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B1G Men's Hoops Media Day in Washington D.C.

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WASHINGTON - Just a day after hosting their own event, Penn State men's basketball hit the road, traveling to Washington D.C. to participate in the Big Ten Men's Basketball Media Day. Nittany Lion head coach Patrick Chambers joined juniors Shep Garner and Payton Banks for the busy day.

Chambers opened the morning making his rounds through the media circuit, spending time with ESPN and the Big Ten Network. 

Check out the recap of Chambers' morning media circuit below.

Chambers capped off his morning media rounds with a brief press conference, taking questions from members of the national and local media.

"Penn State basketball is in a different place today," Chambers said in his opening statement. "We are going to get up and down, which we haven't done in the last five years. We're going to play and up-tempo style."

Check out Chambers' full press conference below. Transcript of the press conference available here.

Banks and Garner joined in on the media circuit in the afternoon, while also taking some time for a Big Ten photo shoot before closing out the day with a live appearance on the Big Ten Network. 

Both Banks and Garner echoed Chambers throughout the day, noting that the 2016-17 Nittany Lions are an all new team featuring experienced returners as well as a host of newcomers with plenty of potential.

Follow along with Banks and Garner below to see what they were up to this afternoon. 

Chambers followed the Nittany Lion duo with a live appearance on the Big Ten Network before hitting the road to return home to Happy Valley.

Penn State is set to open the 2016-17 campaign at home with an exhibition against Lock Haven Friday, Nov. 4 in the Bryce Jordan Center.

2016-17 Men's Hoops Media Day Recap

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's basketball head coach Patrick Chambers met with a packed media room Wednesday afternoon to preview the 2016-17 season on media day.

With nearly every seat in the Bryce Jordan Center media room occupied, Chambers took questions from members of the media before the 2016-17 Nittany Lions were made available for individual interviews in the practice gym.

Penn State preseason practice is well underway in preparation for an exhibition matchup against Lock Haven Friday, Nov. 4 at home in the Bryce Jordan Center. The Nittany Lions officially open the regular season Friday, Nov. 11, welcoming Albany to Happy Valley for a 7 p.m. matchup in the opening game of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic. 

A Fearless Approach

In his opening statement, Chambers made note of the team's mentality this year, which is simply to be fearless in their approach. With a tough non-conference schedule that's stacked with tough opponents and features five road or neutral games, Chambers stressed that the focus right now is for the Nittany Lions to be the best they can be and get better every day, while also keying in on attention to detail.

"If we can do the little things great, that could be the different in a couple more victories for us heading into this great non-conference that we've put together." 

More from Coach Chambers and his outlook on the season below.

Newcomers Transitioning
Poised to welcome the program's highest ranked recruiting class in program history, Penn State's signing class featuring Tony Carr, Nazeer Bostick and Lamar Stevens all join walk-on Grant Hazle and Virginia Tech transfer Satchel Pierce, who will sit out a year. The Nittany Lions will also see first-year contributions from Mike Watkins, who was not eligible to play last year and UCONN transfer Terrence Samuel, who also sat out last year.

"I think this summer session and the fall preseason that we had kind of gave the new guys an indication of what to prepare for how hard practice would be and I think they are adapting," Chambers said.

Chambers also sighted that consistency in practice is still an area where the Nittany Lion newcomers can work on improving to build trust among teammates and coaches heading into week one.

Among newcomers Chambers mentioned today, he noted that he has seen tremendous versatility from Stevens, a 6-7 forward who has already shown the ability to play at the three or four and even the five in a tight situation.

"We are moving him all over the place and he has earned it," Chambers said. He's strong, he's a freakish-athlete, shooting the ball much better than I remember in high school. He is really going out and playing hard, making mistakes and allowing us to coach him, which I think is huge."

Hear more from Stevens below.

Garner Stepping Up Leadership
With the departures of 2015-16 senior leaders Brandon Taylor, Jordan Dickerson and Donovon Jack, Chambers said that Garner knew coming into the season that he would need to step into the leadership role to guide the younger members of the team. 

"In the summer and fall, it was a little bit slower for him but once practice started I now hear him a little bit more," Chambers said. "We have attitude club in practice and he has been in the top three for eight practices. For a guard, like Shep, that's pretty impressive." 

Garner talks more about stepping into that leadership role below.

Scoring 80

Chambers unveiled plans for a new offensive style coming this season, one that's up-tempo and quick, ideally producing 80 points per game.

