It wasn't the sophomore season coach Patrick Chambers was hoping for, but the future is certainly bright for his squad in his third go-around at the helm in Happy Valley.
Following Penn State's 10-21 (2-16 Big Ten) season, Chambers addressed the media this afternoon to discuss the team's ability to maximize its talent this season, Tim Frazier's pending return next season and what he expects overall next season.
Chambers said the program doesn't expect any issues in applying for Frazier's medical redshirt this season (Frazier went down in the fourth game of the season with a season-ending ruptured achilles), which would allow him to return next season for a fifth year.
"That's already in the works," Chambers said.
The Nittany Lions return the great majority of their scoring production next season, with this season's leading scorers D.J. Newbill and Jermaine Marshall returning alongside Frazier — in addition to Pittsburgh transfer guard John Johnson — and the expectation for the season outcome to change has already sunk in among the program.
Chambers said he'll be the first one to say when this team is ready to make a huge jump and guarantee a postseason appearance in a given season, but isn't ready to make that claim for his third season just yet.
"I anticipate having a better year...Is it 20 wins? I can't tell you that yet," Chambers said. "There's a lot of great energy from the final end of the season and people are excited about next year."
The coach said he won't be too hard on himself and his team when critiquing their performance this season. However, he said he'll be sure to closely analyze his personal performance in getting the most out of his players.
"I won't torture myself. I'm just going to look at the team that we had..." Chambers said. "I'm my own worst critic. I do the mirror test every day."
Chambers said he's enjoyed seeing several Big Ten teams making runs in the tournament, but overall he does not want the team to get accustomed to watching from home in March.
"It's brutal. I really don't even want to watch the games," he said.
Meanwhile, Frazier ran without support for the first time since the day he injured his Achilles against Akron on Nov. 18 and Chambers said it was an emotional moment for all parties involved.
"It was a proud moment today..." Chambers said. "To be able to run again, I know we kind of kind of take those things for granted, but I know he was fired up...He came in my office [and said], 'I did it.' "
Chambers also mentioned the program is looking into a possible trip overseas in August to begin its season in an exhibition format.
Jay-Z, The Beastie Boys, and other legends are rooted there, and next season, coach Patrick Chambers and the Penn State men’s basketball team will see what Brooklyn is all about.
In the midst of the 2013-2014 season the team will get a chance to play in the Barclays Center, one of the country’s best new arenas.
The Nittany Lions will take part in the second annual Barclays Center Classic on Nov. 29 and 30, which will take place at the billion-dollar arena in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Georgia Tech (ACC), Ole Miss (SEC), and St. Johns (Big East) will be the other three teams competing.
Chambers is excited for what will be his third tournament as Penn State’s head coach.
“It is a great opportunity to take our team and fans to a terrific new venue and to challenge ourselves against a competitive tournament field," he said in a press release.
The Lions bring back the majority of their key contributors for the 2013-2014 season, as guards DJ Newbill and Jermaine Marshall, forwards Ross Travis and Brandon Taylor, along with injured star and team leader Tim Frazier likely returning to the court after missing the 2012-13 season with an Achilles injury.
In a pregame interview with the Big Ten Network, Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said that a quick start would be important for his team in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.
Penn State got the start that it wanted, but could not sustain it, as the Nittany Lions fell to No. 6 Michigan, 83-66. The loss eliminates the Lions from the rest of postseason play and ends their season.
The Lions (10-21, 2-17 Big Ten) jumped out to an early 14-3 lead, sparked by senior SasaBorovnjak, who found himself open on a number of pick and roll plays. Borovnjak finished with 15 points.
However, Michigan (26-6, 13-6 Big Ten) locked in defensively and quickly fought back, energized by the play of freshman Mitch McGary. The big man sparked an 11-0 run for his team by crashing the boards and working out inside.
Michigan built a lead as big as nine, but Penn State escaped the first half trailing 35-33 with defensive pressure keeping it in the game.
Early in the second half the score remained close. Sophomore Ross Travis gave the 12th-seeded Lions a chance by crashing the boards and creating second chance opportunities. Travis finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
With 12:53 to play, Michigan’s Trey Burke hit a jumper to give the Wolverines a 52-47 lead, at which point Michigan began to display the type of offense that has made them the second-highest scoring offense in the Big Ten.
The Wolverines broke the Penn State defense, going on a 10-0 run to build the lead to 15 points and continued to roll.
Penn State could not find a way to get the ball to Borovnjak, who carried them through most of the first half. Michigan also shut down redshirt junior Jermaine Marshall, who finished with eight points. Marshall put up 25 the last time the two teams met, when Penn State pulled off a shocking upset.
