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Climbing with John Harrar

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Penn State's newest freshmen are on campus and already on the climb ahead of the 2017-18 season. In a three-part series, get to know all three newcomers in a closer look at why they chose Penn State and what to expect this year.

John Harrar

Vitals - Coming in at six-foot-nine and 240 pounds, the Central League MVP and Philly News Second Team All-Pennsylvania selection has all the physicality become a disruptive force in the lane for the Nittany Lions. While he calls himself not always the prettiest of players, the Wallingford, Pennsylvania native with a football mentality noted he likes to get thing done. 

From Football to Hoops -  Once a tight end prospect and co-captain on the football team at Strath Haven, Harrar was originally committed to Army to play football, offered a year at the USMA Preparatory School to play football and basketball.

Drawing on trips to the historic Palestra to see future teammates like Tony Carr and Lamar Stevens, he changed his mind after taking a trip to Penn State.

"When I went on my football visits, it didn't feel like the visit I took to Penn State at all," Harrar said. 

On a ride to Happy Valley with his coach in the car, Harrar's coach mentioned that he'd be working out with someone who might be roughly 23 years old and 270 pounds, causing a bit of nerves, but not the kind that he'd plan to shy away from.

"The workout went well, I competed and everything and then I went into coach Chambers' office and he liked me," Harrar said. "Our conversation that we had felt right." 

Part of what made that conversation feel so right is what Harrar calls a sort of "Delaware County connection," having grown up just five minutes away from Chambers' hometown of Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. 

"I think he could see that we have similar upbringings, similar attitudes, the Delaware County attitude as people say," Harrar said with a smile. "It's really tough and we don't back down from competition. It's similar to Philly, it's grit, it's grimy." 

Harrar waited only long enough to check in with his mom before committing to the Nittany Lions. Not too long after, an offer from UConn arrived, but his response was quick, he wanted to be at Penn State.

The Terminator - Harrar also already has a nickname, now called "The Terminator" thanks to assistant coach Dwayne Anderson.

"He calls me the terminator because I don't really talk on the court, but I always have a game face on," Harrar said. "Everyone else is talking smack and I'm just doing my thing and not really saying anything."

On Penn State Basketball - When Harrar thinks about Penn State basketball it's all about attitude. 

"We have the word attitude all over the locker room, in the practice facility. Coach Chambers wants us to play with a good attitude, he always says negative energy, wasted energy, we don't want wasted energy."

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