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Barbour Eager to Lead Penn State Athletics

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The 18th of August cannot come soon enough for Sandy Barbour.

Introduced as Penn State Director of Athletics on Saturday afternoon, Barbour is thrilled to begin her tenure as the leader of an athletic program that aspires to continue its long history of excellence on and off the field of play.

"When you spend a professional lifetime serving institutions and most importantly students, you dream about coming to a place like Penn State," Barbour said. "You dream about the opportunity to lead a program like Penn State athletics. Why? Because it represents the opportunity to have it all: Athletic excellence, academic achievement, community engagement and fiscal responsibility. So thank you, Eric [Barron]. I am absolutely thrilled, over the top excited about this opportunity and about being the athletic director at Penn State."

A graduate of Wake Forest where she was field hockey team captain, Barbour grew up on the East Coast and has always had a deep passion for Penn State University and its athletic department. That's what drew her to the position when she originally spoke with President Barron about the opportunity.

Immediately, Barbour felt a connection with the people, pride and remarkable accomplishments of Penn State University and its athletic department.

"I love the 'We Are Penn State.' I particularly love what it stands for. It stands for family," Barbour said.

Barbour desires to see national titles in all 31 sports on campus. But first and foremost, she will strive to lead a department with student-athletes who are elite performers in the classroom.

"We are athletic programs again that are all part of a university," Barbour said. "Our student-athletes will be students first, Penn State is incredibly proud of the academic performance of their students and we will continue to be."

Eager to hit the ground running when she begins her duties as athletic director in 23 days, Barbour wants to learn from everyone in the department, especially the head coaches leading Penn State's 31 athletic teams.

"Unity doesn't mean one opinion, and I actually embrace that, embrace the diversity of opinion, diversity in a variety of different ways, and I actually think that will make us stronger in our ability to move forward," Barbour said. "As I said before, I have something to learn from everybody, and I'll be doing a lot of listening."

Numerous head coaches were in attendance at Saturday's introductory press conference. The coaches and athletic department staff then had a chance to mingle with Barbour at a private reception before she boarded a flight to Chicago for Big Ten meetings. The head coaches in attendance exuded great confidence in the future direction of the athletic department.

"There is a culture, history and tradition of tremendous academic achievement at Penn State and that will continue," said head football coach James Franklin. "I know it's important to our president, athletic director and all of our coaches. That will continue. I know we'll spend as much time as we need to so we can start building."


"I am truly thrilled that Sandy Barbour will serve as the next athletic director for Penn State," Lady Lions head coach Coquese Washington said. "Sandy is a strong, dynamic and passionate leader. She is also an incredibly smart visionary and strategic thinker. It is exciting to imagine all the ways Penn State University, and Penn State athletics in particular, will be positively impacted by her leadership."

"I loved everything I heard today," head women's hockey coach Josh Brandwene said. "She has passion, vision and just a great understanding of the Penn State community. Both as a head coach and as an alumnus, I am really excited to start working with her."


Barbour will return to California in the coming days to prepare for her full-time return to Happy Valley on Aug. 18, and the new leader of Penn State Athletics is fired up to get started.

"We are Penn State. I'm all in. I'm ready to get going," said Barbour.

 


Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Nittany Lion Hoops Offseason Update

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While the first day of official practice is still 74 days away, the Nittany Lion basketball team has been busy in the practice gym and weight room during July.

The coaching staff is permitted to work with team two hours per week. All 14 of the Nittany Lions are on campus taking classes and working out, including newcomers Devin Foster, Shep Garner and Isaiah Washington.

Senior guard D.J. Newbill's offseason has been a busy one. The Philly native spent time at the Kevin Durant Skills Academy (Washington, D.C.) in June. Newbill was also invited to the LeBron James Skills Academy (Las Vegas) in early July, where he played against the four-time NBA MVP in some pick-up games.

"It was cool," Newbill said. "We actually played on the same team, me and LeBron, so it was kind of like give him the ball and stayed out of the way kind of. But it was cool just chatting with him for a little bit. He's a real down to earth guy, real humble."

Newbill was pleased with how things transpired at the two camps over the summer. Now, his focus is solely on helping the Nittany Lions get ready for the season.

"As soon as I got back, it was right back to work," Newbill said. "...It's time to get the guys ready. We have a great season ahead of us, and we have to be ready for it."

