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May 20, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA.; MAY 20, 2013 - The Penn State men's basketball team will get an early jump on the 2013-14 season with a foreign tour that will see the Nittany Lions play three games and visit cities in Belgium, England and France.
The Nittany Lions will get 10 practices to prepare for the foreign tour, which will take place August 10-17. Game dates and opponents are still being finalized. Penn State will call the western European country of Belgium home base during the tour, which will see the Nittany Lions visit the Belgium cities of Antwerp, Brussels, Bruges and Mechelen as well as Paris, France and London, England.
"I think this will be a tremendous experience for our team," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. "It is a great opportunity for our players to bond on and off the court and will be a big jump start to what we think will be an exiting season on the basketball court. It is also a terrific cultural and educational opportunity that many of our players may not otherwise ever experience."
Penn State expects All-Big Ten guard Tim Frazier, who is returning for a fifth season of eligibility after suffering a season-ending injury last year, to be ready to be a full participant in the foreign tour and see his first competition since tearing his left Achilles tendon on Nov. 18 of last year. Frazier led the Big Ten in assists (6.2 apg) and was second in scoring (18.8 ppg) in his last full season in 2011-12.
The Nittany Lions will also look to integrate four highly anticipated freshmen into the line-up in their first playing experience in blue and white. Incoming freshman guards Geno Thorpe (6-3; Pittsburgh, Pa./Shaler HS) and Graham Woodward (6-0; Edina, Minn./Edina, HS), who both averaged better than 26 points per game in their final prep seasons, and forwards Payton Banks (6-6; Orange, Calif./Lutheran) and Julian Moore (6-10; Fort Washington, Pa./Germantown Academy) are expected to compete for early playing time in their first seasons on campus.
Rising junior guard D.J. Newbill (Philadelphia, Pa.) is the top returning scorer in the Big Ten for 2013-14. He earned honorable-mention All-Big Ten honors last season after finishing fifth in scoring (16.3 ppg) and assists (4.0 apg). Rising junior forward Ross Travis (Chaska, Minn.) is the second leading returning rebounder in the Big Ten after finishing fifth last year (7.4 rpg) and posting three double-doubles in his last seven games. Rising sophomore Brandon Taylor (Tabernacle, N.J.), who made 32 threes last year, and rising junior Jon Graham (Baltimore, Md.), who has led the Lions in blocked shots the last two years, give Penn State five returning players that have started at least 18 games.
Penn State will return three of its top five scorers and rebounders from 2012-13 and the top two returning scorers in the Big Ten in Frazier and Newbill. Penn State posted a 10-21 record in 2012-13, but knocked of No. 4-ranked and eventual NCAA Tournament runner-up Michigan (84-78) in late February in Chambers' second season at the helm.
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