June 28, 2010 at 3:27 PM
Ernie Nestor will take over the role of Director of Basketball Operations starting today, coach Ed DeChellis announced in a press release Monday.
"I'm very happy to welcome someone with coach Nestor's experience and character to our program," DeChellis said in the release. "He brings a wealth of knowledge and a terrific personality and I think our players and staff will really enjoy having Ernie become part of our family."
Nestor will fill the role vacated by Jon Perry, who has accepted an assistant coaching job with Quincy University. After playing under DeChellis at East Tennessee State, Perry had been a member of DeChellis' staff since 2002, when DeChellis was still at East Tennessee State.
"We wish the very best for Jon Perry as he pursues his career in coaching," DeChellis said in the release. "Jon has been a very valuable member of my staff for a long time, dating back to my days at East Tennessee. Quincy presented a great opportunity for him to expand in the coaching business, but he'll always be part of our family and we'll certainly support him anyway we can."
In Nestor, the Nittany Lions are getting a long resume of experience. In 41 years of coaching, Nestor has made collegiate stops at James Madison, Wake Forest, California, George Mason, South Carolina, and most recently Elon, with 11 years of head coaching experience under his belt.
After serving as Elon's head coach from 2003-2009, Nestor spent last season serving as a scout for the New Jersey Nets.
"It's really exciting to join coach DeChellis' program and a terrific conference like the Big Ten," Nestor said in the release. "I have a great deal of respect for how coach DeChellis runs his program and look forward to being a part of that and the challenge of competing in the Big Ten."
June 22, 2010 at 10:27 AM
Megan Hodge continued to prove her ranking as one of the most successful female athletes in college sports.
According to a release issued Monday, the recent graduate of the Penn State women's volleyball team was named one of the two winners of the Honda-Broderick Cup. The award designates the top Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year.
Hodge, an outside hitter, shared the award with UConn basketball junior Maya Moore. This year marks only the second time in the history of the award that two female athletes have tied for the honor.
The winners were selected among a board of 1,000 voters. Hodge is the first athlete from Penn State to be honored as the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year.
"We are extremely proud of Megan for winning the Honda-Broderick Cup," Tim Curley, Penn State Director of Athletics, said in the release. "We believe this award truly cements her as the top female athlete at Penn State and as one of the top female athletes in the country. She had a tremendous career at Penn State and we know she will continue to be successful as an alum both on and off the court."
The award recognizes not only the outstanding athletic achievement, but also team contributions, scholastics and community involvement.
Hodge finished her senior season with 560 kills, a .371 hitting percentage and tallied 4.67 kills per set.
This award adds to the multitude of honors Hodge has received for her accomplishments on the court including the Penn State Female Athlete of the Year, a four-time AVCA First Team All-American and two-time Big Ten Player of the Year.
"I think it's a great honor for Megan, Penn State and the sport of collegiate volleyball," head coach Russ Rose said in the release. "It's an individual award that is shared by all her teammates and fans. She came to Penn State with great skills and athletic ability and was able to polish those skills and have a career anyone would be envious of."
June 15, 2010 at 4:23 PM
Despite a tight series between two of the most storied sports franchises, Jason Kidd finds it difficult to watch the NBA Finals.
The Dallas Mavericks' point guard watches merely bits and pieces of the Los Angeles Lakers-Boston Celtics' series as he is flipping through the channels. The reason -- the 10-time All-Star would much rather be playing for something that has eluded him in his 15-year-career, an NBA title.
Kidd was joined by Houston Rockets' forward Shane Battier in a conference call Monday for the 21st annual American Century Championship, a nationally-televised celebrity golf tournament spanning July 16-18 in Lake Tahoe.
Aside from discussing their golf skills, the pair of NBA veterans talked about various basketball-related topics, such as the upcoming free agency period and the NBA Finals that have the Celtics one win away from their 18th title.
Similarly to Kidd, Battier said he is guilty of not watching as much of the finals as others, and agreed with the 2008 Olympic gold medalist: it can be hard to watch.
"I think you get to this point, and it is, it's exciting to watch, but it's tough to watch as a competitor because you want to be out there," said Battier, a nine-year veteran to who has yet to reach the finals.
