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Nov. 30, 2012
By Kelsey Detweiler, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As of nine o'clock this morning, D.J. Newbill has been the point guard for the Penn State men's basketball team for just 11 days, 19 hours, 24 minutes and three seconds.
That's 11 days, 19 hours, 24 minutes and three seconds of learning a position he has never played in college before.
Eleven days, 19 hours, 24 minutes and three seconds of assuming a leadership role that he did not expect to have at the beginning of this season.
But most importantly, it's 11 days, 19 hours, 24 minutes and three seconds that he's been adjusting to becoming the playmaker for the Nittany Lion offense.
And he's growing every time he steps on the floor and doing the best he can.
"And that's all that we can ask from him," said Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers.
Starting point guard and senior Tim Frazier was injured on Sunday, Nov. 18 during the Lions' game against Akron in Puerto Rico. He left the game just five minutes and 57 seconds into the first half and will sit out for the remainder of season with a ruptured Achilles tendon in his left leg.
That's when Newbill took over. Chambers said that although assuming the position as the leader of the offense is not something that Newbill expected, it is one that he is willing and able to do.
"He wants this challenge," said Chambers. "I think for the most part he's trying and he's doing what I ask him to do. He's right there, and I think this is going to make him one heck of a player when this is all said and done."
The redshirt sophomore transferred to Penn State from Southern Mississippi in August of 2011, and suffered a shoulder injury during his first week of practice as a Nittany Lion. As he went through rehab for his arm and redshirted as a transfer athlete, Newbill did not see time on the court last season.
In just six games this season, Newbill has already played a team-high 214 minutes. Now the Philadelphia native will not only spend the majority of each game controlling the Lions' offense, but also adjusting to an entirely new role. But his head coach knows that the task is not an impossible one.
"He's going to be great because we're going to continue to meet, we're going to continue to teach him, we're going to continue to simplify and simplify his decisions so he knows when to score and when to distribute," said Chambers. "If we can do that, and we can keep his head together, he should be fine and he will be."
Penn State moved to 3-3 overall after falling 73-61 to Boston College on Wednesday night in the Bryce Jordan Center. The Lions continue their three-game home stand on Saturday at 2 p.m. and will face the Penn Quakers.
Newbill said that his team will keep learning one another's tendencies and gelling together on the floor while gaining confidence from one practice to the next. The newly named point guard knows his team has a ways to go, and trusts that it will do whatever it takes to get there.
"It's still early in the season and we've still got room for improvement," said Newbill. "We're working hard because that's what we do."
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