Junior Brandon Taylor is looking build on a strong sophomore campaign in 2014-'15. Taylor lost 10 pounds during the first half of the offseason to improve his speed and quickness as he transitions into a wing position.

"I've been in the gym constantly, working on my ball handling and guard work," Taylor said. "I've been working on staying low, working on my footwork, and the little things that go with being on the wing to help get my game to where it needs to be.

Catch up with the Nittany Lions during the summer workout period.





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Looking Back at the Top Events from 2013-'14

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the calendar begins to shift towards the start of the 2014-'15 athletic season, GoPSUsports.com wanted to take a look back at a tremendous campaign for Penn State Athletics.

Fueled by national championships from women's volleyball, wrestling and fencing, Penn State accumulated a record point total in the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup in 2013-'14.

Penn State's three NCAA Championships are its most since winning three in 1999-2000. Penn State student-athletes, who have an 88 percent graduation rate, won a school record-tying and conference-best eight Big Ten titles in 2013-'14 and 16 over the past two years, easily topping second place Michigan (9) in combined titles the last two years.

Take a look back at some of the top events from a stellar Penn State sports season.


Men's Hockey: Oct. 11, 2013 - Penn State 4, Army 1 (First Game in Pegula)

HKY_Pegula_First Game.jpgIt was a night fans in Hockey Valley had been dreaming of for years. The Nittany Lion men's hockey team christened the state-of-the-art Pegula Ice Arena with a dominant performance before a boisterous sold out crowd on opening night for the 2013-'14 season.

At 8:14 p.m., the puck dropped in the first game inside Penn State's sparkling new home for hockey.

Nate Jenson owns the honor of tallying the first goal for the Nittany Lions in Pegula. He took a feed from Taylor Holstrom early in the first period and beat Army goalie Rob Tadazak to the high corner, glove side. Just as Jensen scored, the crowd of 6,370 exploded and Zombie Nation blared through the speakers.

An early third-period two-on-one shorthanded goal from Curtis Loik and a breakaway goal from David Goodwin would spark the same reaction. Leading 3-1, Eric Scheid notched a last-second empty net goal to seal the first win in their inaugural game in Pegula.

Hockey Valley could not have any been prouder of its team following the 4-1 victory, and the student section made that very clear. The Roar Zone was full song from the moment it walked into the building 90 minutes before faceoff.

The Nittany Lions went on to win four games inside Pegula Ice Arena during their first Big Ten season. The list of victories included a thrilling 4-0 win over Michigan and a 4-2 triumph over Ohio State during conference play.



Football: Oct. 12, 2013 - Penn State 43, Michigan 40 (Beaver Stadium)

FB_Robinson Michigan.jpegDown by 34-27 at its own 20-yard line with 50 seconds on the clock and no timeouts, Penn State found itself in a difficult situation in sold out Beaver Stadium against rival Michigan.

The stakes were simple. Drive down the field and score a touchdown or the game was over.

True freshman and 18-year old signal-caller Christian Hackenberg jogged onto the field to lead the offense during the 2-minute drill with the game on the line.

On first down at the 20, Hackenberg connected with Robinson, who dragged his toe just inside the sideline paint in front of the Penn State bench for a 14-yard gain.

One play later, it was Brandon Felder's turn.

Hackenberg's toss to Felder in front of the Michigan bench covered 29 yards and set up another first down at the Michigan 37-yard line.

Two plays later, Robinson returned to the spotlight with the play of the game.

Hackenberg fielded Ty Howle's snap and looked to Robinson, who was lined up wide on the left side of the formation. Robinson stuttered in the first 10 yards of his route, attempting to freeze the Michigan defensive back. As he regained full speed, Hackenberg's pass was in the air.

Robinson skied over the Michigan defender and plucked the ball at the highest point in his jump before falling to a rest at the 1-yard line.

Hackenberg finished the drive off with a plunge into the end zone, capping off a five-play, 80-yard game-tying touchdown drive that covered just 23 seconds on the clock.

The teams exchanged blows in the overtime frames before Bill Belton became the hero. Belton trotted into the north end zone of Beaver Stadium for a game-winning touchdown in the fourth OT, capping off an epic comeback and a victory that will live in Penn State history for decades.



 
Women's Volleyball: Dec. 21, 2013 - Penn State 3, Wisconsin 1 (Championship Match)

WVB_Title.jpegPenn State's road to the national semifinals in Seattle was not an easy one in 2013. After knocking off LIU Brooklyn and Utah inside Rec Hall to open the NCAA Tournament, the Nittany Lions traveled to Kentucky for the regional round of the 64-team tournament.