Burke led the way for Michigan with 21 points. Redshirt sophomore D.J. Newbill fought to keep the Lions in the game with a team-high 20 points, but got his offense going after Michigan built a big lead.
This is the second season in a row that the Lions were bounced in the first round of the conference tournament.
Fourteen unanswered points and a end-of-the-half spurt couldn't quite give Penn State a halftime lead against Michigan in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.
The Wolverines lead the Nittany Lions, 35-33, with 20 minutes in the books. Michigan forward Mitch McGary posted a first-half double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds and his squad answered a 14-0 Penn State run with a 21-4 burst of its own.
Michigan stretched its lead to as many as nine toward the end of the half, but the Lions closed period on a 7-0 run.
Penn State shot 50 percent (15-30) from the field and D.J. Newbill scored a team-high 12 points, while Sasa Borovnjak added 10 — eight of which came during the 14-0 run early in the half.
Penn State began the half with an 11-2 advantage on the glass, however, that margin was trimmed to 20-19 by the time the first-half buzzer sounded. Ross Travis pulled in a team-best nine boards, but thanks mainly to McGary, the Wolverines scored 17 second-chance points.
In a season full of losses, Penn State's most heartbreaking defeat came in the team's home finale.
Wisconsin's Traevon Jackson hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to lift his team over the Nittany Lions, 63-60, on Sunday afternoon at the BJC. Penn State guard D.J. Newbill hit a game-tying jumper with 5.6 seconds left, but his heroics were quickly set aside as Jackson drove down the left side, pulled up and buried a shot over Kevin Montminy.
Nick Colella forced a jumpball on the Wisconsin inbound play after Newbill's jumper, but the possession arrow was not in Penn State's favor.
The lead changed 18 times throughout the game after Penn State battled back from a nine-point first-half deficit against the No. 22 Badgers (21-10, 12-6 Big Ten). Jermaine Marshall led the Lions (10-20, 2-16) in scoring with 23 points, while Newbill almost equaled him with 22.
Fittingly, Jackson (15 points) was the leading scorer for coach Bo Ryan's team, while Sam Dekker (14), Ben Brust (13), and Jared Berggren (12) all finished in double figures.
It was the final home game for Colella and Sasa Borovnjak, who combined to total six points and seven rebounds in the contest. Penn State will next head to Chicago for the Big Ten Tourament, which begins Thursday.
After shocking No. 4 Michigan on Wednesday, Penn State fell flat against Minnesota and lost 73-44 on Saturday afternoon at Williams Arena in Minneapolis.
The Nittany Lions (9-19, 1-15 Big Ten), the worst shooting team in the Big Ten, could not get shots to fall against the Golden Gophers (20-9, 8-8 Big Ten), hitting just 27 percent on 13-for-48 shooting from the field.
The Lions lost control of the game early, failing to score in the first 11 minutes of the game and allowing Minnesota to open with a 16-0 run.
Redshirt sophomore D.J. Newbill hit a midrange jumper with 8:42 to go in the first half to end the drought. The Lions could not get it to within single digits the rest of the way, though, scoring a lowly 12 points in the opening 20 minutes.
Newbill led the way for the Lions with 15 points but did so on a poor shooting night, going 2-for-16. Jermaine Marshall followed up with 10 points and Minnesota-native Ross Travis put up eight points, struggling in his first appearance in his home state.
Upperclassmen led the way for Minnesota on the team’s senior day. Senior Trevor Mbakwe led the Gophers with 13, and was joined by fellowith Rodney Williams and Julian Welch who scored 10 apiece. Sophomores Joe Coleman and Andre Hollins also contributed off of the bench with 12 and 11 points respectively.
Minnesota killed the Lions on the boards and with second chance opportunities reeling in 41 rebounds compared to just 20 by the Lions. Penn State grabbed just two offensive rebounds on the day.
The Lions will look to bounce back Thursday at Northwestern.
Since Penn State began playing basketball in the Bryce Jordan Center, there have been many occasions in which the team's fans left the arena with the sour taste of defeat in their mouths. However, there have been some memorable victories for the Lions at the BJC. One of those contests happened last night as Penn State stunned No. 4 Michigan, 84-78.
See how that win stacks up against nine others in our list of the Penn State's 10 biggest wins at the Bryce Jordan Center:
1. Penn State 64, No. 23 Illinois 63 - March 5, 2009: With Penn State trailing by one and eight seconds left on the clock, there was nowhere the ball was going but the hands of Talor Battle. Off a missed free throw by the Illini, Battle took the ball the length of the court, knifed through all five defenders and his layup rolled around the rim, off the backboard and through the net to send the BJC into a frenzy. A good portion of the 13,091 fans in attendance, who were clad in white, rushed the floor to celebrate with Battle and his teammates.
