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July 21, 2014
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.