Penn State rallied from 1-0 down to defeat Michigan State in the regional semifinals, which set up a showdown against seventh-seeded Stanford for a trip to the national semifinals.

The Lions and Cardinal battled to a fifth set in what evolved into an epic clash among two of volleyball's heavyweights. Penn State trailed Stanford 9-6 in the fifth before head coach Russ Rose used a timeout. Out of the break, the Lions were not going to be denied.

Penn State scored the next six points in the decisive set on the way to punching a ticket to the national semifinals in Seattle.

Playing in the NCAA semis for the 11th time in program history, Penn State rolled over Washington (3-0), which was playing just four miles from its campus, with a truly dominant performance.

The national title match, the Lions' ninth all-time appearance, was next. Facing off against Wisconsin in the first all Big Ten national final, Penn State jumped out to a hard-fought 2-0 lead before the Badgers rallied to make it 2-1.

Wisconsin took a 23-20 lead in the fourth and was just two points from forcing a fifth set, but the Lions were not done. A service error from the Badgers made it 23-21. With ice water in her veins, ESPY nominee Micha Hancock stepped to the service line. The junior delivered four potent jump serves, two of which dropped for aces, before senior Deja McClendon's kill clinched the program's sixth national title and fifth in the last seven years.

In six NCAA Tournament matches this season, the Nittany Lions dropped just four total sets.


 
Men's Basketball: Jan. 29, 2014 - Penn State 71, Ohio State 70 (Value City Arena)

MBB_Newbill_Craft copy.jpgThe Nittany Lion basketball team trailed Ohio State, 59-48, with 7:58 to play in Columbus after Buckeyes capped off a 10-2 scoring run.

Penn State never panicked, largely thanks to a dominant performance from D.J. Newbill down the stretch.

A pair of buckets from Jordan Dickerson and two free throws from Newbill set the score at 62-59, Buckeyes, with 2:20 to play.

Newbill then fielded a long pass moving right to left across the floor from Frazier before burying a corner three, which tied the game at 62-62 with 1:08 to go. Ohio State scored the next three points to make it 65-62.

Newbill answered in the form of a second clutch 3-pointer with 11.0 seconds to play.

After Ohio State's final possession in regulation came up empty, the game headed into overtime.

The Buckeyes took a 70-67 lead on a pair of Lenzelle Smith Jr. free throws in the extra frame, but Newbill was not done.

The Philly product snaked through the Ohio State defense for a lay-in with 45 seconds to play, pulling the Lions to within one (70-69). The Buckeyes turned the ball over on the next possession, setting up an inbounds play with 13.2 seconds.

Tim Frazier inbounded to Jordan Dickerson, who handed the ball off to D.J. Newbill in front of the scorer's table. Down one with 11 seconds to play in overtime as he crossed halfcourt, Newbill raced to the right side of the floor.

The Philly native wanted the ball in his dominant hand. With one of the Big Ten's top defenders an arm's length away, Newbill began his move with 5.4 seconds on the clock.

After one power dribble to his right, he sent the ball to his left hand under Aaron Craft's extended right arm. Newbill took one more power dribble with his left hand before elevating at the right elbow with 3.5 seconds on the clock.

The ball never touched the rim as it sailed through the cylinder to give the Lions a 71-70 victory. Penn State's win at Ohio State was its first since 2001.



Women's Basketball: March 1, 2014 - Penn State 77, Michigan 62 (Bryce Jordan Center)

WBB_Big Ten.jpegTo put it simply, Senior Day couldn't have gone any better for Penn State's four seniors in 2014.

Maggie Lucas, Talia East, Dara Taylor and Ariel Edwards all were double figure scorers on a day where they were honored with friends and family in attendance as the team claimed its third consecutive Big Ten title with a 77-62 over Michigan.

Edwards led the Lady Lions with 21 points on 8-for-12 shooting from the field while Lucas, East and Taylor added 17, 16 and 11 points respectively.

Penn State had control of the game from start to finish as they shot 54 percent from the field, missed just one free throw on 19 attempts and collected seven blocks and 11 steals.

The group of seniors combined for 65 of the team's 77 points; epitomizing their leadership during their time at Penn State in their last regular season home game.