Drawing inspiration from NBA teams such as Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Nittany Lions will look to inject some serious speed into their game this year.

"There are going to be some tough stretches, there are going to be some high turnover games and that's something we have to coach these kids," Chambers said. "But we are going to play at a very high tempo. That is what we want to do this year. I am committed to it."

Behind The Scenes at Palestra Press Conference Day

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PHILADELPHIA - Penn State men's basketball head coach Patrick Chambers hit the road today, traveling to the City of Brotherly Love for a press conference regarding the Nittany Lions' Big Ten matchup against Michigan State at the Palestra Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017.

Prior to the 10:30 a.m. press conference, Chambers took an early morning flight to arrive in Philadelphia just in time to make an appearance at Breakfast on Broad, live on Comcast Network. He also took a quick trip to do a little sight seeing at the historic The Rocky Statue, just outside the The Rocky Steps leading up to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  

Check out our exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the early morning trip. 

Chambers opened his press conference on location at the historic Palestra, located right in the heart of Philadelphia.


"A lot of exciting things wrapped around this day for our Philly kids and for myself too," Chambers said. "I'm from here, my brothers played here, I played here, so it should be a fun filled weekend for Penn State basketball to be put on this stage."

In the early planning stages of the event, Chambers mentioned that part of the reasoning for the Philadelphia location came back to relationships, with a total of six Nittany Lions currently on the roster calling the Philadelphia area home. 

 After clearing the idea with the Penn State administration and the Big Ten, Chambers reached out to Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo, who had never coached in the Palestra. Chambers noted that Izzo was thrilled with the idea. 

The Nittany Lions and the Spartans are set for a noon or 1 p.m. tip-off on ESPN, as announced by the conference earlier this month. The matchup marks the first appearance on the primary ESPN network for the Nittany Lions since 2012. 

An afternoon tip-off could also also potentially bring rays of sunlight streaming through the Palestra, which has windows lining the upper walls of the building. That's no reason to be concerned for Chambers though. 

"If you go back to the old school days with the doubleheaders that start in the afternoon and run into the evening, there is a mystique about it - there's an old school feeling. I want our guys, and I want Penn Staters to have that feel, to live those old school says," Chambers said. "I think that's what we are going to bring back, I think people are going to appreciate it and I think they are going to remember this game, they are going to remember this experience wrapped around this day." 

 Penn State has won 11 of its last 18 games in the Palestra, having most recently visited the building in 2016, where the Nittany Lions rallied to defeat Drexel, 63-57.

Chambers Leading the Fight at 20th Anniversary CVC Golf Tournament

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Five years ago to the day, Patrick Chambers was hired as the head coach of the Nittany Lion basketball program.

On June 3, 2011, Chambers and the program probably could not have imagined what type of impact he could have on the community through the Penn State chapter of Coaches vs. Cancer.

But one thing is certain. There is no better man to be the centerpiece of an event and fight driven by a positive attitude than Chambers.

11971527.jpegThe basketball program lives and breathes by the motto of approaching any type of adversity with a choice. You can either face challenges with a great attitude or dwell on them with a negative attitude.

For Chambers, there is no choice because everything he touches has a positive tone.

The atmosphere at Friday's 20th Anniversary Coaches vs. Cancer Golf Tournament was again proof of that. A few light rain showers in the morning gave way to sunshine in the afternoon for the approximately 300 golfers taking part of the event held at the Penn State Blue and White Golf Courses.

"It's just a great day with a lot of great people coming together for a very tough cause," said Chambers. "The energy out there on the course was amazing. There is a lot of enthusiasm from a lot of great people to help raise awareness and raise funds.

The list of participants in the outing included several Penn State head coaches, including field hockey coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss who recalls the CVC-Penn State's first days in Happy Valley.

"Every coach of the basketball program has just done a great job taking the helm of this event," said Morett-Curtiss. "We've all been affected by someone with cancer. It's such a great cause. And if we can generate the energy and support, we are going to help and someday we are going to find that cure."

A who's who of Penn State Basketball alums took part of the festivities - Brian Allen (1986-89), Dave Angstadt (1974-76), Wally Choice (1981-84), Nick Colella (2012-13), Joe Crispin (1998-2001), Jon Crispin (2000-01), Chuck Crist (1970-72), Pete Lisicky (1995-98), Kevin Montminy (2012-15), Tyler Smith (1999-2002), Jarrett Stephens (1996-2000) and Alan Wisniewski (2012-15) - along with five-time NBA champion Ron Harper, who returned to the CvC event for the third-straight year.