Based on what he has seen, though, Battier said the Celtics have the current edge in the series because they have better chemistry than the defending champion-Lakers, even though Los Angeles' guard Kobe Bryant has been playing "out of his mind."
"It's been an entertaining series from the standpoint that I think that public sentiment thought that the Lakers were gonna roll through the series pretty handily even though Boston has been playing very, very well," Battier said.
Battier often gets the task of defending Bryant when the Rockets play the Lakers, a task that is far from easy. In Sunday night's game five, for instance, Bryant exploded out of the halftime break and scored 17-straight third quarter points for the Lakers.
"It's really difficult to stop the top guys in the league," Battier said. And it's a clichÃ© to say 'you just gotta make 'em work', but really that's all anybody can do. What you try to do is you try to make the top guys -- Kobe, Lebron, Carmelo -- you just try to keep them off the foul line, you make them take tough jumpers, and you live with the results. And some nights there just going to be hitting, and you tip your cap and you move on."
-Kidd and Battier weighed in on where they think Lebron James will end up next season, both saying they think he will stay in Cleveland with the Cavaliers.
"I'm just saying that he stays home because he's built something there," Kidd said. "He's had, the last two year's he's had a lot of success, you know, winning 60-some games."
"Wherever it is, I hope its somewhere where I only have to face him twice a year instead of four times a year," Battier joked. "... I don't think it's high up on Lebron's priority list but if I had a genie that's what I would wish for."
-Kidd said he would be fine with a decreased role next year to help develop Rodrigue Beaubois, a 2009 first-round pick (25th overall). Kidd went as far to say he wouldn't mind coming off the bench sometimes to let Beaubois start and get him game-tested, and keep Kidd fresh for the playoffs.
-Battier, a big sports fan in general, said he is saddened by the expansion in college football. Calling himself a traditionalist, he said it's a shame Nebraska is no longer going to play Oklahoma and Texas because of the Cornhuskers move to the Big Ten.
"As a traditionalist, you're losing so much of the natural rivalries and so much of what would have made the game great, and so I'm a little sad by it," Battier said.
-There was a good amount of discussion about the status of the golf games of Kidd and Battier -- both have garnered 200-1 odds to win the 21st annual American Century Championship. While Kidd is a veteran of the event, this is just Battier's second year. In 2009, Kidd finished tied for 65th with Mike Shanahan, the head coach of the Washington Redskins, and Battier, who said he is a 19-handicap, finished 81st.
Embarrassed by his performance last year, Battier hopes to finish in the top 70 this time around. Kidd said his goal is to get at least 10-12 birdies.
- Jake Kaplan
June 9, 2010 at 4:14 PM
Their careers at Penn State may be over, but three recent Nittany Lion alumni -- Max Lipsitz, Max Holt and Matt Anderson -- keep making their marks. Here's a quick rundown of what the heralded trio has been up to this summer:
photos courtesy of gopsusports.com
- Lipsitz, who captained 2010 Lions, has been named an ESPN The Magazine Second Team Academic All-American. The two-time First Team AVCA All-American selection, a finance major, graduated this spring with a 3.43 GPA. Lipsitz's selection was a part of the Men's At-Large section of the Academic All-America program, which includes the sports of fencing, golf, gymnastics, hockey, lacrosse, rifle, skiing, tennis, volleyball, water polo and wrestling. He was the only volleyball player to be named to any of the three teams.
- Lipsitz is also making headlines on the court. The 6-foot-7 middle hitter was a member of the U.S. Men's A2 Volleyball Team that captured the gold medal at the Pan Am games in San Juan, Puerto Rico two weeks ago. Though Lipsitz didn't play in the championship match -- a three-set victory over Argentina -- he did see court time in a few contests early in the tournament, including a start in team USA's opener against Mexico.
- Max Holt and Matt Anderson have also been involved in international play. Anderson, the 2008 co-National Player of the Year, and Holt, Penn State's all-time leader in aces, are all a part of the U.S. Men's National Team competing in the World Championships this summer. Anderson started -- and played nearly every minute of -- America's first two matches, bouts with Russia. Holt, meanwhile, made appearances as a serving specialist. USA will take on Finland in a two-match series on June 11-12.