That was expected from a group of four leaders who ensured a team of seven freshmen didn't miss a beat coming off of two-straight conference titles heading into the season.

Edwards, Lucas and East left Penn State as one of the winningest classes ever. They finished with 101 wins, good for second in program history. Taylor was at Penn State for 75 of the 101 wins after transferring from Maryland.

With all of the championships, accolades and wins, it was a perfect way for Lucas, East and Taylor to complete their Penn State careers.

Penn State's third-straight Big Ten title put the Lady Lions in elite company with Iowa and Ohio State as the only programs in the conference to win three or more consecutive conference crowns. The title also fueled the Lady Lions' second run to the Sweet 16 in past three years.




Wrestling: March 22, 2013 - Nittany Lions Clinch Fourth-Straight NCAA Title

WR_Title.jpegPenn State's reign over the college wrestling world continued in March when the Nittany Lions captured their unprecedented fourth-straight NCAA team title in Oklahoma City.

Fueled by NCAA individual crowns from seniors Ed Ruth at 184 pounds and David Taylor at 165 pounds, the Lions celebrated on the sport's grandest stage inside Chesapeake Energy Arena as the 2014 national champions.

By no means was the fourth title an easy one for the Nittany Lions, who edged Minnesota by 5.5 points in the final team standings. Following a victory from Ruth at 184 pounds, the Lions pulled ahead of the Gophers by 1.5 points after two championship bouts.

Minnesota suffered setbacks in its two national title bouts, with the second coming in the ninth match of the evening. As the 157-pound bout ticked to zero on the clock, the white-clad Penn State fans rose to their feet to celebrate the program's fifth national championship.

But the work was not quite done for the Nittany Lions, as Taylor was on deck in the final championship match of night against Oklahoma State's Chris Perry.

You could not have scripted a better way for Taylor's career to end in a Penn State singlet than the way it did on Saturday night. The epitome of a team player, Taylor's imprint on the program goes far beyond his stellar accolades. He didn't miss a match at the national tournament because he wanted to support his fellow teammates. On Saturday morning, he did not need to be at the arena, but he was the first to greet fellow senior James English as he came off the mat after his critical win in the seventh-place match at 149 pounds.

Thanks to another dominant performance, Taylor finished off his collegiate career with a victory in the final match of the national tournament, an individual national title and a team title. 

Taylor and Ruth played a paramount role in Penn State's fourth-straight title, but the Nittany Lions will remain atop the NCAA wrestling mountain because of a hard-fought team effort in the 2014 NCAA Championships.



Fencing: March 23, 2014 - Nittany Lions Clinch 13th NCAA Title

FEN_Title.jpegNo program in Penn State's illustrious sports history has won more national titles than the fencing team. Under the direction of interim head coach Wes Glon, Penn State mounted a furious charge on the final day of the NCAA Championships in Columbus to clinch its 13th national championship.

As a team, Penn State finished the competition with 180 bout victories, toppling Princeton in second-place (159 victories), and St. John's in third (156 victories).

Individually, sophomore Kaito Streets claimed the 2014 men's saber NCAA title. Streets became the 13th individual champion for the Nittany Lions in program history.

In the team race, the Nittany Lions were neck and neck with Princeton throughout much of the competition. The Lions began pulling away from the Tigers on day three of the competition. Penn State clinched the program's third title in the past six seasons on day four.

Streets held the number one spot in the men's saber event heading into the final competition. He knocked off Ferenc Valkai from St. John's to become an individual champion.

Glon has been with the Nittany Lions for 29 seasons, and he has seen all 13 national titles. But the 2014 crown marked his first as the leader of the program.




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Chambers Leading the Fight Against Cancer at CVC Golf Outing

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VIDEO: Patrick Chambers Press Conference at CVC Golf Outing | Photo Gallery

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Attitude is everything for Patrick Chambers.

He and the Nittany Lion basketball program live by the motto of approaching any type of adversity with a choice.  You can either face challenges with a positive attitude or dwell on them with a negative attitude.

For Chambers, there really is no choice.

Everything he touches has a positive tone involved with it.

chambers_cvc_1.jpgThe atmosphere at Friday's 18th Annual Coaches vs. Cancer Golf Tournament at the Penn State Golf Courses was living proof of that.