For Chambers, this event has taken on a different meaning in recent years. Chambers lost his brother, Greg, to lung cancer at age 60 in March of 2014, and the CVC event has touched him personally.

"It's hit me differently over the five years," said Chambers. "You carry the torch because you want to be a part of this community and you know so many people who have been devastated by this disease. And then it hit home a couple years ago for me, which made it even more personal."

Chambers spent the morning session making the rounds on the golf course saying hello and greeting the participants before playing golf in the afternoon. Head football coach James Franklin visited the event prior to the afternoon tee off to show his support for Chambers and the CvC group.

11971549.jpegThe pioneers of the CVC-Penn State were former head coaches Bruce Parkhill and Jerry Dunn. Parkhill founded CVC-Penn State in 1995 before the first golf outing took place in 1997 under the direction of Dunn. Both were in attendance on Friday and could not be happier with how the event has grown.

"It's really remarkable to see how this has grown," said Parkhill. "To think about how many people this program has touched over the last 20 years is remarkable. It has grown into one of the nicest events around."

After addressing the afternoon flight of golfers, Chambers kept the mood light in his five-man group on the golf course. He thoroughly enjoys his time on the course during the CvC outing, and it's event that he looks forward to all year long.

Beyond the lighthearted talk on the course, Chambers is among a group of many leaders who play an integral role in a battle much bigger than a win or loss on the court or field of play. A great deal of credit goes out Parkhill, Dunn and Ed DeChellis for helping pave the way for CVC-Penn State to be what it has become today.

CVC-Penn State topped the $2.5 million mark in fundraising this year and immediately began to push towards the $3 million mark.

"It's hard to even know if Bruce (Parkhill) and Jerry (Dunn) even thought it could become this magnitude," said Chambers. "The ability to bring together a University and a community and the athletic department speaks volumes about the people who are part of this. There are some great people here at Penn State. And once again Penn State's pride really shows."

The CVC Golf Tournament is the flagship event of the organization created to raise funds year-round to support the American Cancer Society affected by the disease in Centre County through the Bob Perks Cancer Assistance Fund (BCAF). In addition to the golf tournament, Coaches vs. Cancer conducts a year-round calendar of seven events.

The golf tournament has more than doubled in size since it began in 1996-'97, and there could not be a man with a better attitude continuing to lead the CVC-Penn State fight than Coach Chambers.

While it was a fun day on the golf course, the bigger fight cannot be stated enough.
To get involved as a sponsor or participant in Penn State Coaches vs. Cancer please visit CVCPENNSTATE.ORG or call 814-330-3337.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Nittany Lions' Valiant Effort Comes Up Short at Big Ten Tournament

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11774053.jpegVIDEO: Locker Room Interviews from the Big Ten Tournament

INDIANAPOLIS - It's been said time and time again about a Patrick Chambers-led Penn State team, but with the way Thursday's Big Ten Tournament second round matchup against Ohio State transpired, it needs to be said again.

The Nittany Lions (16-16) left every ounce of effort they had in the tank on the Bankers Life Fieldhouse floor in a 79-75 setback to seventh-seeded Ohio State (20-12). Penn State has nothing to hang its hat about following another resilient showing during the stretch run of the 2015-16 season.

The result is not what anyone in the emotional locker room had hoped for, but the groundwork has been laid for what is going to be a bright future for a men's hoops program on the rise.

Penn State played its best basketball during the last five weeks of the season, which included four victories in its last five home games and seven total conference wins for only the fifth time since 2000. That stretch culminated with a battle in Indianapolis.

"I'm proud of my team this year, the way they competed, the way they stuck together," said Chambers. "Our schedule wasn't easy, especially the first 10. And they were a determined bunch. I really, really enjoyed coaching this group. And they showed you today why. Ohio State looked like they were going to take it and run away with it. We came right back and threw a couple of punches and took the lead. That's what this team did for most of the year. They just kept punching back."

Thursday night's game was one of runs. The Nittany Lions built a 35-25 lead in the first half thanks to hot shooting from the perimeter. The Lions started 7-for-11 from distance and jetted out to a double-digit edge.

However, the complexion of the game changed in the final four minutes of the first half when Ohio State closed on a 9-2 run to set the halftime score at 37-34, in favor of the Lions.

Brandon Taylor scored the opening bucket of the second half, but then the Buckeyes rattled off the next 14 points to claim a nine-point lead. Penn State clawed back to within three, but the Buckeyes pushed the margin back to nine with 11:55 to play (56-47).

