Posts filed under ‘Nittany Lion basketball’
It wasn’t like I remembered, back when I was an undergrad and they played actual basketball games in Rec Hall. But walking into the old gym Wednesday night for Penn State’s Hoops Madness event, I still felt something like nostalgia.
It felt pretty good.
Hoops Madness worked on a couple of levels, reminding old guys like me what a great building Rec Hall was (and might still be, someday…) for basketball, while hyping up students for the upcoming Nittany and Lady Lions seasons. Not much is expected of the men this season, but there’s plenty of excitement about new head coach Patrick Chambers and his high-energy style. The women, meanwhile, enter the 2011-12 season as favorites for the Big Ten title.
On Wednesday, the teams came together in front of a few thousand fans in Rec Hall, (more…)
Tim Frazier was looking for an example that would fully convey his new coach’s intensity. He wasn’t lacking for options.
“Coach is pure energy, all the time,” Frazier said Tuesday. “Even in free throw drills.”
That assessment certainly jibes with everything we’ve seen and heard from Patrick Chambers in the five months since he was named head coach of the Penn State men’s basketball program. Whether with fans, the media, or his players, Chambers seemingly is always intense—intensely positive about the program’s potential, and intensely focused on how he plans to maximize it.
Chambers and his players met the press Tuesday at the team’s preseason media day, where they explained how intensity and optimism might translate into wins.
Penn State comes into the 2011-12 season without four starters—and the overwhelming majority of its points, rebounds, and assists—from a team that last year reached the NCAA tournament. Outside consensus is that the Nittany Lions won’t be able to overcome those graduation losses—they’re a popular pick to finish dead last in the now-12-team Big 10. Frazier, a junior guard, is the only returning starter, and he knows his days as a supporting player are over.
“I don’t want to put it all on Tim Frazier,” Chambers said. “But (more…)
Patrick Chambers made it clear when he was hired as men’s basketball that he would do all he could to generate interest in the program. The details of his first game in charge make it clear he wasn’t kidding. On Saturday, Nov. 12—the same day the Nittany Lion football team hosts Big Ten newcomer Nebraska at Beaver Stadium—Chambers’ squad will open its 2011-12 season against Hartford in the Bryce Jordan Center. And the kicker? Admission to the basketball game will be free.
Start times for both games are yet to be determined; fans should probably plan on making a day of it regardless.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
Penn State basketball fans have been focused on the future since since Patrick Chambers took over the program last month. That’s understandable, but a couple of stories this week are keeping the Nittany Lions’ recent past in the headlines.
When he resigned unexpectedly in May to become head coach at Navy, Ed DeChellis ’82 said the move was all about what the Naval Academy could offer and had nothing to do with any issues he had at his alma mater. He reiterates and expands on his reasons in these profiles in the Washington Post and Washington Times. There’s interesting stuff about DeChellis adjusting to the military requirements his players deal with (and how they limit his ability to work with the team), and how the 2007 death of his friend and fellow coach Skip Prosser impacted his decision to leave Penn State. Both are worth a read.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
The Penn State community has lost one of its signature voices. Pat Boland ’91, a fixture in State College radio for two decades, died Tuesday morning after a lengthy battle with cancer.
Pat covered pretty much everything there was to cover on campus and in town, and as co-host of the WRSC morning show, his was the voice many Happy Valley residents woke up to. I met Pat in the mid ’90s while I was a Daily Collegian reporter covering the men’s basketball team; when I returned to town a few years ago, I was glad to see he was still here, running the press-row attendance pool at the Bryce Jordan Center. The radio call-in show he hosted after Penn State football games was a must-listen, often for the unintentional comedy provided by emotional fans. Pat navigated it like the pro that he was.
As of a few weeks ago, Pat’s health had deteriorated to the point that he could no longer carry on his radio duties, and he took a leave of absence. He kept himself busy with physical therapy, reading up on World War I, following his beloved Pittsburgh Pirates, and starting a blog. His final entry, titled “exhaustion,” was posted last Friday; he admitted to being wiped out both by his illness and attempts to combat it, but wrote, “I’ll be back soon.” He was 42.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
We don’t have to call him “Sir John”—at least not yet. But as part of the Queen of England’s birthday celebration over the weekend, former Nittany Lion basketball star John Amaechi ’94 received the Order of the British Empire, which is awarded to citizens of the United Kingdom who have performed a valuable service.
Amaechi’s impressive resume, which includes time with three NBA teams, becoming the first openly gay NBA player, earning a doctorate in psychology, campaigning for human rights and LGBT issues, and working with at-risk youth, surely caught the queen’s eye.
“I see this honour as a chance to reach out and do more to create an equality of opportunity for all people, but especially to inspire young people,” Amaechi said in this story from MVP Basketball. “I was once an overweight bookworm who hid in the corner of my school library and wished I was invisible.
“My mother told me that I could do better than just disappear—she convinced me that the most unlikely of people, in the most improbable of situations can become extraordinary. I hope to use this platform to convince other young people just how true this can be for them too.”