Chambers was hired on the day of the CVC golf outing in 2011, and a sun-splashed Friday provided the setting for another positive step for he and the outstanding event held at the Penn State Blue and White Golf Courses.  More than 300 golfers took the courses on Friday, including several Penn State head coaches.  Baseball's Rob Cooper, women's lacrosse's Missy Doherty, men's volleyball's Mark Pavlik, women's hockey's Josh Brandwene, women's gymnastics's Jeff Thompson, men's golf's Greg Nye and men's soccer's Bob Warming participated in this year's outing.

For Chambers, this year's version of the tournament took on a different meaning.  Chambers lost his brother, Greg, to lung cancer at age 60 on March 18, and the CVC event touched him personally unlike the previous three years.

"For the first time in my life, this event hits close to home," Chambers said.  "It hit me at home with one of your older brothers.  It's been a trying time, yet a time to reflect on great memories with him growing up...I'll mention this today, I saw a Johns Hopkins study on this.  Not only do you need to eat well and stay in shape and take care of yourself, but you need to laugh and have to keep your mind clear of any negativity.  I needed to see something like that heading into last night's event and today.  I feel like he knows that I'm here putting forth more of an effort."

Chambers spent the morning session making the rounds on the golf course saying hello and greeting the participants before playing golf in the afternoon in a group with five-time NBA champion Ron Harper.  Chambers has the perfect attitude to lead a fight against a deadly disease.

"I want this to be a happy event.  I want this to be a celebration.  I want people to have a good time," Chambers said.  "It's a first-class event that everybody looks forward to every year."

harper_CVC_1.jpgChambers and Harper kept the mood light in their six-man group.  Harper provided music in a portable speaker system as the group made its way around the Blue Course.

Beyond the laughs and 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 to former Nittany Lion basketball leaders Bruce Parkhill, Jerry Dunn (both of which were in attendance on Friday) and Ed DeChellis for helping lead the Penn State CVC into what it has become today.

"This runs like a well-oiled machine right now, so I can't even fathom what they went through to get this thing off the ground," Chambers said.  "The level that it is at now is unbelievable...To get this thing off the ground the way they did, and now have $2 million raised in the 18th year.  That's pretty amazing with what these coaches have started.  I am going to carry the torch as long as I can to keep it going. 

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 better man with a better attitude continuing to lead the Penn State CVC fight than Coach Chambers.

With the funds raised last year, the CVC eclipsed $2 million raised in the fight against cancer.  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.



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VIDEO: Patrick Chambers Press Conference at CVC Golf Outing

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Hear from head coach Patrick Chambers as he addresses the media at the 18th Coaches vs. Cancer Golf Outing on Friday.

Frazier Continuing to Work Towards Next Level

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - On track to receive his second degree from Penn State this weekend, Tim Frazier is ready to solely focus on basketball during the next phase in the process to continue his basketball career at the next level.

Since the Nittany Lion basketball season ended in March, the two-time All-Big Ten guard has been busy in his quest to prepare for the upcoming NBA Draft (June 26).

Frazier was invited to the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in mid-April to showcase his skills to professional scouts from every NBA team and several international leagues.  The trip included NBA combine testing and three games.  Frazier's team - Norfolk Sports Club - reached the tournament's final game before falling at the buzzer.

"Portsmouth went great," Frazier said.  "It was a blessing and an honor to be able to attend the invitational.  Fortunately, I was lucky enough to be on a good team with a great group of guys and a great group of coaches.  We played together, and we made it to the championship.  We lost at the buzzer in the championship.  For me personally, I played well down there.  I was able to improve and show as much as I could to the NBA scouts in attendance."

Averaging 8.7 points, 6.3 assists and 6.3 rebounds, Frazier had a very productive three games in Portsmouth.  The Texas native, who is one of just two Big Ten players to reach 1,500 points, 600 assists and 500 rebounds in his career, took an unselfish approach in his trip to the showcase tournament.

"I am just continuing to try and get better overall," Frazier said.  "I think my main focus going down there was there to be a leader on the floor.  I wanted to get as many guys involved as possible, and to make the other guys on my team better.  I've always been a pass-first point guard.  I tried to make the best assists I could make, and then I tried to score when the opportunities were there.  Overall, I think I did that."

With the Portsmouth tournament complete, Frazier has been working out two to three times a day in preparation for upcoming individual workouts.  He said that it is all about refining each aspect of his game in the coming weeks to get ready for the next chapter.