2. Penn State 84, No. 4 Michigan 78 - Feb. 27, 2013: Penn State fans don't need a reminder about this one. In arguably the biggest upset in the nation this season, the Lions, who entered the game with an 0-14 Big Ten record, battled back from a 15-point deficit in the final 10 and a half minutes to stun the fourth-ranked Wolverines. In what is currently by far the biggest win of Patrick Chambers' tenure in Happy Valley, the Nits outscored Michigan 33-12 in the last 10:39 and all of their starters scored at least nine points. Jermaine Marshall led the way with 25 points, the final two coming on a left-handed scoop layup that gave Penn State a three-point advantage with just about a minute remaining.
3. Penn State 77, George Mason 73 (OT) - March 17, 2009: It looked like Penn State was destined for the NCAA Tournament after the team's win against Illinois in March 2009, however, that wasn't the case. The Nittany Lions had to settle for the National Invitation Tournament. With Penn State trailing George Mason by three points with 4.8 seconds left, it looked like Penn State was destined for a first-round exit from the NIT, however, that was not the case. Enter Battle, again. The then-sophomore drove down the right side of the court, and buried a wild pull-up, buzzer-beating 3-pointer to force overtime. The Lions went on to not only win the game, but the whole tournament.
4. Penn State 74, No. 5 Purdue 63 - Feb. 21, 1998: This was Penn State's first big upset at the BJC. Peter Lisicky and Jarret Stephens combined for 36 points in the stunner against the Boilermakers. At the time, it was the Lions' first win against a top-5 opponent in 50 years. And besides Wednesday night's upset of Michigan, it's the only time Penn State has sent a top-5 opponent home from the BJC with a loss.
5. Penn State 98, No. 6 Illinois 95 (OT) - Jan. 31, 2001: Though the 2001 team's two most famous victories (Michigan State and North Carolina), both came on neutral courts, the Lions got the best of sixth-ranked Illinois on a January night at the BJC. It took five extra minutes to decide the contest, after Illinois' Frank Williams hit a game-tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation, but Penn State prevailed in the extra period. Titus Ivory scored a game-high 27 points, while the Crispin brothers (Joe and Jon) combined for 34 points.
6. Penn State 56, No. 17 Wisconsin 52 - Jan. 29, 2011: As far as months go, January 2011 was likely the best in history for Penn State at the BJC. Penn State beat three ranked opponents at home in the same month, but this victory against the Badgers stood out the most. With 14,292 fans filling the BJC, Battle — Penn State's all-time leading scorer — dropped 20 of his game-high 22 points after halftime as the team picked up a win to bolster its NCAA Tournament resume. Wisconsin held a nine-point lead after the first 20 minutes, but Battle and his teammates stormed back. Jeff Brooks added 12 points, while Andrew Jones corralled 14 rebounds.
7. Penn State 57, No. 16 Illinois 55 - Jan. 11, 2011: No heroics for Battle this time. The guard's layup attempt with the game tied and the clock winding down didn't fall. But luckily for Battle and the Lions, Andrew Jones was there to put the miss home with a dunk just before time expired to give Penn State a thrilling victory over a top-20 team. Battle did finish with 26 points, which included a 3-pointer he drained from the edge of the Nittany Lion logo near halfcourt.
8. Penn State 65, No. 10 Temple 64 - Dec. 1, 1998: The Lions squeaked by their highly ranked intrastate rival more than 14 years ago for a rare nonconference addition to this list. Joe Crispin, a sophomore at the time, hit a game-winning jumper with 20 seconds left and finished with a team-high 18 points.
9. Penn State 68, No. 17 Indiana 64 - March 9, 2008: No Geary Glaxton, no Jamelle Cornely, no problem for the Lions against the No. 17 Hoosiers. Claxton and Cornley were the Lions' two most productive players five seasons ago, but were both sidelined against Indiana. Penn State got 41 points from its freshman, including double-digit performances from D.J. Jackson (13), Jeff Brooks (12) and Talor Battle (10), and beat an Indiana team led by future first-round NBA selections, Eric Gordon and D.J. White.
10. No. 20 Penn State 76, Minnesota 61 - Jan. 11, 1996: The Nits opened up the BJC in style with a 15-point beating of Minnesota. In the inaugural game at the arena, 14,852 people packed the seats of the new home of Penn State basketball. Calvin Booth scored 17 points, as Penn State rattled off its 12th straight win to start the season.