The Lions were far from done.

They roared back in the form of a 20-10 rally en route to re-taking the lead at 67-66 on two Shep Garner free throws at the 4:12 mark.

That would be the high point of the half, though; as the Buckeyes scored the next seven points and never looked back on the way to the four-point victory.

Garner was the star of the night for the Nittany Lions, pouring in 25 points on just 16 shot attempts (9-16). The sophomore guard was aggressive on both ends of the floor and willed the Lions for much of the night with his relentless approach. Garner scored or assisted on 14 of Penn State's 26 made field goals.

"(Shep) deserves a lot of the credit," Chambers said. "He is top 15 in a lot of categories in the Big Ten, and nobody talks about him...Just shows you what kind of leader we have for our future in Shep Garner. Not only did he do that, but look at the game he had. Played terrific. He almost played 40 minutes."

You can't begin to talk about the growth Garner and his fellow young teammates made this season without talking about the men who guided them. Garner said that the team learned a lot about how to compete in games and what type of work ethic it takes to be successful in the Big Ten. He attributed all of that to Taylor and the senior class.

"They taught me so much. In the two years I have been here, I've learned so much from Devin (Foster) all the way up to BT," said Garner. "I appreciate them. They came in to practice and set the tone every day. They worked so hard. They work so hard for us. Everything that they put into this program, I just wanted to come out here and give it my best fight. Just came up short."

Taylor is a guy fans can be proud of for the way he battled. When he arrived on campus, no one could have envisioned the type of player he would become. Penn State would not have earned its first bye at the Big Ten Tournament, won 16 games two-straight seasons or seven conference games this season without his leadership. There was not a night on the schedule where Taylor didn't pour his heart and soul into the betterment of the program.

"He has left an imprint on this program, much like D.J. (Newbill) and Tim (Frazier)," said Chambers. "His leadership in the locker room was second to none. Terrific. That was our biggest concern coming into this year, who is going to be our leaders? We had a leadership council. But he emerged and he wanted the torch; he wanted to lead. A little bit uncharacteristic of him. And he came out of his comfort zone and did it anyway, and he became a terrific leader."

The future of Penn State men's basketball is on the upswing, and a huge piece of that can be attributed to this year's senior class and especially the effort and determination of Taylor.

"I just hope that guys are able to say that I taught them (how to compete) and that I helped them grow," Taylor said. "That's all I wanted to do for my last year. The wins really didn't matter. I just wanted to help everybody else behind me grow and get better."

Taylor left his mark, and the program is in good hands thanks to the type of foundation he laid.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Big Ten Tournament Postgame Player Interviews vs. Ohio State

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INDIANAPOLIS - Head into the locker room following Penn State's 79-75 setback to Ohio State to hear from several Nittany Lions following a valiant effort inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Thursday. The Nittany Lions battled back from nine down in the second half to claim a one-point lead before a late surge from Ohio State.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Men's Hoops Gameday 2015-16 - Penn State vs. Ohio State (3/10/16)

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INDIANAPOLIS - Welcome to live coverage of the 2015-16 Nittany Lion basketball season. The Nittany Lions open play at the Big Ten Tournament against Ohio State.

Live Blog Men's Hoops Gameday 2015-16 - Penn State vs. Ohio State (3/10/16)

Men's Hoops Big Ten Tourney Central - Lions Open Tourney vs. Buckeyes

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Big Ten Tournament Game Blog - Penn State vs. Ohio State

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - A new season begins for the Nittany Lion basketball team when the ball is tipped inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

11766789.jpegThe 10th-seeded Nittany Lions (16-15, 7-11 Big Ten) will meet seventh-seeded Ohio State (19-12, 11-7 Big Ten) in the second round of the 2016 Big Ten Tournament (ESPN2). Thanks to thrilling double-overtime win against Illinois on Sunday, the Nittany Lions clinched a bye in the conference tournament for the first time in program history.

"We have limitless potential (heading into the tournament)," head coach Patrick Chambers said. "(I told them) don't put a limit on anything we can do. Once you do that, you have really stopped getting better...You just have to continue the process of getting better each day and prepare for Ohio State. That's our main goal. We are worried about us and what we can control - our attitude, our effort level and our communication. If you take care of those three things, you are going to give yourself a chance."

