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April 14, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA.; April 14, 2012 - Junior guard Tim Frazier (Houston, Texas) was named Team MVP and seven seniors were honored at the 33rd Annual Nittany Lion Basketball Banquet sponsored by the Nittany Lion Hoops Club Friday.
"We are here to pay tribute to these seniors and what they have done for this University and this program," first-year coach Patrick Chambers said Friday night at the Nittany Lion Inn. "All these guys embraced everything we wanted to do and they competed every single day. Even at the end, they had great energy and great passion. There was still a willingness to get better, because they loved each other."
Nittany Lion players Cammeron Woodyard (Westminster, Md.) and Billy Oliver (Chatham, N.J.) as well as senior managers Billy Bowe, Adam Horowitz, Justin LoSasso, Alex Macht and Jack McNally were honored on the night as Chambers hosted his first banquet as Nittany Lion head coach.
"I want to out-grow this room," Chambers said. "My goal is to grow this. We want to make the best Hoops Club, the best banquet, the best program. It needs to be about the players, because they build the culture - one that is going to make it a very, very bright future."
Frazier, who earned the program's sixth first-team All-Big selection after leading the Big Ten in assists (6.2 apg) and finishing second in scoring (18.8 ppg) and steals (2.4 spg), earned his first recognition as the John Lawther Team MVP award winner. Frazier became just the third Nittany Lion ever to lead the team in scoring, rebounding (4.7 rpg), assists and steals in a season and set a new Penn State season record with 198 assists on the year. He finished seventh on the season scoring chart with 602 points and posted the fifth best season steal total with 76 to become the first Lion to post a top 10 season in scoring, assists and steals in the same year. He led the Lions in scoring in 25 games on the year and his 17 20-point games ranked second in the Big Ten and fifth among major conference players nationally.
Senior guard Woodyard earned the Coaches Award after posting the best season of his career. The 6-5 guard finished second on the team with 42 threes and third posting 8.7 ppg while shooting a team-best 80.7 percent from the free throw line. He scored a career-high 22 points vs. Minnesota and logged 14 double-figure scoring games while starting18 prior to being sidelined with a fractured right foot with three games remaining in the season.
Junior forward Oliver was named the Lou Lamie Most Inspirational Player award winner after having a promising season cut short by recurring concussion-like symptoms and deciding to end his playing career because, as he said, "If I can't go out there and I can't do everything I can to win games and everything (my teammates) do for me, I think its time to move on." Prior to the return of symptoms, Oliver was leading the team with 35 threes and had posted a career-best 21 points vs. Purdue on a Penn State record tying seven threes in a Big Ten game.
Redshirt freshman forward Jon Graham (Baltimore, Md.) was earned the Most Improved Player award after the 6-8 forward started the final 17 games of the season. He twice posted a career-high 10 points (vs. Iowa and Northwestern) and had a career-high 10 rebounds (vs. Wisconsin) during a run of three straight games at the end of February. He averaged 5.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game while shooting 51.1 percent over the final 10 games of his first season on the court.
Freshman forward Ross Travis (Chaska, Minn.) earned the Scrappiest Player award sponsored by Steve Krentzman. Often referred to by Chambers as his "junkyard dog," Travis quickly became a fan favorite with his all out style diving for loose balls and crashing into the stands to save balls. He played in all 32 games and started 16 in his first season while posting 4.4 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. Like Graham, he began to peak late in the year posting 7.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game over the final five games while shooting 63.6 percent from the floor.
Sophomore guard D.J. Newbill (Philadelphia, Pa.), who redshirted the season under NCAA transfer rules after coming to Penn State from Southern Mississippi, was named the Dave Phillips Memorial Unsung Hero award winner. Newbill, who was out for more than a month as he rehabilitated a left shoulder injury suffered in mid-October, was consistently one of the best and hardest working players in practice upon his return.
Freshman guard Kevin Montminy (Centre Hall, Pa.) earned the Scholastic Achievement Award in his first season on the team. The prospective business major earned Dean's List recognition following the fall semester with better than a 3.8 grade-point average.
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