When Germantown Academy standout Julian Moore’s name is typed into Google, the search engine instead shows results for “Julianne Moore”, a British-American actress.
It makes sense. The latter Moore has been nominated for four Academy Awards and a Golden Globe, among other accolades.
But while the Hollywood star is known across the globe, the 6-foot-9 forward with a similar name should soon be widely recognized at the Bryce Jordan Center in less than a year.
Listed as a three-star prospect by Rivals.com, Moore is a late bloomer from the Philadelphia area and an underrated signing for coach Patrick Chambers.
When putting together a story on Penn State building a recruiting-base in Philly, I talked to Moore about everything from his commitment to Penn State, his style of play and the energy of Chambers.
First question for you Julian, when were you first recruiting by coach Chambers and what had you sold on the coaching staff?
Moore: They started talking to my high school coach toward the end of my junior season and over the summer we started to build more a relationship. Coach Chambers personally came out to see me at the Reebok Breakout Camp [in the summer]… I also went to a camp for recruits up there, they gave me a tour of the school, I played against some of the kids on the team and met all the guys. They’re some of the best kids in the country honestly. They are a really high-energy program, they never give up and the coaches are always pushing you to try and be better.
You mentioned that when you visited you played with and met some of the guys on the team. What did you think of guys like D.J. Newbill and Brandon Taylor, guys like you from in or around Philly?
Moore: I think D.J. is an amazing leader, especially with the position he’s been thrown into. He’s handling the team really well. When I was there, his leadership showed off the court, too. Brandon I think I actually played the summer of my sophomore year and he gave me some work back then, but we’ll see what happens next year [laughs], but he’s a really nice person off the court and a great competitor on it.
When you look ahead to next year, Penn State is going to stacked at the guard position with Tim Frazier coming back, [Jermaine] Marshall, D.J. Newbill and John Johnson, the transfer from Pitt. So where do you see yourself in the frontcourt as a 6-foot-9 true freshman next season?
Moore: I hope to contribute to the team any way I can and get better every day. Hopefully that means playing time and getting out there and mixing it up. I know they’re going to be stacked at guard, but I know I can contribute a lot on the inside and a little bit on the outside.
About your game in general, are you a kind of player that likes to set up in the low post or more like a Dirk Nowitzki shooting mid-range jumpers?
Moore: Honestly I do a lot on the floor and that’s why coach Chambers and the staff liked me because I can fill a lot of roles. I’m big enough to small guys inside and I’m skilled enough against bigger guys to outwork them. I also like to take guys out a bit and blow by them or take a jumper. I’m a good rebounder, at least I think I’m a good rebounder [laughs]. I can get up and down the floor really well, too.
Coming from just outside Philadelphia, how do you think Penn State is perceived in and around the city?
Moore: When you say Penn State to people they either went there, they had a brother, sister or cousin who went there, so you have a giant alumni base and everybody knows something about the school. From the basketball side of it, a reason why I liked Penn State was because the Big Ten is the best league in the country without a question. It’s somewhat local, and my parents could come see me play against some of the best players and teams in the country. That’s kind of the general consensus is around here.
With that being said, can you talk about the influence of the Big 5 (Villanova, Temple, Penn, La Salle and St. Joe’s) in Philadelphia basketball and who recruited you throughout high school?
Moore: I received offers from Temple, Drexel, La Salle, Penn. I never received an offer from St. Joe’s, but they did express interest in me a little later. I also got offers from VCU and a couple of Patriot League teams and Ivy teams. Growing up in Philly, you always hear about the Big 5 teams. You know, they play well in their individual conferences, but when they come together for Big 5 games, it’s crazy. You’re fighting for bragging rights. You want to be the best team in the city, and that’s all that matters [in the Big 5]. And those games are insane at the Palestra. Going to games there was one of the reasons why I wanted to play college basketball.
Were you at the Penn State-La Salle game at the Palestra [on Dec. 5]?
Moore: Yeah I was there. Seeing all the alumni come to the game made it a really cool game to go to.
Last question. I can tell from just hearing him after games and seeing him on the court that Chambers is a high-energy guy and brings a lot of passion. What do you think that says about a coach and a guy who you’re going to be playing for next year?
Moore: I mean he really cares and it rubs off on his team. We’ve hit a rough patch, but we’re still playing our behinds off even when the games aren’t going the way we want them to all the time. We’ll be better next year. Coach [Chambers] is one of the most energetic people I know and I can’t wait to play for him next year.