Nov. 5, 2012
#23 Tim Frazier
Q: Tim, would you describe D.J. as a guy and then as a player?
A: D.J. as a guy is a very close friend of mine, I include him as a brother. He has been through a lot of adversity. As far as basketball being on the floor with me, I see a lot of myself in him as far as his competitive nature, his leadership, and being just an overall great friend.
Q: What kind of personality has D.J. got?
A: Oh he's got like the "Philly Swagger" in him. He's from Philly, so before I even met him coach told me he had this guy coming in and he's got the "Philly Swagger". I was like, "I don't know what this Philly Swagger is I'm from Texas". When you get to meet him, and you get to see him, he kind of has a chip on his shoulder, he's a hard-nosed player. Like I said he's very competitive and wants to win everything.
Q: If you had any guy that you think would turn into a great three baller (three point shooter) on this team who would it be?
A: I would definitely go with Jermaine (Marshall), and then right behind Jermaine I'd definitely go with Nick Colella.
Q: What do you think about balance of a successful team. Even Patrick (Chambers) has been around teams like Villanova that they just ream the floor with 3 point shooters, and they were very successful. Can this team do that or do you think you have to go in a different direction where you have to have bigs contributing to offense?
A: I think all that is just going to help us out. In every great team you're going to have to look and find some guys when you're going to need to throw the ball in the post for them and get a foul, make an easy bucket. So having the bigs that we have now is a great addition to us three guards at the table.
Q: Tim could you assess Travis Ross?
Q: Tim, how much time has it taken for you and D.J. to get used to playing together? Patrick (Chambers) said last year he had you guys going head to head. What kind of learning curve is there, in terms of playing together?
A: He's a tremendous worker, he comes in the gym at all hours of the night. He feels like he needs to get better every day. He's constantly working on his jump shot. He's a down and gritty player. He does all the little things that some guys don't do. That's what makes him a special player. He'll go down and get offensive rebounds, and then defensive rebounds. He'll be the first one to dive on the floor. That's just a test of how great of a player he wants to be.
A: I wouldn't say it has been tough, but it definitely hasn't been as easy as you think it would be. We've been battling against each other for basically a year and a half now. Obviously to see him in the same jersey as myself, seeing where he's going to be at, knowing what he loves to do. Shooting, I'm usually standing in front of him trying to defend him, and now I'm trying to figure out what his best qualities are as far as offense goes, and defense goes, as far as the switching. I think we've made huge strides as far as playing together. I'm anxious and can't wait to go on the floor, and get into games.
Q: Chemistry between you guys (D.J. and Tim) is at its infancy. How has that developed over preseason?
A: Like I said it's a work in progress, that's for everybody on the court. Not just me and D.J. As far as the other guys, I'm always trying to figure out the different spots that they love, the spots where they get their best shots at, and how to deliver the ball to certain bigs. For D.J. and I it's a work in progress, we're still getting better each day. Each day we get to spend together on the court, it's going to help us out in the future.
Q: Tim to go back on your earlier relationship. Your sophomore year you kind of gave Taylor (Battle) the ability to play off the ball. You said after the game on Saturday that D.J. gives you that sort of ability to not always handle the ball. Is that relationship on the court similar or different? Could you sort of expand on that?
A: It has its similar ways, but I think we're totally different. D.J. is a different player. My role at that point was very different than it is now. But obviously the relationship is there. As far as 1-2, like I said that's pushing the ball up the court. When I was with Taylor, I'd know he was on my right or my left. The same with D.J. being there, as well. So there's a lot of similarities, but just that fact that we are such different players than we were two years ago, that I couldn't compare it too much.
Q: Tim, coach talked about how he's on you to be a leader at all times. He talked about letting you run practice sometimes. Coming off the Lebron camp, what kinds of leadership things did you learn there, and how do you think you're progressing as a leader now?
A: Obviously that was a great honor and I'm very thankful to attend those camps. Some of the things I learned there as far as being a point guard on the floor, we had Kevin Eastman a guy from the Boston Celtics talk about certain things that Rondo does, as far as on the court, as far as a leader. Then he talked about stuff that Kevin Garnett, their main leader on the floor does. Like coach said, it never takes a day off, leadership is not politics, you can't always be everybody's friend. Some guys aren't going to like you certain days, but they know deep down inside, especially with our team, that everyone has the same goal, and it made it that much easier for myself.
Q: He talked about letting you run certain parts of practice, what kinds of stuff are you doing in that situation?
A: He's been giving us the ropes, I wouldn't just say myself. D.J. and Jermaine are also playing a part in that. But just giving me the keys kind of and just letting me run the practice, when I know things aren't going as well or when things are going well and see how I respond. See how well I can take in my part of it, and basically he's just trying to say this is my team, this is our team, this is a leaders team. This is our core guys, this is my last year and I want it to go out in a certain way. Basically he's handing it over to myself and the captains.
Q: Tim, going back to last season, it seems like D.J. is playing a pretty big role in this, but obviously not in the games. Were there times where you would look at him and say "Man I wonder if he was playing with us right now how good we would be"?