The Nittany Lions are relishing in the opportunity they have in front them.  After the 18-game Big Ten regular season, a clean slate levels the playing field in Indianapolis. The Lions will take confidence into what could be a wide-open series of games on the first three days of the tournament. And the Lions enter the postseason playing their best basketball, having won four of their last six games..

"Guys are very healthy heading in to the Big Ten Tournament," said Chambers. "...We are averaging nine threes a game (in the last eight). Our assists have gone up dramatically. Defensively, we are defending the two much better. We are defending the three much better...Our statistics (across the board) are much better during the last eight games. To me, that means we are getting better. And that excites me."

Seeing one another for the second time in 2016, the Lions and Buckeyes played on Jan. 25 in a 66-46 victory for Ohio State. However, both teams are playing much different basketball, and the Nittany Lions are significantly healthier than the first meeting between the two teams.

"We are two very different teams than when we first met," Chambers said. "We didn't have Josh Raves. They don't have (Jae'Sean) Tate now. And Shep (Garner) blew out an ankle in the first minute of that game. It's going to be very exciting to see and it's going to be interesting to be a part of come Thursday."

B1G Tournament_Round I_Ohio State.jpg
VIDEO: Big Ten Tournament Preview - Coach Chambers
Head coach Patrick Chambers addressed the media prior to the team's trip to Indianapolis.

VIDEO: Big Ten Tournament Preview - Player Interviews
Senior Brandon Taylor and sophomore Shep Garner talked with the media before departing for Indianapolis.

Taylor Leading Lions Into Postseason
It's hard to imagine where this Nittany Lion basketball team would be without the leadership senior Brandon Taylor. His value to the growth and development of the program this season really can't be measured in a way to do Taylor justice.

Simply put, he's been a phenomenal all around player for the Nittany Lions on both ends of the floor, and he willed the Blue and White to seven conference wins for only the fifth time since 2000. Taylor has been a provided the blueprint for how to overcome adversity during his time on campus. From where he started to where the forward is now is like night and day.

"Even if I'm not scoring, I think I've done a good job being a leader for the team," said Taylor. "I've been doing different things - getting a rebound or just helping my teammates. Even if it's me not doing it, I try to be there for the younger guys and tell them what they need to be doing to help the team."

Taylor finished eighth in scoring and 10th in rebounding this season in the Big Ten en route to earning All-Big Ten third team honors on Monday night. The New Jersey native has eight double-doubles entering the Big Ten Tournament and is one of six players in the conference to have at least eight.

"What an accomplishment for Brandon," said Chambers. "From where he started to where he is today as a third-team All-Big Ten guy, what a transformation."

He approached every day of his senior season inside the program with the belief that he was going to will the Nittany Lions to success. While Taylor will leave Penn State deserving of more wins than he obtained, the unquestioned leader of the team will leave behind the framework for future success.

Taylor has been instrumental in helping the Nittany Lions play their best basketball of the season down the stretch. The versatile forward steered the Lions to five wins in their last eight games. Now, Taylor and the Nittany Lions enter the postseason with confidence knowing they have the capability to compete in Indianapolis.

Scouting Ohio State
The Buckeyes enter the Big Ten Tournament having won five of their last seven games. The two losses each came at the hand of red-hot Michigan State. Aside from the two setbacks against the Spartans, Ohio State has not lost since Feb. 4.

During that stretch, Ohio State has road wins over Rutgers and Nebraska to go along with home victories against Northwestern, Michigan and Iowa. The Buckeyes won 11 conference games this season, marking the 11th-straight season with at least 10 Big Ten wins.

Junior forward Marc Loving enters the postseason as the team's leading scorer at 13.5 points per game. Sophomore forward Keita Bates-Diop is second on the team at 11.9 tallies per contest. He is Ohio State's top rebounder at 6.4 per game. Freshman guard JaQuan Lyle is third in scoring among active players at 10.4 points per game. He is leading the Buckeyes in assists at 4.3 per game.

As a team, the Buckeyes are 10th in the Big Ten scoring (70.7 ppg) and seventh in scoring defense (67.4 ppg). Ohio State is ranked third in the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense at 40.1 percent. Additionally, the Buckeyes are second in blocked shots at 5.4 per game.

Behind 22 points from Bates-Diop, the Buckeyes handed the Nittany Lions a 66-46 setback on Jan. 25 in Value City Arena. Penn State shot just 33 percent from the field and 4-for-25 from three-point range in the lone meeting between the two teams. Nittany Lion guard Josh Reaves did not play in the first meeting, and Shep Garner suffered a sprained ankle on the game's opening play.

