. Because if this quartet, a class currently ranked 25th in the nation, performs well, there’s no doubt other Philly kids will consider making the quick trip west on the Pennsylvania Turnpike to play basketball.
Now or never might seem a bit dramatic, but really if not now, when will Penn State change the tune on its basketball program?
Along with a bevy of guards, athletic wings and bigs who can all run and are in place for a faster brand of basketball at Penn State, incoming true freshman Lamar Stevens also often earns a mention. A mismatch with a “man’s body already” who will arrive at Penn State late next month with a 6-foot-7, 220 pound frame, Stevens serves as an example of what the Nittany Lions would like to see come to fruition next year.
“We want to run,” said Chambers, reeling off the names of Terrence Samuel, Shep Garner, Tony Carr, Nazeer Bostick, Isaiah Washington and Josh Reaves. “So we are athletic, we have speed, we’re really fast, we want to get up and down the floor. And Lamar is going to really be rewarded by running because he’s that good of a finisher and he’s that fast up and down the court.” …
BWI reports that Joe Hampton is enrolling Saturday:
Taking classes in both the first and second academic summer sessions lasting six weeks beginning Monday and lasting through August, it’s a jump Nittany Lion head coach Patrick Chambers is excited to have Hampton start. And, even though Hampton missed all of Oak Hill’s season, he has been medically cleared to participate and work out, which he’s already doing.
“He’s running, he’s shooting, he’s working out,” said Chambers. “But this is a whole new level of mentality, new level of physicality, of conditioning, of weight lifting, of intensity. So I always say we’ll put the training wheels on and hopefully we’ll take them off by the fall.”
Suffering the setback in October, Hampton has used the time since to rehabilitate the knee to the point where the possibility of participation for the 2016-17 season is on the table, said Chambers.
“The injury hurt him a little bit, but he’s already eating well, he’s already listening to us, he’s already doing what he’s supposed to do,” said Chambers. “I look for him Summer Session II to be 100 percent, full force.