"I feel great right now," Frazier said.  "The guys I've been working out with here have done a great job.  The coaches and strength coaches have been awesome.  I've been working out two to three times a day.  I feel great.  Obviously, I want to continue getting into better shape leading up to my next step, which is working out at home."

With a degree in supply chain management and information systems already in hand, Frazier is scheduled to earn a communication arts and sciences degree when final exams for the spring semester finish on Friday.  He will head back to Houston this week, in addition to selecting an agent.  The next phase of on-court work will also include individual workouts in front of teams.

"This experience is everything that you dream about," said Frazier.  "You are able to come in now, play in front of NBA teams, GMs, travel, play in different facilities.  I'm really looking forward to it.  The only thing nerve-wracking is the waiting game.  The draft isn't until June.  So the next month and a half is just training and the waiting game.  Hopefully, my name will get called.  If not, I know there will be another plan for me."

Frazier said he would not be in the position that he is today without his five seasons at Penn State.  He experienced the highest of highs with a run to the NCAA Tournament in 2011 and the challenge of an Achilles injury.  Frazier's journey in Blue and White prepared him for a career on the hardwood, and with two degrees in hand, he is well positioned for a successful future beyond basketball.

"Penn State has done everything that I could ask for," said Frazier.  "These last five years have been unbelievable.  It has been nothing but great for me.  I've cherished every moment.  Like I said before, if I had the opportunity to come back, I would have taken another year.  Penn State has done a lot of things for me.  It has made me the man I am today.  I'm thankful and very blessed to have been able to spend the last five years here."



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Chambers, Nittany Lions Working Towards 2014-'15 Season

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion basketball team's 2013-'14 season was marked by individual and collective progress.

While head coach Patrick Chambers and the players on the roster would be the first to tell you that they had hoped to win more games last season, the foundation laid and steps forward have given the squad a great deal of optimism as preparations for 2014-'15 begin.

The program moves forward without Tim Frazier, who graduates following a decorated career in Blue and White, but the Lions return one of the Big Ten's elite players in all-conference guard D.J. Newbill.

Following a tremendous junior campaign, the Philadelphia native will head into the fall as the conference's second-leading returning scorer.  After tweaking his shot mechanics during the offseason, Newbill set career-highs in field goal (45 percent) and three-point (33 percent) percentages.  Newbill's 17.8 points per game mark was second only to Nebraska's Terran Petteway.

"I definitely didn't achieve the goals I wanted to achieve, team-wise and record-wise," Newbill said.  "But there were so many close games, and we just have to learn from them.  We have to work harder than we did last year.  That's my mindset going into this offseason.  We worked hard last year, now, we've got to work even harder." 

A dynamic player with a tenacious attitude, Newbill is again primed for a big offseason and another step forward on the floor in 2014-'15.  He had 10 20-point games last season, including six in Big Ten games.  Among the conference's most complete scorers, Newbill will play a central role in Penn State's success next season.

"Our team chemistry was good, but it can get a lot better," Newbill said.  "Our defense needs to improve and we need to hit shots.  We need to have guys continuously getting into the gym and working on their jump shots.  That helps you shoot with confidence, and that is going to help us next year."

Collectively, the Nittany Lions return 78 percent of their scoring and 77 percent of their rebounds from last season in Newbill, Brandon Taylor, Ross Travis, Donovon Jack, John Johnson, Geno Thorpe, Jordan Dickerson, Julian Moore, Alan Wisniewski and Kevin Montminy.  Redshirt freshman Payton Banks will debut for Penn State in the fall.  Additionally, Penn State welcomes second-team JUCO All-American Devin Foster to the rotation and true freshmen Shep Garner and Isaiah Washington.

"It's repetition.  We're youthful," Chambers said.  "I think with every passing year, everything slows down a little bit, especially for guys like John Johnson, Jordan Dickerson, Geno Thorpe.  I think the pace of the game will slow down. I think that's when you're going to see shots go down.  Plus, with experience, I think you'll start to see shots go down. We're going to have seniors and juniors next year, which is exciting."

The Lions are on the brink of a breakout season after finishing with 16-18 overall mark and a 6-12 record in the Big Ten.  Penn State lost eight games by five or fewer points in 2013-'14, including four during Big Ten play.  The Lions' 16 wins reached a mark topped just three times this millennium.

Penn State won five road games, including three in Big Ten play, marking the most since the 2008-'09 season when they won six.  Penn State swept Ohio State for the first time since 1998, becoming the second team to beat the Buckeyes twice in the regular season in the last five years (Michigan State is the only other team).

