While it won’t affect the team’s record for the 2012 season, senior standout Tim Frazier and the Penn State men’s basketball team unofficially opens their season on Saturday against Philadelphia University.
The game, which will be played at 4 p.m. at the BJC, should be a scrappy tune-up for the Nittany Lions before the regular season gets underway.
The Lions, who are loaded with depth at the guard position, will be looking to establish a rhythm on offense and get out in the fast break.
“We’re going to stick to our staples, and do what we do,” Frazier said. “As far as getting into the paint, we’re gonna push out and score and run out fast.”
Frazier will figure to be extremely important to the Lions this season considering his production last year and the preseason accolades he’s received.
The senior guard accounted for 58 percent of Penn State’s offense in 2011 as he averaged 18.8 points per game and led the Big Ten with 6.2 assists per game.
Frazier, who was named to the Preseason All-Big Ten Team, was also the only Division I player last season to post at least 17 points per game and six assists per game.
Even though Frazier put up gaudy numbers last season, he’s persistent on improving his shot, staying over the summer to continue to improve.
“Well, because of the spring and the summer, him being at both sessions, his three has gotten so much better," coach Pat Chambers said. "If he can knock that down at a pretty consistent rate, he's almost un-guardable.”
Considering Frazier’s presence in the backcourt, it will be interesting to see on Saturday how he and transfer D.J. Newbill forge a chemistry — something that will be crucial for the Lions in 2012.
Newbill, who redshirted in 2011, transferred to Penn State in August from Southern Mississippi, where he succeeded as a true freshman.
Starting in all 32 contests, the Philadelphia native used his gritty nature to average 9.2 points per game and post a 53.5 shooting percentage from the floor.
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound shooting guard will pose matchup problems for opposing defenses and provide leadership as a captain, despite being a first-year player.
“He’s a tough, gritty guy that likes to get to the paint with the best of them, so to have him out there as a running mate will be great,” Frazier said.
And with a tough Philly U team coming up on Saturday, the Lions will look to start the 2012 campaign on a positive note.
Philly U legendary coach Herb Magee, who is the all-time winningest coach in NCAA men’s basketball history, is expected to have his team mentally and physically prepared for the Penn State.
However, Newbill and the Lions will look to limit the Rams’ offensive potential and convert takeaways into points.
“Our offense will start with the defense. When we get stops and rebounds, we’ll get out and run,” Newbill said. “We’ve got Tim [Frazier] and his speed. We’ve got shooters, and we’ve got all-around athletic guards, so we’re going to use that to our advantage.”