A: I don't know if that was ever the case but I do remember certain games where D.J. was on the bench and he would come in and give me some pointers and I would relay those in the game. I'm thinking in my mind, "Why didn't I see that?" It just shows the type of player that he is, and like I said when the season was over, us three sat down and said we were ready to go. We had a bitter taste in our mouth after our last game, and also watching the tournament. From that point on we all stayed for the first session of summer school to get better. We're just ready to hit the floor.
Q: Tim, you've been playing under Coach Chambers for about a year now, what are some of the biggest differences between where the team is right now versus this point last year?
A: Definitely miles ahead. This point last year, we were still trying to figure out what Coach Chambers wanted, his techniques, and his vocabulary. Now a year from now we all know exactly what he wants. We're all older now, besides the three freshmen coming in new. But they've made tremendous strides throughout the summer and right now, they know exactly what coach wants. I think that we're so far ahead as far as knowing exactly what we have to do to win under Coach Chambers. We're ready to go.
#2 D.J. Newbill
Q: D.J., I've covered 23 years of Penn State Basketball and it's beginning to get a Philadelphia flavor. Why did you come to Penn State?
A: The first reason was Coach Chambers, he's a Philly dude. When I met him I just liked his Philly swagger.
Q: How would you describe "Philly Swagger"?
A: I mean its just like how Tim (Frazier) described me, he has a chip on his shoulder. He's just passionate about the game, some of the same stuff I have in me. I just wanted to play for him.
Q: Is the atmosphere up in central Pennsylvania different than Philadelphia?
A: It's much slower, but I was coming from Mississippi. It was like coming back home for me. It wasn't really a big adjustment.
Q: If you had to describe Tim, as a guy, and as a player, how would you do that?
A: As a guy, he's a good friend, has a good sense of humor, and I also include him as one of my brothers. He's real reliable, honest, respectful, trustworthy. As a player I would say he's a great leader and one of the hardest workers I've ever known. He just plays and everyday he comes out and gives it his all. He just has a love for the game.
Q: What's it been like playing with Tim?
A: When we first started, it was different. Like he said we've been battling against each other every day at practice last year and over the summer. The hardest adjustment was keeping up with him. He's honestly maybe the fastest player I've ever played with. I think we are feeling each other out every day, and getting a lot better at practice, we're working on it.
Q: D.J., with the Philly Swagger is that something that all Philly guys have, or is that something you have to earn, or get as you grow older?
A: Yeah, you have to earn that. Just playing in the city, all the street leagues, all the little tournaments, all of those things right there help you to develop that Philly Swagger.
Q: When would you say you got your Philly Swagger?
A: I would say my junior year of high school. When I really got a chance to play.
#11 Jermaine Marshall
Q: Jermaine, Coach said you tweaked your hamstring, can you just give us an update on that? He also said something clicked for you in the summer, do you remember that and how has your game improved from the end of last season to now?
A: First with the hamstring, like coach said it's just a little tweak. Nothing major. I sat down with our trainer, John Salazar, and we just talked. Coach took me out of the second half, he thought that was best to try to save my leg. The second thing with the summer I just tried to become more of a leader. It's my senior year in school. I've been here for four years. I'm just trying to become more vocal and trying to help Tim and D.J. out, try to teach the young guys the ropes. Showing them how to play, the young guys like Akosa (Maduegbunam) , Donovan (Jack) and Brandon (Taylor), even guys like Jon Graham, a couple of our vets like (Travis) Ross, just letting them know how the game is, and the adjustments you might have to make.
Q: That summer school topic right there, Coach talked about you overcoming a tough class and that helping you on the court, can you just elaborate on that a little bit?
A: It was actually my Stat 200 class. That was a tough class. It was kind of a struggle, and I overcame it. I think he's right, I passed that class, and a lot of things just came on and started to click for me. Hard work, things like that. It came to me on the basketball court and it's a big help.
#43 Ross Travis
Q: What is your relationship like with Coach Chambers after having a year in the program?
A: Everyone definitely knows what to expect now in our second year. Coach and I have a great relationship. He's an awesome guy, he's always there and willing to talk. I'm always in his office, talking to him. I was asking him what I can do to improve on. He tells me and then I come into this gym and work on it. He's a very open guy and he's kind of my go-to guy away from home.
Q: What can you say about Tim Frazier and how he opens up the floor to create plays for other guys?
A: I think you will see that a lot more this year. Everyone is going to be doubling him and it's going to open up a lot of shots for other players. Personally, when he gets in the lane and gets double teamed, I have to be able to hit that open shot when he gets it to me.
Q: What does (Tim) Frazier do in practice and on the floor in terms of leadership?
A: When coach came last year, he put Tim in that leadership position and Tim's gotten a lot better in that role. In practice, he's the vocal leader, pointing us in the right direction, especially with the freshmen. He's definitely been working on it.