"It takes time, and we all have to be patient, but I don't know if we were appreciated for what we did," Chambers said. "Not me, the players. I don't know that they were appreciated for how hard they competed on a nightly basis. Every game, other than a few, I felt like they competed to the best of their ability. To be sitting here again, 15-16 wins, is a great jump up from where we were."

Now, the Nittany Lions are looking to take the next step with another strong offseason of development in the practice gym from everyone on the roster.   Expectations are high for Chambers and the Lions as they continue the building process leading up to the 2014-'15 season.


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Men's Hoops CBI Blog - Penn State at Siena

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to live, in-game coverage of Penn State's CBI quarterfinal matchup at Siena.  The Nittany Lions and Saints will tip at 7 p.m. inside Albany's Times Union Center.



 

Lions Travel to Siena for CBI Quarterfinals

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion basketball team (16-17, 6-12 Big Ten) travels to Siena (16-17, 11-9) on Monday for a showdown in the CBI quarterfinals (7 p.m. on CBS Sports Network).

Penn State moved past Hampton in the opening round last week.  Now, the Nittany Lions and Saints will battle for a spot in the tournament semifinals inside the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y.  Siena has never played host to a Big Ten school, setting up an opportunity for the Lions to play in a raucous environment for a postseason game.

"It's going to be nuts, it's going to be crazy," head coach Patrick Chambers said.  "That's what I envision. We're a Big Ten team going in there. Jimmy is going to have them ready to go. It's going to be a great challenge. If we can keep the score to where we're containing the pace, I think that's going to be better for us."

Penn State traveled to Albany on Sunday in preparation for Monday's game.  The Lions stopped at West Point for practice inside Army's facility.  Get primed for the CBI quarterfinal matchup between Penn State and Siena.


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Eager for the Opportunity
The Nittany Lions are reaping the benefits of extra practice to build for the future.  Last week's first round game against Hampton provided invaluable game experience for the young players on Penn State's roster.  Freshman Geno Thorpe and sophomore Brandon Taylor played instrumental roles in helping lead the Lions past the Hampton Pirates.  That being said, there was never a doubt in Coach Chambers's mind about the positives the Nittany Lions could reap from postseason experience in the CBI.  He saw it firsthand during the 2010 season when he led Boston University to the CBI semifinals against VCU.  One year later, Boston earned a spot in the NCAA field, and VCU punched a ticket to the Final Four.  The extra practice time and game experience is huge for the program's building process, and Monday's game provides another opportunity to grow.

"I know Siena has a young team, we have a young team, Hampton had a young team," Chambers said.  "I think that's why you want to do it to give them that practice and preparation to prepare them for a tournament run. Our guys did want to play in it, and if our guys didn't I would think maybe I didn't recruit the right guys. When you take pride in putting that jersey on, you want to put it on as much as you can. Four years is not a long time, as Tim Frazier realizes. He can't believe it's over."

Taylor Active in CBI Opener
In 31 minutes of action, sophomore Brandon Taylor did a little bit of everything for the Nittany Lions in their 69-65 win over Hampton in the first round.  Taylor scored 14 points, which marked his 14th game in double-figures this season.  Taylor also pulled down nine rebounds for the Nittany Lions.  With growing confidence, Taylor is becoming a much more balanced player on the offensive end of the floor.  He is a threat from the perimeter and is developing a post game.  The skilled sophomore is on the cusp of a breakout performance for the Nittany Lions.

Scouting Siena
The Siena Saints enter Monday's game having won five of their last six contests, with the only setback coming to Canisius in the MAAC Tournament quarterfinals.  Siena erased a three-point halftime deficit to down Stony Brook, 66-55, in the first round of the CBI.  The Saints have never hosted a Big Ten opponent prior to Monday's clash with the Nittany Lions inside the Times Union Center.

Junior guard Rob Poole tallied 20 points in Siena's victory over Stony Brook.  Poole leads the team in scoring at 14.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.  Sophomore forward Brett Bisping is Siena's second double-figure scorer (10.8 ppg).  Bisping also leads the Saints in rebound at 6.3 per contest.  He has tallied nine double-figure games in his last 11 contests.  Freshman guard Marquis Wright became the first freshman to lead the MAAC in assists in the last 20 years.