The Nittany Lions and Buckeyes have played four times in the Big Ten Tournament, with Penn State owning a 1-3 mark.

Bracket Breakdown
The 2016 Big Ten Tournament marks the second time in the conference's history that 14 teams are on the bracket. With the addition of Rutgers and Maryland, the tournament extended to five days last season. Should the Nittany Lions advance on Thursday, they would meet No. 2-seeded Michigan State on Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET (BTN). The Nittany Lions are one of four teams to have earned one bye. The top four seeds earned a double bye and will begin play on Friday.

The other teams in Penn State's half of the bracket include third-seeded Maryland, sixth-seeded Wisconsin, 11th-seeded Nebraska and 14th-seeded Rutgers.

Action at Bankers Life Fieldhouse begins on Wednesday with 12th-seeded Illinois taking on 13th-seeded Minnesota and 11th-seeded Nebraska meeting 14th-seeded Rutgers.


Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Men's Hoops Gameday 2015-16 - Penn State vs. Northwestern (3/3/16)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to live coverage of the 2015-16 Nittany Lion basketball season. The Nittany Lions return home on Thursday for Senior Night against Northwestern.

Live Blog Men's Hoops Gameday 2015-16 - Penn State vs. Northwestern (3/3/16)

Taylor, Seniors Looking to Finish Career at Home on a High

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VIDEO: Patrick Chambers Press Conference - March 1

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It was shortly after Penn State's three-day run at the 2015 Big Ten Tournament when a light flipped on with Brandon Taylor.

Then a junior, Taylor began to realize the finality of his college basketball career. His days in the practice gym were numbered. And it was time to become the team's leader.

When the Tabernacle, N.J., native returned to campus for summer classes, Taylor was the guy who needed to set the tone in the locker room. It was an unfamiliar role for a student-athlete who always had someone to lean on as a leader during his Penn State career.

He spent his first three seasons on campus playing alongside the likes of Tim Frazier and D.J. Newbill, but it wasn't until last summer that anyone inside the program fully understood what type of leader Taylor could be. He set the tone with his work ethic, and the 6-6 forward hasn't looked back since.

"I felt that urgency since I stepped back on campus for this last season," said Taylor. "It clicked in my head that I don't have a lot of time. For me, and every one of these seniors, it was 'what do we want to make out of this season?' I think that's what these four seniors and everyone else on the team is still thinking about."

Since he arrived on campus as a freshman in 2012, Taylor has lost more than 40 pounds. Fitness was a constant battle during the early stages of his career. Now, Taylor is in outstanding shape and is averaging nearly 32 minutes per contest in 2015-16.

Playing the best basketball of his career, Taylor had never averaged more than 9.2 points per game during his career. This season, he's leading the team at a 16.1 ppg clip, which is ranked No. 10 in the Big Ten heading into the final two games of the season. Taylor has seven double-doubles this season, which is six more than he tallied during his entire career before this season.

"I don't think Brandon Taylor gets enough credit," head coach Patrick Chambers said. "I don't think he is getting the credit for the stellar year that he is having. He's really put the program on his back."

Taylor, along with Jordan Dickerson, Devin Foster, Donovon Jack will be recognized during the Senior Night festivities on Thursday prior to Penn State's 9 p.m. tip against Northwestern. The Nittany Lions (15-14, 6-10 Big Ten) will be looking for their fourth straight win at home when they meet the Wildcats (18-11, 6-10 Big Ten) in the penultimate game of the regular season.

"It's nice to have two games at home," said Chambers. "It's nice to be back in this building. We're finding success in this building. We've had some really good crowds in this building. There is a comfort level here for our guys and our seniors. So hopefully, they come out and enjoy it."

Thursday night's game marks the first of two-straight conference home games to wrap up the season. The Nittany Lions have not played two consecutive games at home since Big Ten play started. The last time Penn State had two straight at home came on Dec. 10 and 12 when the Lions hosted the Return to Rec contests.

The stretch run of the season presents a big opportunity for this senior class to leave its mark on the program. The group has been integral in three-straight 15-win seasons. Additionally, the stakes are high for both Penn State and Northwestern in the Big Ten Tournament seeding picture as both teams look to secure a first-round bye in Indianapolis.

"We have more to give as seniors," said Devin Foster. "We are going to go about it with the same mindset each and every day and each and every practice."

"We still have games left, and we still have things we want to accomplish," said Taylor.

Tip is slated for just after 9 p.m. with live television coverage on ESPNU.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony