UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion basketball team welcomed reporters from around the region to the Bryce Jordan Center for the 2012-13 Media Day on Monday afternoon.
The Nittany Lions opened their exhibition season on Saturday with w 79-54 win over Philadelphia University. Penn State hosts Saint Francis (Pa.) on Friday at 7 p.m. in the regular season opener.
Second-year head coach Patrick Chambers and the Nittany Lions addressed the media prior to practice on Monday. Take a look through some of news and notes from media day.
Improving Every Day
The expectations are simple for Coach Chambers and the Nittany Lions. They want to improve each day at practice and at each game on the schedule to ensure that the team's best basketball is at the end of the season. The team does not set concrete goals for win totals or evaluate postseason aspirations. The Nittany Lions walk into the practice gym with energy and enthusiasm to ensure that they get better then they were on the day before. As junior guard Jermaine Marshall said, the wins and losses will take care of themselves if the Nittany Lions play with great energy, attitude, hustle, defend and rebound each and every day. That starts with great leadership, and the Nittany Lions have a corps of veteran players setting the tone for the team. Tim Frazier, Marshall and D.J. Newbill are driven to get the most out of one another and team each time they step on the floor. That type of leadership is contagious.
Newbill Ready to Make an Impact
Sophomore guard D.J. Newbill is excited to be battling against someone other than his teammates for a change. The Southern Mississippi transfer stepped onto the floor for the first time in 20 months on Saturday in the exhibition game, and he is just days from getting his first regular season action in Penn State Blue and White. Newbill practiced all of last season, but had to watch the games on the sideline due to transfer rules. Now, the Philadelphia native is poised to play a big role in a talented backcourt.
"D.J. is tough and has swagger," Chambers said. "He's going to fight 'til the bitter end. He brings a confidence he shares with the team."
Newbill is gritty player with the ability to get into the paint, score in traffic and visit the foul line. Additionally, Newbill received some reps at the point guard position in the exhibition game, easing some of the ball handling load on Tim Frazier's shoulders. Newbill, Frazier and Marshall have the potential to be a formidable backcourt, and all three make one another better by drawing attention from defenses.
What has been the biggest adjustment for Newbill playing with Frazier in the backcourt?
"The hardest thing to get used to was to keep up with him on the fastbreak," Newbill joked.
Newbill went on to say that Frazier is one of the hardest workers he has ever seen. With great chemistry, the Nittany Lion backcourt will flourish in 2012-13.
Travis Poised for Breakout Season
Coach Chambers said on Monday that sophomore guard Ross Travis is primed to have a big season for the Nittany Lions. The Minnesota native took a big step forward physically, improved his jump-shot and now has the ability to play just about anywhere in the rotation.
"That kid is one of the most valuable players on this team, next to Tim Frazier," Chambers said. "I feel like he is going to have a big-time year."
Media Day Quick Hits:
- Coach Chambers on road games - "We need to win on the road to be successful."
- Tim Frazier on D.J. Newbill - "He has a chip on his shoulder and is a hard-nose player."
- Coach Chambers on Tim Frazier - "I think he is going to learn that he is one of the best point guards in the country."
- Coach Chambers on the atmosphere in the BJC - "We need a homecourt advantage. That can be the difference in the last four minutes of games."
- Nick Colella on playing with Frazier, Newbill and Marshall - "When you are a shooter and you play with guys like that who draw a lot of attention from a defense, you have to be excited."
- D.J. Newbill on "Philly Swagger" - "It's something you have to earn (playing in the city)."
- The Nittany Lions open with Saint Francis on Friday before traveling to Puerto Rico next Tuesday.
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