Days after the unexpected departure of four players, Penn State men's basketball coach Ed DeChellis said he does not expect any more players to leave.
DeChellis held his end-of-season press conference Tuesday afternoon and responded with a simple "nope" when asked if there were any indications of further departures from the team.
Penn State announced over the weekend that Chris Babb and Bill Edwards will transfer, and Adam Highberger and Andrew Ott will graduate and not use their remaining eligibility.
DeChellis declined to comment on the particulars of the transfers, and said they are personal matters. However, the coach said he was not aware either Babb or Edwards was planning to leave before meeting with them last week.
"Those are very unique situations and both are leaving for their own personal reasons, and we respect those reasons and we move on," DeChellis said. "Both of them are nice kids, and they wanted to do something different."
The departures leave the Nittany Lions with four unused scholarships, one of which has been awarded to incoming freshman guard Taran Buie. The other three scholarships are open, and the entire coaching staff has been out recruiting.
When asked if he expected the coaching staff to return in its entirety, DeChellis paused before answering.
"Yes. I hope so," DeChellis said. "The staff has been great, they've worked extremely hard, we've got a good cohesive group and, as of right now, everybody seems to be in good shape."
Scholarships may not be filled
Regarding the remaining scholarships, DeChellis said the staff would look to take whatever players it could to help the team, with an inside player and another perimeter player as priorities.
The coaches have been aggressively scouting both the high school and junior college ranks, and DeChellis said he was out yesterday and will be scouting the rest of the week. DeChellis said assistant coaches Dan Earl and Lewis Preston were at junior college events in Hutchinson, Kan., and Danville, Ill., within the last 10 days. Asked if a junior college player was a possibility, like Stanley Pringle three years ago, DeChellis said the rules make accepting a transfer difficult.
Big Ten rules require a prospective player to have 52 hours of transferable credits in order for a school to bring him in. On top of that restriction, DeChellis said Penn State does not accept a D for credit.
"Sometimes kids in junior college are there because they either need to sharpen up their skills athletically or do some work academically," DeChellis said. "You can just have one D in one course and he goes from 52 down to 49 [hours], and he's not admissible. I think that's the challenge for us academically."
Schedule looks to be stronger
While DeChellis said the nonconference schedule has yet to be finalized, the coach did release a few games.
DeChellis confirmed the Lions' Big Ten/ACC Challenge game will be at the Bryce Jordan Center and the team will travel to Blacksburg, Va., to play Virginia Tech. He also said the team has a game with an SEC team in the works but would not disclose which team.
After a weak nonconference slate relegated the Lions to the National Invitation Tournament last year, DeChellis said the staff has been breaking down the schedules of bubble teams while building its own schedule.
"We are in a situation where hopefully our schedule is where it needs to, and we've got enough power games and enough teams that we're in the range we need to be in," DeChellis said.