The 6-foot-10 Amaechi kept his sense of humor, too, noting that many people who are so honored say that they are standing on the shoulders of giants. “I feel very much like I am here today due to efforts of numerous people, but in my case, I am a giant who is standing on the shoulders of slightly smaller people.”
Lori Shontz, senior editor
It’s generally pretty tough to find college basketball stories in early June, but there’s been some awfully good stuff written about Patrick Chambers, Penn State’s new coach. Here’s a selection of some of our favorites:
Dave Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News provides some excellent analysis (as always) in this column, and Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Bob Ford weighs in with this piece. And Mike Poorman of StateCollege.com takes a truly original angle here.
And it wasn’t just local media. My former colleague at The Daily Collegian, Dana O’Neil, who now covers college basketball for ESPN.com, weighs in here on why she thinks Penn State’s hire is a good one. Mike DeCourcey of The Sporting News is equally impressed in this piece. And here’s Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo, detailing how getting stabbed was the first step in Chambers’ journey to Penn State.
One final link: The take from Boston, where Chambers had been coaching at Boston University.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
So when athletic director Tim Curley said of new men’s basketball coach Patrick Chambers, “There will be no one better at promoting, marketing, and selling the Penn State basketball program 24/7, 365,” he wasn’t just delivering a throwaway line.
Chambers is a guy whose sales experience goes beyond recruiting basketball players. He majored in marketing at Philadelphia University and began his professional life as a copier salesman.
“Bottom of the barrel,” he said Monday afternoon, not long after he (more…)
Eleven days after Ed DeChellis ’82 abruptly stepped down as Penn State’s men’s basketball coach, Penn State has named his replacement: Boston University head coach Pat Chambers. He’ll be introduced at a news conference at University Park on Monday afternoon.
Chambers was at BU just two years, but posted two 21-win seasons and took the Terriers to the NCAA tournament in just his second year (though the Boston Globe couldn’t resist pointing out that he did it largely with the players he inherited from the previous coach, Dennis Wolff).
Before BU—and this is the part that many Penn State fans find appealing—he spent five seasons as an assistant under Jay Wright at Villanova. The Wildcats went to the Sweet Sixteen in four of those five seasons, including their Final Four appearance in 2009.
Penn State athletic director Tim Curley ’76, ’78g surely found Chambers’ Philly-area recruiting ties appealing. Besides his stint at Villanova, Chambers also grew up in the Philly area and played at Philadelphia University under Herb Magee, who was just named to the Hall of Fame this year.
Dave Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News, often a harsh critic of the Penn State program, thinks Chambers has a chance to be the kind of recruiting salesman that Penn State badly needs.
ESPN’s Dana O’Neil ’90 is even more enthusiastic: “Penn State finally breathed life into a program that, for years, has reeked of mothballs,” she writes. “Bruce Parkhill begat Jerry Dunn begat Ed DeChellis, all decent coaches, all good men and all who moved the energy meter about an eighth of an inch every five years.” Chambers, by contrast, “is the typical kid from a big Irish family (12 kids in all), who is used to living large and loud and who has a fire and intensity that borders on manic.”
For an interesting profile of Chambers, check out this story from the Boston University website.
Tina Hay, editor
It seems nobody saw this coming.
Late Monday afternoon, word trickled out that Ed DeChellis ’82, the Penn State men’s basketball coach for the past eight years, was leaving to take over at Navy. That news was confirmed at a press conference Monday night, when DeChellis met the media to explain his decision. It was an emotional, occasionally contentious 15 minutes, but it left no doubt that the move is one DeChellis felt compelled to make.
You can read DeChellis’ official statement here, but the full audio of his Monday night presser is more revealing. Nearly breaking down at times, the coach said he felt the call of duty from the Naval Academy, and that the call was too loud to ignore. “Like this is something I needed to do,” DeChellis said, “somewhere I needed to be.” Anyone who knows DeChellis knows he’s a man for whom words like “honor” and “integrity” seem to hold real meaning, and he insisted that his decision had nothing to do with any issues at Penn State.
That didn’t stop speculation among fans and media, some of the most pointed of which you can read in the Patriot-News and on ESPN.com. DeChellis is moving to a lower-profile job at a substantial pay cut, but he waved off any suggestion that his decision was motivated by a perceived lack of support for men’s basketball at Penn State. “It’s a great job,” he said. “This is about what I wanted to do with my life.”
DeChellis leaves his alma mater with a record of 114-138 in eight seasons. The record wasn’t what the coach or Penn State fans had hoped for, but DeChellis leaves with some impressive entries on his resume: The 2009 NIT championship (the first postseason tournament title in program history), a 2011 NCAA tournament berth, and having recruited and coached Talor Battle ’11, arguably the best player in Nittany Lion history. He was also named 2009 Big Ten Coach of the Year. A cancer survivor, DeChellis was heavily involved with the national Coaches v. Cancer program, and was named that organization’s Man of the Year in 2006.
Athletic director Tim Curley ’76, ’78 MEd said the University will immediately begin a national search for DeChellis’ replacement.
Ryan Jones, senior editor