Posts tagged ‘Old Spice Classic’
I was channel surfing Sunday (while simultaneously folding laundry — I’m exceptionally coordinated!) when I landed on the Big Ten Network’s daily sports/news show. The hosts were doing their wrap-up of preseason conference basketball action, and among their talking points was a “surprise” pick for the best point guard in the Big Ten. The analysts’ choice? Penn State sophomore Talor Battle.
This made me smile.
Talor Battle is the subject of the student-athlete profile in our Nov/Dec issue. As the editor in charge of the magazine’s sports coverage, I pick the athletes we profile in each issue — though I do have some help: Our editor Tina Hay, likes to remind me not to be too obvious about whom I choose. We could easily go with the star player every time, but we try to find student-athletes with compelling stories to tell. Occasionally, as in Talor’s case, we’re able to combine the two.
The other thing I aim for is timeliness, which, as we try to assign stories well in advance, basically means guessing which athletes might have an impact on the court (or field, or track, or pool — you get the picture) before their season ever starts. I didn’t have to be a seer to pick Talor as an impact player for Ed DeChellis’ squad this season, but so far, he’s looking like a great pick. Through the Nittany Lions’ first four games (all wins), the 5-foot-11 Battle is averaging 20.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game (good enough for Big Ten Player of the Week honors). He was also named a co-captain this season, a rare honor for a sophomore.
Things get tougher starting tonight, when Battle leads the team against Penn in the first of four straight road games. The Nittany Lions’ preseason took an ugly turn last Thanksgiving — they went 0-3 in something called the Old Spice Classic, the sort of record that could make a guy swear off aftershave for life — and I’m sure DeChellis hasn’t forgotten. Here’s hoping Battle’s got a long memory, too.
Ryan Jones, senior editor