Siena is averaging 69.8 points per contests, while giving up 71.1 points.  The Saints have shot 42 percent from the field and 33 percent from beyond the arc.

The Nittany Lions have played Siena once before.  The Lions defeated the Saints, 105-103, in the NIT on March 20, 2000.

Bracket Analysis
Should the Nittany Lions advance on Monday, they would move on to the CBI semifinals, which take place on Wednesday.  The pairings for the semifinals will not be announced until the conclusion of tonight's quarterfinal games.  In addition to Penn State-Siena, Princeton plays at Fresno State, Radford plays at Old Dominion and Texas A&M plays at Illinois State.  The best-of-three championship series begins on March 31, with games two and three slated for April 2 and April 4.

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Nittany Lions Use Team Effort to Move Past Hampton

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By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - When the Penn State men's basketball team received its invitation to play in the College Basketball Invitational, head coach Patrick Chambers knew full well how much value his team could get from playing in the tournament.


As the coach of Boston in 2010, Chambers guided the Terriers to the CBI semifinals and saw the dividends pay off with an NCAA Tournament berth the following season. That's why when the Nittany Lions got the same opportunity, Chambers saw it as a chance not only for them to compete, but also for his players to gain valuable experience and continue to develop.

"For the last two years (the players) have had off for two weeks and then we started our spring workouts," Chambers. "Now, we practiced and we're preparing for the future. Let's get a taste of the postseason and see what it's like because it can only help us."

Going up against Hampton in the program's first postseason action since making the NCAA Tournament in 2011, the Nittany Lions played the epitome of team basketball, getting nine players double-digit minutes in a 69-65 victory.

While the team's star guard duo of Tim Frazier and D.J. Newbill played as prominent a role as ever, Penn State also got key performances from the likes of sophomore center Jordan Dickerson, sophomore forward Brandon Taylor, and freshman guard Geno Thorpe.

"I think (our younger guys) stepped up to the challenge," Chambers said. "I think you're getting a taste of the future."

Taylor provided the Lions with a spark throughout the entire first half, recording 10 points and five rebounds in the opening period, including back-to-back 3-pointers in a 31-second span to give the Lions an 18-8 lead at the 12:28 mark.

The power forward would finish the game with 14 points and nine rebounds, and along with Dickerson (six), Frazier (seven), and junior forward Ross Travis (eight), helped the Nittany Lions outrebound the Pirates by a 42-18 margin.

"Brandon Taylor's production was great," Chambers said. "He got hot early, made his free throws and he's a very good foul shooter."

The Pirates would fight back, cutting Penn State's lead to 30-25 with 1:47 remaining in the first half behind the shooting of sophomore guard Brian Darden, who went 4-for-4 from behind the arc for 15 points in the first half.  But another young Nittany Lion stepped up, this time it was freshman guard Graham Woodward, who nailed a 3-pointer that gave the Blue and White a 33-25 halftime lead.

Although Hampton would continue to claw back, even taking a 43-41 lead at the 11:17 mark in the second half, Penn State quickly regrouped, going on a 14-4 run over the next 5:27, highlighted by a slam dunk by Newbill at the 6:19 mark off a Frazier pass following a block by Taylor that showcased the Nittany Lion cohesion on the court.

"That gives me a look of how we're going to be next year, seeing (young) guys making big plays down the stretch," Newbill said. "Those guys are really coming into their own."

One guy who clearly came into his own against the Pirates was Thorpe, who in 25 minutes scored 10 points and added five rebounds, while going 6-6 from the free throw line, including four foul shots coming in the final 22 seconds to ice the game.

Although Frazier filled the stat sheet as usual with 10 points, seven rebounds and three assists, and Newbill was remarkably efficient, tallying 19 points in just 23 minutes, it was Thorpe's relentless defense and clutch shooting that stood out the most to Chambers.

"He's tough, he's athletic and physical, and he doesn't back down," Chambers said. "He's accepted his role of defending the best player on the other team and we need that type of toughness. He's only going to continue to get better."

Coming off of a tough 63-56 loss to Minnesota in the Big Ten tournament, Chambers was glad to see his players embrace the opportunity of playing in the CBI.

However long the postseason lasts for the Nittany Lions, Chambers is confident that they will reap the benefits of the experience moving forward.

"I'm proud of our guys because it's not easy and everybody knows they want to be in the NCAA Tournament," Chambers said. "They came out and competed and played Penn State basketball and that is a big step for us."