Q: Coach talked about your versatility and your ability to guard positions one through five. What do you see as your role on this team?
A: I'm just going to work hard wherever Coach puts me on the floor. Like he said, I can guard one through five on defense. Sometimes I'm going to be matched up with a guard, sometimes with a big. One thing that's consistent in my game is I'm always going to battle and play as hard as possible. He knows what he's going to get out of me.
#20 Nick Colella
Q: Two years ago when you first started, how did your tryout with the men's team go?
A: It went exactly how I wanted it to. Those two weeks up until the tryout, I was looking forward to it and felt I was ready physically and mentally. When I got there, I just went out there and played. We did a few drills fundamentally. Once we started playing one-on-one, two-on-two, five-on-five. It was just about going out to play and have fun. I think that's the biggest thing I did. I just went out there and had fun. I just played basketball the way I know how and everything worked out.
Q: The night before you tried out for the men's team, what did you do? How were you trying to mentally prepare?
A: I have a little ritual I do and I still do it here before games. I watch Rocky IV. I'm a big Rocky fan and I was watching Rocky the night before. I tried to get to bed early and that movie gets me going.
Q: What has your time here on the men's team been like?
A: It's been unbelievable. The first team I was a part of here went to the NCAA Tournament. The guys on that team were unbelievable, the memories and relationships were great. I still talk to them day-to-day. There are no words to describe it. It's been a dream come true and I look forward to playing with the guys we have right now.
#21 Sasa Borovjnak
Q: What did you work on to improve over the summer?
A: I did a lot of rebounding drills. Lifting wise, I improved my vertical by two-and-a-half inches. That's really great news. That's the part I was working on the most. I've been working offensively on post moves and 15-foot jumpers.
Q: Can you talk about Ross Travis' versatility? What does he bring to the table that really helps you guys out?
A: He's a great guy that can play one through five. He plays extremely hard, if not the hardest on the team. He brings it every day. He makes some mistakes, but the important thing is he plays hard. He rebounds the ball and that's what we need. He was working on his jumper over the summer, including outside shots and threes. That's going to help us a lot.
Q: Are you feeling more comfortable a year after your knee injury?
A: Yeah, I'm feeling a lot better with it. I'm more comfortable making moves. I think that will help me a lot this year to have more confidence with that.
#25 Jon Graham
Q: What have you seen out of Jermaine Marshall in terms of leadership?
A: He has become more of a leader and I think he's done a great job with that. Stepping into that role is not easy. I feel like that is a big responsibility and he's handled it really well.
Q: How much of a learning experience was last year playing against some really good forwards in the Big Ten?
A: That's probably one of the best first-hand experiences you can get. You have to go through the growing pains, the bumps in the road. I feel like with all of that, I've gotten wiser and stronger. I physically and mentally understand the game speed a lot better than last year. Overall, it's been a major improvement.
Q: How you take it when Coach Chambers is relying a lot on you and Sasa (Borovnjak) inside?
A: Just come out and play as hard as we can. That's the way I see it.
Q: Are there particular areas of your game that you feel you need to improve?
A: Just really slowing myself down. I think last year I had a tendency to speed myself up when I didn't need to. I feel like controlling my speed is important. It helps with my free throws, which I think I've gotten better. Foot speed is the most I've improved on.
#10 Brandon Taylor
Q: What has it been like working with Coach Chambers?
A: It is a great feeling. He has so much energy and that makes you want to play harder every time you step on the floor. It is different from others.
Q: What has been the biggest transition from high school to college?
A: Mainly the speed and strength of the other players. Everyone seems to be on the same level so I need to adapt to be on that level.
Q: Why did you choose Penn State?
A: I loved Coach Chambers from the beginning. It is a great school. It has great academics. It is an all around great school. Penn State has everything.
#5 Donovon Jack
Q: Why did you choose to play at Penn State?
A: It is close to home. Penn State has a great community. It has great academics. Coach Chambers is great along with the players on the team. I could not go wrong
Q: What has it been like working with Coach Chambers?
A: It has been great. He is a great coach and he knows a lot. I have learned a lot since I've gotten here.
Q: What are the biggest differences between high school and college?
A: With basketball, it is a whole different level of play from high school to division one. It is a big jump sometimes. Adjusting to all the changes has been the hardest part. It has been especially difficult in fall and getting into the swing of things. Also, being an engineering major does not make it any easier balancing time.
#1 Akosa Maduegbunam
Q: Why did you choose Penn State?
A: Coach Chambers. That is it. Coach Chambers is my type of coach. He gets the best out of me. He is allowing me to reach the potential player that I could be. He has been a great life-lesson teacher. From back when Coach Chambers was recruiting me, I knew I wanted to play for him. That made it easy for me to come to Penn State.
Q: What has been the hardest part of transitioning from high school to college?
A: Athletically, the game is more physical and the game is much faster. With sports, that has really just been all, just working on adjusting to this level. In regards to school, time management has been the most difficult. I have been on top of my work now and I have great academic advisors who are making sure I am doing well.